In what is Wexford’s first outing in the championship, Davy Fitzgerald’s men will be looking to erase the memories of the league semi-final with a victory over Dublin Sunday.
What: Leinster Hurling Championship
Who: Wexford vs Dublin
Where: Innovate Wexford Park
When: Sunday 20th May. Throw in is at 3pm.
Odds: Wexford 1/3, Draw 12/1, Dublin 3/1
This Sunday, Pat Gilroy’s Dubs will be hoping to quickly erase the memories of last week’s agonising last-minute defeat at the hands of Kilkenny, with a victory over Wexford.
The league in general was a positive experience for Wexford. Liam Ryan, Diarmuid O’Keefe, Paudie Foley and Conor McDonald all had brilliant outings along with fantastic displays from the young sensation Rory O’ Connor who has added strength and quality to the half-forward line.
The big doubt around these players is whether or not they can reach the next level and be competitive against real quality competition. Over the last year they have been on the end of heavy defeats to Galway, Waterford, Tipperary and Kilkenny and these are the type of games they need to win if they are to make a breakthrough.
Wexford may also have to prepare for this game again without the services of Jack Guiney, who is still recovering from a knee injury.
Everyone would acknowledge that Dublin were unfortunate not to win last Sunday against Kilkenny and they would feel aggrieved that Diarmuid Kirwan failed to award a free out for Dublin prior to Liam Blanchfield raising a crucial green flag.
However, the performance would have given the Dublin faithful renewed hope that Pat Gilroy is improving this side. Cian O’ Callaghan, Sean Moran, Chris Crummey and Eoghan O’ Donnell were all inspirational figures in a defensive display that kept Kilkenny’s starting forwards to four points from play.
The Cats struggled with the ball-winning ability of Sutcliffe, Conal Keaney and Liam Rushe and were it not for miraculous interventions from Eoin Murphy and Joey Holden, Dublin could have had more than the three goals scored.
It’s a big ask for the Dubs to go to Wexford and put in another exceptional performance, after a sickening loss last Sunday. Their element of surprise has suddenly gone and the Yellowbellies now realise this isn’t the easy outing it may have appeared to be a week or so ago.
For Wexford to perfect their defensive structure they need to add a cutting edge to their attack and Rory O’ Connor may be the antidote.
The Slaneysiders are further into their development stage than Dublin and this should be telling on Sunday’s result.