It’s a battle of survival in the Gaelic Grounds as both Waterford and Tipperary have points to prove.
We preview all the action and look at the key areas where this game will be won or lost.
Can Waterford manage without their injured contingent?
Waterford emerged from Cusack Park last weekend a broken team. They went into the game without Austin Gleeson or Pauric Mahony but they became crippled with injuries, losing Tadhg de Burca, Noel Connors, Darragh Fives and Barry Coughlan before Kevin Moran was sent off.
Derek McGrath named his side to play Tipp during the week which is bolstered by the return of former Hurler of the Year, Austin Gleeson and their free taker, Mahony.
It’s a strong team considering, including the likes of Noel Connors and Stephen Bennett. It’s an experienced side who won’t use an injury list as an excuse. They are travelling to win today, not just to make up numbers but it remains to be seen if they can overcome such a big obstacle before the game even throws in.
Will the venue impact the game?
The Gaelic Grounds in Limerick is the venue for today’s clash. Historically the venue has not been too kind to Tipperary in the past but at least they can retreat back to the safety of Semple Stadium next weekend, regardless of today’s result. Waterford have no such home advantage.
It makes it all the more vital that the Waterford fans travel to create that home support that Waterford will desperately need. Following their loss to Limerick and their miracle recovery against Cork, the Tipperary County Board have called on fans to get behind their team.
It won’t be a sell-out in the Limerick grounds but expect there to be an atmosphere worthy of the fixture.
Can Tipp improve on their second-half performance from last week?
It looked at half-time last week that Cork were home and dry. Tipp looked sluggish, lost and out of confidence. Their fans had hoped for some sort of resurgence after the loss to Limerick but they had to wait till the 35th minute for that to occur.
They were completely transformed. Pauric Maher was inspirational from the back and up front the McGrath brothers and Jason Forde turned on the style that we expect from the classy forward unit.
It’s a cliche but the question now is, “which Tipperary team will turn up today?” With all the expectation and the build-up, they could cave under the pressure and revert to the unsure team that was torn apart in the first half. After the game, Noel McGrath spoke emphatically about how the fight is back in Tipp and if that is true, then there will be no stopping them today.
Will this game live up to the expectation of the Munster championship?
Sunny, dry conditions of a Sunday afternoon in June. Already it has the makings of a Munster hurling classic. Last night we saw what was probably the game of the year so far between Cork and Limerick. It had physicality, it had passion and it had some outrageous scores and onlookers will be hoping for more of the same today.
The round-robin system may have diluted the intensity somewhat as all teams have to prepare for games week in, week out with very little time to recover but expect both teams to emerge with all guns blazing today.
It is a must-win game for both Waterford and Tipperary while both have points to prove. You can forget all that has happened up to this point. Once those two teams cross the white line, all bets are off, as in true Munster fashion.
Can either of these teams make the Munster final?
Realistically, no. Waterford lie in bottom place with Tipperary just above them on one point. Although it is only Waterford’s second game, a loss would effectively make it impossible for them to make the knock out stages, as it would for Tipp.
Not only have the Premier County to win today but they also need to get full points from their game with Clare next weekend. A huge ask considering the form that the top three counties are in. But stranger things have happened and nothing is ever a guarantee in this sport.