Waterford Minor Hurling team as we all know are involved in a Munster Final Replay on Tuesday evening next when they take on Limerick in Thurles.
However, this is not the only underage team to see action this weekend.
Saturday is a big day for two of out ladies teams who are in action in Co Tipperary.
At 2-30pm the counties under 16 Camogie team will take on Tipperary at the Ragg outside Thurles in their final game of the league section of the championship.
Having already qualified for the knockout stages of the competition, the side no doubt will be letting up in this game and will want to advance to the last four of the competition with a 100% record having already beaten Cork, Antrim and Derry in the last three weeks and will not want to slip up to a Tipperary side that have failed to get anything from their games with Antrim and Cork to date, but wont want to finish the group with the wooden-spoon so will be looking for something from this weeks game or next week when they play Derry in a round where Waterford have a bye.
12 months ago the counties under 16 side reached the All-Ireland final where they lost to Cork, haven beaten them earlier in the year to win the Munster final.
What I and what many others may not have known at the time was that many of that panel were underage again this year and having retained the Munster Under 16 final, again beating Cork in Cashel many were also involved with the Minor team that won the ‘B’ All-Ireland Final earlier this year, meaning that this years side are a much more experienced outfit than they were at this point twelve months ago.
Some members of this years panel are players that we will hear a lot more about in the coming years.
There can be no disputing that the main cog in their attack is De La Salle sharp shooter Beth Carton. Over the past few weekend’s she has hit some very impressive tallies and is a player that we will have to keep an eye on in the coming years.
However, the side is by no means a one person team. Brianna O’Regan has missed the last few games that the side will play but is almost a certainty to regain the number one shirt.
Courtney Healy at centre back, the Saint Anne’s pair of Saoirse Bonner and Siebal Harney (coming from the Saint Anne’s catchment area, you have to realise that there is hurling in these names), Kate McGrath from the Brickeys, team captain Ashling Power from Cappoquin, Niamh Murphy from De La Salle, Kate McMahon from Butlerstown, Anne Corcoran from Gailltir as well as Taylor Healy from Dungarvan are all players that could well play a vital roll for Waterford.
Ensuring that they avoid defeat against Tipperary would mean that Waterford in the semi finals would get what is perceived to be the easier draw in the semi finals, but with Dublin, Down and Armagh all still in with a shout of taking top spot in group one of the competition heading into the final weekend of games in the league section, neither side will prove a push over for Waterford in the last four. The Other semi final could well see the winner of this weekend’s big group two game between Derry and Antrim in Newbridge play the second place team in group two which could require play offs to see who finish where if Down were to beat Meath this weekend and Armagh were to beat current table toppers Dublin.
However with respect to the County Under 16 Camogie team, the main game this weekend for our inter county sides is the Under 14 ‘B’ Ladies Football final between Waterford and Galway on Sunday afternoon in Nenagh. (2pm).
Should Waterford win the game, the side will create a piece of history as they will become the first side to win the competition three years in a row since the competition began back in 2008.
Mayo, Wexford, Clare and Tipperary won the competition in the first four years of its history, with Waterford winning the last two finals.
In fact, Waterford should they win could even claim to have won five All-Ireland Finals in a row, haven won the Under 14 ‘B’ Shield final back in 2011.
Waterford will go into this weekends with a good set of results at their backs.
In the round robin section of the competition wins were recorded over Clare, Limerick and Tipperary. Topping the group Waterford also go to play in the ‘A’ Championship where they took on Kerry. Defeat was Waterford’s lot but the side will have gained valuable experience playing against the top sides in the country.
In the Munster ‘B’ Final, Waterford proved too strong for Clare, winning by a single point. A win is a win, the margin is not always that important.
In the All-Ireland semi final Waterford easily accounted for Antrim which set up this weekends final.
Galway come into this weekend’s game with a mixed run of results.
The Connacht Championship was fought out by all five counties in the western province with the final positions in the table after five rounds (4 games) deciding what grade you played in.
Galway lost their first two games against Mayo and Roscommon but after a bye in round three they came back to win their last two games against Sligo and Leitrim to set up a ‘B’ Connacht Final against Leitrim which Galway won 9-16 to 3-3.
In their All-Ireland semi final Galway put 7-12 past Laois (2-4). And with Waterford also scoring big in their semi final (6-12 to 1-6), the backs on both sides this weekend could be in for a busy afternoon against what appears to be industrious forwards.
The Waterford management team are able to call on some of the players which helped Waterford to victory against Westmeath in Crettyard. Throughout the campaign they have had some quality performances from the likes of Abbie Dalton, Jessica Devereux, Abi Dunphy, Niamh Kennedy, Faye Curley, Katie Duggan-Sullivan, Kaiesha Tobin, Sarah Lacey and Muireann Boyce and will be looking for big performances from what ever fifteen is sent out to play and what subs may be used in this game.
Galway will be going into this game believing they can stop Waterford winning three in a row. Galway coach Con Moynihan believes that his charges could just as easily be in the ‘A’ Grade instead of the ‘B’ so they will fancy their chances.
However, Waterford will have to believe they can win. A win for Waterford is possible, but it could be a closely fought thing.
Admission to the ground in Nenagh on Sunday is €10 for a double header game. Senior Citizens and Students with valid ID’s can gain admission for €5 while all under 16’s gain entry free of charge.