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History Makers! First ever Galway Waterford All-Ireland senior hurling final in store

It’s the first final without the Big Three in hurling since 1996.

HISTORY WILL BE made on Sunday 3 September as Galway will take on Waterford for the first time in an All-Ireland senior hurling final.

Conor Whelan with Shane Bennett Conor Whelan and Shane Bennett in opposition in last year's All-Ireland final. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Waterford’s 4-19 to 0-20 semi-final success over Cork has set up the unique pairing in the decider next month.

There is further novelty added to the occasion by the fact that it will be the first final since 1996 without any of the three traditional hurling powers – Cork, Kilkenny and Tipperary – contesting the Liam MacCarthy Cup showpiece.

Whichever county wins will be ending a major drought with Galway last crowned All-Ireland hurling champions in 1988, while Waterford haven’t been kingpins since 1959.

Galway are contesting their third final in six seasons while Waterford’s last decider appearance was in 2008 when they were heavily defeated by Kilkenny.

The counties most recent senior championship clash was in 2011 when Waterford defeated Galway at the All-Ireland quarter-final stage, just like they had done two years previously in Semple Stadium.

Kevin Moran and John Mullane with Joe Canning Kevin Moran and John Mullane in action against Joe Canning in 2011 in Thurles. Source: Cathal Noonan

The pair have not frequently clashed and Galway have never got the better of a Waterford in a senior championship tie. Their last meeting was in the league in April when Galway won 2-22 to 2-19 in a quarter-final game at Pearse Stadium.

Waterford have recently claimed All-Ireland final wins over Galway at minor level in 2013 and U21 level in 2016.

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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