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“It might be down as a dead rubber, but that’s far from the truth. Futures are on the line”

Shane, Michael and Laois manager Willie Maher preview the clash between Waterford and Tipperary at Semple Stadium in Thurles

Shane, Michael and Laois manager Willie Maher preview the clash between Waterford and Tipperary at Semple Stadium in Thurles.

Former Waterford selector and Tipperary underage boss Willie Maher believes a lot hinges this week on Davy Fitzgerald’s mindset.

The Deise have looked out of sorts since their opening Munster clash with Limerick, having since been beaten comprehensively by Cork and Clare.

They are already out of the championship ahead of Sunday’s meeting with Tipp, with Fitzgerald shipping much criticism for his tactical approach.

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Hosts Shane Stapleton and Michael Verney ran through selection issues on both sides, with the former wondering if Patrick Curran and Carthach Daly might come back in after promising 2022 seasons.

“Patrick Curran was much-heralded as a minor and Under-21 and his trajectory has plateaued in the last while where he has seen very little game time,” says Maher.

“I really like him as a player and I think with Aussie (Gleeson) and Stephen Bennett closer to the goal, they could really get at us.

“Because you look at the Cork match, and yes we were less porous last Sunday against Limerick, but we did look porous at times against Cork when they came at us.

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“With the quality you mentioned and Dessie (Hutchinson) closer to the goal… again, it all hinges on whether Davy says ‘look, we’re going to stick with my way’ or ‘we’re going to go back to the more traditional, open, Waterford style of play’.”

Stapleton spoke of the players that Liam Cahill, a Ballingarry clubmate of Maher’s, has had to do without during his maiden season in charge of Tipperary.

Jason Forde picked up a hamstring injury against Cork, while Niall O’Meara, Barry Heffernan, Craig Morgan, Paddy Cadell and Ger Browne are also out.

“It’s a big one for both counties in completely different ways,” says Laois boss Maher.

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“Our panel seems to be stronger this year and you mentioned five or six first-teamers there.. they haven’t really been missed.

“(Seamus) Callanan coming on the last day got a great point and he might be a man to take it on from here.

“’Bonner’ (Patrick Maher) coming in the last day, Noel McGrath doing what he always does, our panel seems strong.

“It’s wouldn’t surprise me if Liam, who made four changes the last day, did something like that again.

“I genuinely believe our panel is stronger and we can do this.”

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