This is a mouth-watering prospect with Tipperary looking to go one step further than last year, when they fell at this hurdle without showing their best against Galway, and Waterford aiming to prolong what has already been a successful and history-making season.
It could easily be characterised as a battle between the Championship’s top two scorers. Though that might be a trifle simplistic, it would not be inaccurate to say that curbing the influence of Tipp’s Cáit Devane (3-37 from five games) and Waterford’s Beth Carton (2-32 from four) would go a long way to neutralising the opposition.
Tight marking will be one aspect of that. Cutting out the supply another. And just as important will be keeping the concession of frees to the minimum as both Devane and Carton are pure strikers of the sliotar.
The first signs that Donal O’Rourke was working well with the Déise arrived during the League when they missed out on qualification to the Semi-Finals on score difference, losing only to Kilkenny but drawing twice.
Championship progress would tell all though and that has been achieved already, with Waterford winning two games for the first time since moving up to Senior in 2016 and securing a Quarter-Final berth.
If Carton is the talisman, O’Rourke has built a strong squad, with the likes of Shauna Kiernan and Áine Lyng impressive in defence and providing a strong launch pad for attacks, Minors Kaiesha Tobin and Annie Fitzgerald proving a thorn in any rearguard with their speed and elusiveness, and the experienced Niamh Rockett always good for a score.
Tipp are captained by dual star Orla O’Dwyer and along with Miriam Campion and Grace O’Brien, will want to provide scoring support to Devane. The experienced Mary Ryan is an inspirational figure for the Premier County crew, and Karen Kennedy a strong defender.
Meanwhile, the gifted Sarah Fryday might be expected to play some part having been back a month now after spending three weeks volunteering in Uganda.
The greater experience at this level of competition probably edges the odds in favour of Bill Mullaney’s charges but given the upward trajectory of their Munster neighbours, a Waterford win would not be classed as a shock.
Tipperary v Waterford
Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 5.30pm, O Elliott (Antrim)