Friday, 18 April 2014

Another Round of County Senior Football Championship down for this weekend.

Games in round two of the County Senior Football Championship takes place this weekend with games scheduled to take place at Fraher Field, Bushy Park and Walsh Park.

Ballinacourty V Ardmore 7pm on Saturday in Bushy Park.

Last weekend Ballinacourty needed a number of late scores to see them past Rathgormack at Fraher Field and they can all but secure their place in the knockout stages of the championship this weekend if they overcome the challenge of Ardmore.

From speaking to a number of people that go to a lot of games across the county and in different grades, there would appear to be a number of people who fancy the chances of Ardmore this year to cause an upset or two along the way and to maybe ultimately challenge for the Conway Cup.

However, they will have to show a major improvement on their performance last weekend against Kilrossanty if they are to get past the champions here.

They went over 40 minutes without a score and finished the game with 14 men after Declan Prendergast was sent off for collecting a second yellow card. While just four points separated the sides at the end of that game, it took a late Seamus Keating goal to put a bit of a gloss on the score board.

Ballinacourty are champions and are champions for a reason. They did not have it easy last weekend but fought hard to the end and it paid off. This is the sign of true champions.

Ballinacourty get the nod to win here, one that could be a little easier than the one against Rathgormack last weekend.

Rathgormack V Clashmore in Fraher Field on Saturday at 6-30pm.

Rathgormack last weekend put in a good hours work against Ballinacourty but were to finish disappointed as the champions hit them for some late scores to win by three points.

They will know that they now have the hardest team in the group played and they can now concentrate on collecting about five points from the next eight available to win their place in the knockout stages of the competition.

Like Rathgormack lost last week. For many for them to loose to An Rinn was a surprise. An even bigger surprize was the level of defeat.

Both sides will want to bounce back with a victory this weekend but only one can.

Of the two sides, it is more important that Clashmore win as they have Ballinacourty to play later in the championship and that wont be an easy game for them.

Going on results last weekend, this is a game that could go either way. Going on results last weekend Rathgormack get the nod to win, but Clashmore will not let them have it all their own way.

Kilrossanty V An Rinn in Fraher Field on Sunday at 2pm

Kilrossanty last weekend had a good win over an Ardmore side that was quietly fancied by some to win the game.

The margin of victory was much greater than the final score line would suggest, as the Comeragh Men had a number of goal scoring chances but somehow a reason for the ball not going where it was intended came in their way. The score line also had somewhat of a gloss put in it as Ardmore struck a late goal to slightly improve their score difference which is something that could come into play later in the year.

Kilrossanty started last weekend without six of the side that were part of their starting line up at the same stage of the competition last year. Two of the six have left the country, one has retired, one has transferred to a club outside the county and of course Paul Whyte and Stephen Prendergast were ruled out with an injury.

An Rinn last weekend caused somewhat of a surprise, not by beating Clashmore, but by the margin they beat them on the score board. But it should be pointed out that Clashmore were short the services of some first choice players.

Liam O Lonáin is in fine form of late, getting back to the levels before he suffered a serious leg injury at the end of the 2011 championship and he could the key to his side having a good season and a better one than last year.

If Paul Whyte is available for Kilrossanty this weekend, then they have a chance, but if he is not, then with the form Liam O Lonáin is in then An Rinn could be in with a shout to put back to back wins together.

Gaultier V Ballinameela in Fraher Field on Sunday at 3-30pm.

Both of these sides lost last weekend so will be going all out for a win this weekend to ensure that at least one of them does not loose any further ground on the group leaders. Neither side will want to loose in this game or even be settling for a share of the spoils as they will know that anything other than two points will mean that they will have it all to do to reach the knockout stages of the championship, even if they will have three more games to play after this game.

Gaultier put up a solid performance against Stradbally at Walsh Park last weekend and even lead at the turn around, despite not many if any given them any chance of getting something from the game.

Ballinameela always faced a difficult battle against The Nire but I doubt many could have foretold that they were going to suffer the level of defeat they did.

Their management team this week will have a difficult task in picking up the team and instilling renewed confidence into the team as what confidence they had going into the game will have taken a knocking.

Of the two sides, going on last weekend’s results you can’t put think that Gaultier will win this game, maybe bringing their score difference to a positive number.

Nire V St Saviours in Fraher Field on Saturday at 8pm

Both of these sides had contrasting results last weekend.

At Fraher Field, The Nire were always on top against Ballinameela. While most would have predicted a win for The Nire in that game, few would have foretold the margin of victory.

That win will have given the team plenty of confidence for the remainder of the campaign, not that they would have needed it.

They had some good performers on the day and it was great to see the likes of Shane Walsh and Liam Lawlor who missed much if not all of the National Hurling League with Waterford back playing at their best.

Saint Saviours last weekend took on De La Salle who were playing their first game of football at this level for in the region of thirty years. The ability of De La Salle was known, but most would have felt that the Ballybeg outfit would have that little bit of experience on the 2013 Intermediate Champions, but in the end they had to settle for second best.

Saint Saviours will know that they cannot afford to loose any more points in the league section of the competition. Failing to do so would mean that their chances of winning a place in the knockout stages of the championship could be over very quickly.

While it’s important that Saint Saviours do not loose many more points in their remaining games, it’s hard to see them get any from this game.

Stradbally V De La Salle In Walsh Park on Sunday at 7pm.

Both of these sides won last weekend.

Stradbally had a narrow win over Gaultier at Walsh Park while reigning Intermediate champions De La Salle had a good win over Saint Saviours at the same venue.

Stradbally are without the services of Tony Grey for the rest of the year after he picked up a recent injury and there are talks that others from their recent successful sides could be out for a portion or all of the year as well.

De La Salle will be going to go into this game on a bit of a high after their win over Saint Saviours last weekend.

While they will know that Stradbally are a much different proposition, the De La Salle contingent at the game will have seen that Stradbally may not be as strong as they once were and that they are also without a win in the league which will give them some hope going into the game.

The city side are a duel club. They have some good footballers who are excellent hurlers and they have some good hurlers who are excellent footballers. With the senior hurling championship set to begin next weekend, it will be interesting to see how many if any of the excellent hurlers will line out with the footballers this weekend.

Even through they struggled somewhat going in previous years performances, Stradbally get the not to win another brace of points in this game and in doing so all but secure their place in the last eight of the championship.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Thanks Tony.

To be born in 1973 has to mean one thing. Greatness! However for one person that was born in 1973 he stands head and shoulders above everyone else.

Ok, the first part may be a bit of a joke, but the second part is no joke.

Waterford down the years has produced some fine hurlers, many of who we like to claim to be up there with the All-Time greats. While many were good, some were excellent, few in fact were great, but of the greats we have produced, Tony Browne ranks amongst them.

This evening, (April 17), an announcement was made that Tony was retiring from the inter county scene having served the county as a senior hurler since 1991. In that time anybody that had the privilege of seeing him playing, will know that he will be a loss to the game.

Tony first played for Waterford at senior level during the 1991-92 National Hurling League. However it was in the autumn of 1992 that he came to National prominence when he captained the county as a 19 year old to All-Ireland u21 glory beating Offaly after a replay at Nolan Park.

Since then he has gone on to become one of the all time greats, admired not just in Waterford and by Waterford supporters but across the county and even through the planet by anyone that got to see him play in the flesh or on TV.

In the that twenty plus years he has won many honours with Waterford and with his club side Mount Sion, but the one medal that he would have liked to have in his collection at the end of his playing days never came his way.

The popular Mount Sion man will continue to play with the Monastery Men this year and the way he has started for them this year, the year could end in a special way.

Ballygunner and De La Salle may be the early contenders to lift the Waterford News and Star but under no circumstances should the chances of Mount Sion be spoken down. They reached the semi finals last year and were somewhat unlucky to loose and if they can stay clear of injuries this year then they could go a step or two further than they did in 2013.

Tony has started a number of the sides in attack this year and had featured strongly when it comes to scoring. To date he has won seven senior hurling medals with Mount Sion and one Munster Club medals but if he was to add to this before the year is out it would hardly be the surprise of the year.

However, while Tony has had an impressive career with Mount Sion it is for his exploits with Waterford that he will be best remembered going into the future, especially with those outside the county.

Since 2002 he was part and parcel of sides that won four Munster Senior Hurling Finals, the first coming in 2002 which ended a famine going back to 1963 and the most recent came in 2010 when Waterford beat Cork in a replay at Thurles, the first and so far the only final to be played and won under floodlights.

2007 was a special year for Tony as he won the third of his Munster Final medals and was also part of the Waterford panel that won the National Hurling League against Kilkenny in Semple Stadium, the first Waterford won since 1963, and he also won his fourth Inter-provincial medal with Munster, his three earlier medals were won in the period between 1995 and 1997.

While he well remembered for captaining Waterford to All-Ireland glory at under 21 grade in 1992, many forget that two years later he won a second Munster Medal this grade of hurling.

1998 was also a special year in Tony’s career with Waterford, as he was part of the team under the guidance of Gerald McCarthy that reached a League Final against Cork in Thurles but had to settle for second best on the day.

In the same year Waterford contested its first Munster Final since 1989, playing Clare at Thurles. The two sides on the day had to settle for a share of the spoils, but when they replayed, Waterford lost out in a game that proved to be very controversial.

That loss meant Waterford had to play Galway in an All-Ireland quarter final in Croke Park and their prize for winning that game was an All-Ireland semi final against Kilkenny.

This was a game pre the great Brian Cody era with Kilkenny. Waterford were beaten on the day, but to this day it is a game that many Waterford supporters believe was a game that should be won. Kilkenny went on to be beaten by Offaly in the All-Ireland final, an Offaly side that included a number of players that Waterford had beaten in the under 21 All-Ireland Final six years earlier.

The performance of Waterford in 1998 made Waterford sit up and take notice. Gerald McCarthy in his second year in charge of the Déise side had the side playing some of the best hurling it had in many years. Results improved and along the way, had Waterford that bit of luck we would not be now talking about a famine that extends back to 1959.

These performances made the adjudicators of different awards sit up and take notice of the Waterford players and in particular those of Tony Browne. It must have been an easy task for them to name the Mount Sion man as the Player of the Year.

In the years that followed, Waterford had a number of near misses in trying to end that long famine. The chances were there in 2007. We all have our theories on what should or shouldn’t have happened that year, but it is all Water under the bridge now. There is no point in going back in saying what should or should not be done. What happened, happened.

Twelve months on, Waterford did reach the All-Ireland Final, but on the day, the side froze. The occasion may have got to them, and Kilkenny went on to record one of the easiest win in a long number of years in All-Ireland Final day.

I have no doubt that in the coming hours and day’s many tributes will be paid to Tony Browne, paid to him by people far more qualified that me. However, I am sure that just like me, hurling supports up and down the country and beyond will be paying their own tributes.

For now, I am sure that many supports will join with me in thanking Tony for his impute into Senior Inter County Hurling since the day he made his Debut coming on for Damien Byrne during the course of the 1991-92 League season. In the years that followed, Tony has given much pleasure to many supports. The simplest tribute that we can pay Tony at this point is to say ‘Thanks for these memories’ and no doubt like me many will look forward to seeing Tony in action over the course of the rest of the year and going into the future, and maybe we might even see Tony involved with the county again in some capacity going into the future. If he ever showed interest in a position at inter county level it would be a major mistake to over look him as his experience, and would surely get out of young and coming players who have looked up to him for many years, the best out of them.  

Friday, 11 April 2014

Waterford Senior Football Championship gets underway this weekend

The county senior football championship throws in later this evening when Kilrossanty and Ardmore do battle at Fraher Field.

Over the past number of years the championship has been dominated by the Stradbally, Ballinacourty and The Nire, but behind them is a group of teams who are knocking at the door, but so far while some have reached county semi finals and finals none have cracked the dominance of the big three and the question has to be asked will 2014 be the year when it happens.

An interesting stat from the last two years is that a team that has contested the opening game of the championship has gone on to win it. Stradbally did it in 2012 and Ballinacourty in 2013. The question now has to be asked can Kilrossanty or Ballinacourty repeat the act in 2014.

Of the sides that are closing in on the dominance of the big three, Kilrossanty are one of the sides that you can’t but feel can break the dominance.

This year is the third year they are under the guidance of John ‘Jackson’ Kiely and any team under him you can be assured will be well prepared and in with a shout as he will leave nothing to chance.

Over the past two years they have gone out of the championship at the quarter final stages, on both occasions to The Nire and on both occasions after they had contested the game of the year.

There is no doubting that they have the ability to make that break through. Its not long ago that they had to play their most fierce rivals John Mitchell’s in a relegation play off. They won that game which was possibly a major wake up call and since then steady progress has been made.

Now is their time to show that they can move to the next level and they will be fancied to push for a semi final or even a county final spot this year.

With the likes of Tommy Prendergast, Ian Walsh, Paul Whyte, Joey Veale and hopefully Stephen Prendergast in their side this year they have the players that can bring lead them to the next level.

However, they have a tough opening game against Ardmore.

Things may have not gone well for the ‘Round Tower’ men in recent years but there can be no doubting the ability that they have.

In the likes of Clinton Hennessy, the Prendergast brothers Seamus and Declan, Wayne Hennessy, John and David Gartland and especially Seamus Keating they have the players to mix it with the rest.

However if one thing is to go against Ardmore this year it is that they are once more a duel club, and over the years a number of clubs within the county have found this a hard act to balance.

They will be giving plenty of attention to both games, but at the end of the day, as the championship progresses the attention be it intensely or otherwise the focus will slip towards one code and as a result, the other may suffer slightly and they could be brought into a relegation dog fight.

Kilrossanty get the nod to win here especially if Paul Whyte is fit after picking up an injury while playing with Waterford, but it could be a close one.

Five games are down for decision on Sunday, three of which are in Dungarvan, two in Walsh Park.

Ballinacourty get their defence of the Conway Cup underway at Fraher Field when they take on Rathgormack.

Its sees the current senior football champions take on the current Under 21 ‘A’ Football champions which suggests that a good game could be fought out with plenty of ability on both sides.

Ballinacourty will once again be looking to the Hurney brothers for inspiration this year, but they have others also in the likes of Shane Briggs, Stephen Enright, Sean O’Hare and Mark Ferncombe amongst others that are all leaders on the field of play, and when Richie Foley who played no part in the National Hurling league with Waterford this year due to injury returns to full fitness, it will further strengthen the champions hand.

Rathgormack disappointed somewhat last year and will be looking for an improvement this year.

They have some quality players in the likes of Gavin Nugent, Nigel Skehan, Brendan Crotty, Ronan Cahill, Jamie Kirwan, Stephen Kirwan and Jason Gleeson some or all of whom have come through from successful underage teams in the recent past.

The question to be asked now is can these and other players transfer their underage form and successes to the adult scene.

Ballinacourty go into the league in good form. They have won their opening two games in the county senior football league. But so too has Rathgormack. They will know that if there is a good time to play a fancied time in the championship it’s in the opening game. Can they win? They have a chance but it’s hard to see Ballinacourty get beaten.

Game of the weekend could be the last game of the weekend when An Rinn and Clashmore clash at Fraher Field.

Like Kilrossanty, these two sides are not far off breaking the dominance of the Big Three.

When the sides clashed in the championship last year at the quarter final stages, victory went to An Rinn who in winning contested their first county semi final since the 1920’s.

Both of these players have some quality players. For Clashmore, they will be looking to the likes of Cillian O’Keeffe, Kieran Connery, Colm, Sean and Tadhg Bourke, Declan Allen, Paul O’Connor, Declan Allen, John Prendergast, Brian O’Halloran and also should have Sean Fleming back in their colours this year after work duties took him out of the country for much of last year.

An Rinn, too have some quality players. Liam O Lonáin is in fine form of late in the Waterford colours and he will be looking to transfer this form to his club colours this weekend.

He will be ably assisted by the likes of Tadhg Ó hUallachain, Jamie De Barúin, Ferdia Ó hAodha as well as the Breathnach brothers for much of their guidance but they will also be hoping that some of the members from the An Gaeltacht side that won a Minor county ‘A’ title a few years back now will be stepping up and showing what they can do.

As pointed out, this could well prove to be the game of the weekend and possibly the closest. On paper little separates the sides and to try and pick a winner before the game could be done by flicking a coin, however Clashmore get the nod to collect the points in this game.

Gaultier and Stradbally are down as the game of the weekend at the city venue this weekend.

While there is three teams deemed to be dominating the senior football championship in recent years of the three in the eyes of many Stradbally are the side that lead the way since the turn of the century.

While they were beaten and some would say beaten well in last years county final against Ballinacourty, there is nothing to suggest that Stradbally will not be up there contesting again this year.

Yes, some of their players are around now with a while and some of won six or seven senior football medals at this stage, at the same time they are bringing one or two new players forward each year.

Once more this year they will be looking to the likes of Tony Grey, the Ahern Brothers and Brick Walsh for much of their inspiration this year, but they will also have the likes of the Costello’s, Shane Lannon, David Grey, the Casey’s Tommy Connors and Jack Mullaney to assist in their quest to move a step closer to the record number of county finals won by Dungarvan.

Gaultier are a side that have disappointed somewhat in recent years, but with the way the draws have worked out this year they will be confident that they can reach the knockout stages of the championship.

They have some quality footballers in the likes of Gary Molloy, Ian Power and Mark Wyse. They also have JJ and Wayne Hutchinson who have attracted the attention of Waterford manager Niall Carew towards the end of last year and this year and he has included them in his teams throughout the league.

Gaultier will know that they have drawn a short straw again this year in playing Stradbally in the first round of the championship.

But while they have drawn a short straw, they will also know that they will have gotten one of the strongest outfits in the championship out of the way very early and after this they can concentrate on teams that would be seen at the same strength as themselves for much of the rest of the league section of the championship, giving them an excellent chance of advancing to the last eight.

They may also see in getting a strong team who by the way have lost their opening two games in the county league as a chance to maybe creating something of shock in the opening round of game as they would be expected to get stronger as the championship progresses.

Stradbally get the nod to win here, but maybe Gaultier could make it very difficult for them.

The opening game at Fraher Field on Sunday sees the Nire take on Ballinameela.

The Nire as we all know are there or there about with the past few years and could well be there again in 2014.

We all know of the talent that they have. Shane Walsh, Liam Lawlor and Jamie Barron are known to many as fine hurlers but they are also fine and maybe even better footballers.

Add in the likes of the O’Gorman brothers Thomas, Maurice and Michael, Conor Gleeson who has the makings of a quality player in both Hurling and football in the years ahead, Michael Moore, Brian Wall, Shane Ryan, Darren Guiry and Tommy Wall and you can see that the side in yellow and blue shirts will not be over turned so easily this year.

Ballinameela in recent years have enjoyed a bit of a roller coaster ride, winning two intermediate championships, reaching a county senior semi final and have also got themselves relegated.

Right now its hard to say how they will do this year. Last year they reached the quarter finals and to do the same this year would be seen as a success.

Like the other sides in the competition they have some quality players in the likes of the Curran’s, Phelan’s, Walsh’s, Jason Morrissey and Lorcan Looby.

Like Gaultier, Ballinameela will know that they have a tough opening game to this years championship but they will also know the best time to play one of the stronger teams is in the opening round of games.

The Nire should win here.

There is a big all city game in Walsh Park on Sunday afternoon when Saint Saviours and De La Salle clash.

Saint Saviours for many years often found themselves battling against relegation but were often able to put in one huge performance each year to keep themselves in the senior grade.

Last year they had their best year in a number of years playing at the top level by reaching the quarter finals and will be looking to do the same this year. They won a junior second string championship last year and they should be looking to bring some of the younger members of that panel into their senior set up this year.

Dean Crowley has attracted the attention of the County Senior Football selectors over the past year and he has held his place in the team throughout the league and will have improved as a footballer as a result playing against some top quality footballers from other counties as well as with some of the best footballers within the county.

Add in the likes of the experienced Paul Holohan, John Paul Jacob, John Paul Collingwood and Adam Brophy and it’s clear to see that the Ballybeg based club have the players to win them a place in the knockout stages of the championship again this year.

De La Salle are new to the senior grade this year, having come up from the intermediate grade at the end of last year having gone close over a few years previous to winning the championship.

They gave a very good account of themselves in the Munster Championship drawing with a strong Ballyporeen side at Clonmel before loosing at Walsh Park and this experience should stand to them this year.

Like every other team in the championship they have some quality players in the championship they have some fine players to choose from in the likes of David Dennison, Ian Cantwell, Mitchell Casey, Kenneth Byrne, Paddy Kennedy and Lee Hayes. Some of their senior hurlers are also quality footballers, but it remains to be seen how many if any will be lining out with the footballers this year. If they do, then expect De La Salle to make life difficult for many this year.

Like many games this weekend, this could well prove to be a close game. As I said, De La Salle will be no push overs for anyone and will be better players this year as a result of the experienced picked up in the past year or two. However, Saint Saviours greater experience at this grade should stand to them meaning that they get the nod to win by a small margin.






Friday, 4 April 2014

Waterford and Armagh set to do battle for top spot in Ladies National Football League showdown.

Waterford Intermediate Ladies footballers face their toughest test to date in 2014 when they take on Armagh in the final game of the league section of this year’s National Football League at Lemybrien on Sunday afternoon.

This will be the first meeting of the two sides since they clashed in the 2012 All-Ireland Final at Croke Park where Armagh came out on top, winning 1-12 to 1-5.

While Armagh on that day were full value for their win, maybe the gap on the score line did not do Waterford justice as the side did have chances to score, but it was one of those that’s that the ball for some reason refused to go between the posts.

Both could well start with about 11 of the sides that started in Croke Park that day. For Armagh Sarah Marley, Sharon Reel, Niamh Marley, Niamh Henderson, Sinead McCleary, Caroline O’Hanlon, Marian McGuinness, Mags McAlinden, Fionnuala McKenna and Kelly Mallon would all be expected to start this weekend. Catherine McAlinden who started in goal in 2012 against Waterford has started half of her sides games played to date this year with Katie Daly, the daughter of the team manager starting the other half. No doubt a call will be made in the Orchard County as to which of the two will be the number 1 for the year ahead soon, possibly ahead of this weekends game, and that the chosen one if the rotation system remains in place for this weekends game in Lemybrien, will be held in reserve for the counties league semi final in the coming weeks with the other likely to start against Waterford.

Back in 2012 Siobhan Mackle, Mairead Tennyson and Cailin Duffy came on in the win over Waterford as subs and it is envisaged that the first two named could well start this weekend with Duffy who has come on in four of her sides games played so far in the league as a sub once more sprung from the bench, that is if she is not given the chance to show from the start this weekend that she deserves a place in the team from the start for the remainder of the year.

Throughout the league, four players have started in all games for Armagh. Caoimhe Morgan has made the number three shirt her own. Fionnuala McKenna started the hear in the middle of the field before moving into full forward, returning again to the middle of the field and in recent games has started at centre forward. Lauren McConville played the first three games at centre forward before moving to the wing and more recently played at Corner Forward. Marian McGuinness has moved all over the field, starting at wing forward, centre field, centre back, wing back before moving back again to wing forward.

A further six players, Mairead Tennyson, Sarah Marley, Sharon Reel, Niamh Marley, Kelly Mallon and Siobhan Mackle have started all but one game for the Orchard County side.

Fionnuala McKenna is the top scorer for Armagh this year in the league hitting an impressive 3-30, 0-15 of which has comes from frees. Caroline O’Hanlon has also featured strongly in the scoring stakes hitting 7-14 in just four games; her lowest tally on the score sheet in these four games was 1-4.

For Waterford, the year has gone well to date.

The plate final of the Jim Kennedy cup was won prior to the league starting and since then, they have won five of their six games played, their only loss coming in an away game against Sligo.

Throughout the campaign, Waterford manager Pat O’Brien and his selectors while giving 25 players a run out in the six games played to date, they have a very settled look to the team as 12 of these 25 players have started every game and more often than not in the same positions which suggests that they may have a fair indication as to what their best team might be heading into the championship which could well bode good for Waterford.

Not surprising, Michelle Ryan is the team’s top scorer to date. She has hit an excellent 4-23 to date and will be looking to extend on that this week and in subsequent games that she plays in.

However, this is by no means a one lady team and the long serving Ballymacarbry Club player is ably assisted when it comes to the scoring by her fellow team mates. 14 players have scored so far in the league for Waterford. Margaret Revins is next in line to Michelle Ryan on the score sheet records. She has proven to be a revelation this year on the edge of the square hitting 7-8 in the six games she has played in and alongside her the equally deadly Hannah Landers in five games has hit 5-7. It’s a while since any lady footballer was honoured with the monthly awards presented within the county but surely it is only a matter of time before these players and others catch the eye of the selectors of such awards as they put up some impressive tallies.

At the other end of the field, Waterford has proven equally impressive. Aimee Jordan has over the course of the league impressed a lot, making some excellent saves to keep Waterford in the game at times when things may be tight and has also got herself on the score sheet this year hammering a penalty to the net in the game against Sligo.

Nora Dunphy, Ciara Dunphy and Mary Foley seemed to have nailed the number two to four shirts on their backs for now with some impressive performance and the same could be said of Louise Ryan and Karen McGrath in front of them with the likes of Mairead Wall, Megan O’Connor, Liz Devine and Roisin Tobin all fighting it out for the other shirt in the half back line.

Michelle McGrath and Elaine Power for a long number of years now have proven to be one of the best centre-field pairing in the country.

In the half forward line Michelle Ryan at Centre forward is a real workaholic and is a thorn in the side of many a defence she plays against while on either side of her Linda Wall and Mairead Wall are also hugely important players for Waterford.

In the inside forward line, Margaret Revins as has been pointed out is proving to be a revelation this year and could well prove to be key to a successful year for Waterford. Along side her Hannah Landers and Aileen Wall have really grown in stature in the past few years and they never give any side an easy time and also know where the posts are. The Ballyduff Upper club girl has hit 5-7 so far in the league as pointed out while the Ballymacarbry club player is not far behind her having hit 3-8.

Of course no team is complete without back up. Pat O’Brien this year has decided to freshen things up a little by bringing in some of the talent from successful underage years and the likes of Liz Devine, Lauren McGregor, Megan O’Connor and Shauna Dunphy has not let him down, while there is experience in the likes of Grainne Costello who has got some game time between the posts this year when coming on as a sub.

Last time out Shona Curran and Grainne Kenneally who are now free of Camogie Duties with Lismore got their first run outs of the year with the county footballers and could well get another run out this weekend. Shona would further strengthen the forward division while Grainne could well do the same in defence. The biggest problem for the management team should they decide to use the two experienced duel inter county players is to who they could afford to leave out.

This is a game that both sides will want to win. As things stand, Armagh sit top of the table with maximum points from their six games played while Waterford are just three points behind after their slip up to Sligo.

The importance of winning the group cannot be spelt out enough, as it will almost certainly avoid Tipperary in the semi finals who while loosing to both Waterford (2-8 to 1-10) and Armagh (1-12 to 2-7) but if given the chance in a knockout game, the Premier County side would be more than capable of reversing the earlier result.

Armagh may go into the game with a slight advantage over Waterford on the league table as well as having scoring slightly more (9 points) and conceded less (13 points) the home side may have a slight advantage as sometimes when teams travel long distances to games it does take something from you, and even if a side were to travel some or all of the way to the game the evening before, sleeping in a strange bed means that you might not get the nights sleep you would in your own bed.

Most will be making Armagh favourites to win this game as they are favourites to win this league from the start, but don’t write off the changes of Waterford too easily.

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Fixtures for this weekend:
Leitrim V Tipperary (Leitrim will qualify for the semi finals if they win here, or if Wexford fail to beat Sligo. Tipperary are in the semi finals and finish in third position.)

Offaly V Longford (Offaly are relegated. Longford cannot qualify for the semi finals)

Waterford V Armagh (Both teams are in the semi finals. The winners top the group. A draw would mean Armagh top the group_

Wexford V Sligo (Wexford can qualify for the semi finals if they beat Sligo and Leitrim fail to beat Tipperary. A draw for Leitrim would see Wexford advance having won the head to head with Leitrim if they beat Sligo).

National Football League Regulations 2014 - Qualification for Semi Finals

 1. Where two teams only are involved the placing will be determined as follows and in the order specified:

* The outcome of the game played between the two teams in the previous game in the competition will determine the placing ie First or Second, Second or Third, Third or Fourth, Fourth or Fifth.

* Should the previous game have ended in a draw, the team with the highest number of points scored as in ball put over the bar, not aggregate points in that specific game will determine the placing.

* If still level a Playoff will take place.

 2. Where more than two teams are level on points the following shall apply:

* The 3 teams go into a hat, first out will get a bye and the other two teams will compete in a playoff game.

* Where 3 Teams are tied for 4th place, two teams are drawn to play each other from the hat with the Winner playing the remaining Team to secure the final placing(s)