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Fearlessness Crucial As Waterford Line Up Cats Assault

A sense of fearlessness comes with Waterford’s underage success and that may just prove crucial when they face the might of Kilkenny on Sunday.

Inspired by the awesome duo of Richie Hogan and TJ Reid, Kilkenny have reached an All-Ireland semi-final, via winning the Leinster title for a 70th time.

Standing in their way, are an in-experienced Waterford side who have had a remarkable summer to date. However, with that inexperience comes a sense of fearlessness, which could go along way come Sunday.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Waterford midfielder, Jamie Barron highlighted the fact that a lot of these Waterford players haven’t tasted too many defeats to the Cats.

“You look at the Harty Cup teams there, they were beating the best teams in Tipperary and Kilkenny. Tipperary and Kilkenny are probably the two best teams in the last 10 years so they’re beating all these lads at underage level and you just get a confidence from it and a belief that you are as good as these boys, so why fear them now if you’re able to do it at underage?”

Sunday will see the Waterford senior hurlers return to Croke Park for the first time since 2011, where they lost to Kilkenny on a scoreline of 2-19 to 1-16. However, only five players featured on that day in 2011 that featured in Waterford’s quarter-fianl victory over Dublin this year.

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Speaking on the matter of Croke Park, Barron said that there is only a minority that haven’t graced the hallowed turf beforehand.

“A lot of us have played there minor and whatnot and we’re just looking forward to being back there. Maybe one or two might be nervous but we’ll look forward to it.”

Along with Barron, Maurice Shanahan has also sent out the right message. These Waterford players are firmly focused on the task in hand and most importantly, they believe.

”This Waterford team definitely believes, but Kilkenny are there. They’re the best team around. Tipperary aren’t far off them, but Kilkenny have the All-Ireland and it’s up to us to get up there.”

“Yeah, we will believe. Whether that’s good enough on the day, we’ll see, but we’ll give them one hell of a battle.”

There is no doubt that Waterford believe. They are, however, facing a Kilkenny side who have been in this situation year in, year out and have a wealth of experience within their ranks.

There is a big step-up from an All-Ireland quarter-final in Semple Stadium to a semi-final at GAA headquarters. Kilkenny know what it’s like and with a big crowd expected on Sunday, the pressure willl be on Waterford to perform.

Waterford played admirably in the league final and were unlucky to come out the wrong side of the Munster final. With a comprehensive quarter-final win against the Dubs now also under their belt, Waterford must hold no fear.

If Waterford play with flare and fearlessness and the crowd get behind their backs, a Waterford win may not be as far-fetched as some might see it to be.

Seán Ó Murchú, Pundit Arena

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.