All-Ireland SHC Semi-Final Limerick vs Waterford Preview:
By Aidan Delaney
Waterford are the latest set of brave souls to try and put a stop to the Limerick juggernaut as they come up against John Kiely's charges this afternoon.
Both of these sides come into this All Ireland Hurling semi final on the back of wins over Tipperary but got here in contrasting styles.
The Treaty blew their opponents away in a scarcely believable second half in the Munster final with Aaron Gillane inspiring the reigning champs to overturn a 10 point lead for the Premier at the break. 2-16 to 0-12 in favour of Tipp became 2-29 to 3-21 and Limerick were celebrating 3 in a row.
Waterford meanwhile rode their luck somewhat thanks to some goalkeeping heroics by inexperienced Shaun O'Brien and then a killer blow of a goal from sub Neil Montgomery to edge past Liam Sheedy's men in dramatic fashion 4-28 to 2-27.
This is of course a repeat of last year's Liam McCarthy decider where Limerick powered their way to victory by shooting over the black spot with ease in a 0-30 to 0-19 win.
11 of the Deise side that started that game will front up this evening but Montgomery's 1-2 the last day has proven his credentials from the bench so that's where he stays.
It shows the frightening panel strength of the holders that Gillane and Tom Morrissey will come into the starting 15 of this game and improve their chances immeasurably. Richie English and Graeme Mulcahy drop out and could probably feel hard done by because both have been excellent so far.
Overall, this game could be decided by fitness. Waterford will be playing for the 4th week on the spin and will need to put in another lung bursting effort if they're to dethrone the favourites. On the other hand, momentum is with Liam Cahill's boys so a fast and devastating start could give them the advantage.
But we're not talking about any old challenger here. Limerick are top dogs because of their physicality, their cuteness and their will to win. Even when you think you have them beaten, they dig deep to find an extra gear that most teams are still searching for.
Austin Gleeson and Jamie Barron will surely lead their men into the fight with their heads held high but there's a creeping dread of when not if Limerick book themselves into another All Ireland final.