Waterford make three changes for Munster final13/07/2012 - 10:54:46
Veteran defender Tony Browne is one of three changes made to the Waterford team for Sunday's Munster SHC final against defending champions Tipperary.
Browne, who turned 39 at the start of the month, resumes at right half-back in place of Richie Foley, who started there in the semi-final win over Clare.
Déise manager Michael Ryan has been boosted by the return to fitness of both Noel Connors and Pauric Mahony.
The pivotal duo - 2010 All-Star Connors returns at right corner back and free-taker Mahony is at wing forward - have recovered from a back injury and groin surgery respectively.
With Aidan Kearney sidelined by a shoulder injury, Connors will bolster the Waterford full-back line and the 20-year-old Mahony takes over from Eoin Kelly in attack.
Sunday's duel at Páirc Uí Chaoimh is expected to be much closer than Tipp's runaway 7-19 to 0-19 victory in last year's provincial decider.
Connors, who has not played a full competitive match since February, is hoping that the Déise can put the nightmare of twelve months ago behind them.
"I suppose it was very tough. Everyone was saying that, 'Waterford were not good enough, etc.', but if Tipperary hit the ball from 100 yards it would have went over the bar you know that kind of way," he told the Waterford News & Star.
"I'm not taking away from the win, they were fantastic on the day, but we were very poor on the day. We just didn't get going.
"Before we knew it we were a few goals down and we were trying to make chances and when we were making chances they were just going back down the field and scoring.
"It was very tough on the day but that's just hurling and sport in general - it's dog eat dog and it's heartbreaking."
If Waterford prevail this weekend, it will be their first Championship win over Tipp since the 2008 All-Ireland semi-final. They are gunning for their second Munster crown in three years.
WATERFORD (SHC v Tipperary): Stephen O'Keeffe; Noel Connors, Liam Lawlor, Stephen Daniels; Tony Browne, Michael Walsh, Kevin Moran; Stephen Molumphy, Phil Mahony; Pauric Mahony, Seamus Prendergast, Maurice Shanahan; John Mullane, Shane Walsh, Gavin O'Brien.
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