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Eoin Larkin Column: How Close Are Wexford To Tipperary?

GAA Allianz Hurling League Division 1A Quarter-Final, Nowlan Park, Kilkenny 2/4/2017 Kilkenny vs Wexford Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ken Sutton

Wexford face their next litmus test against Tipperary in Nowlan Park tomorrow. Davy Fitzgerald’s arrival has brought a number of changes.

They look a lot fitter and stronger, and are playing with huge confidence.

They’ve always had players well able to hurl but now they seem to have the confidence and swagger that has been missing in recent times in Wexford.

The Yellowbellies will be looking for a decent display and if they get beaten, it’s not the end of the world as long as it’s not by much. It will be a tough game and they’ll be looking to just improve on the way they played against Kilkenny. If that means winning, so be it, but it’s not the end of the world if they get beaten.

Davy Fitzgerald Wexford Hurling

It just goes to show how much a new manager can change things. You kind of get used to the same voice over and over, but when a new manager comes in everything is up in the air again, you’re really trying to impress him and everyone is doing the same.

That can only bring the standards up and certainly that’s happened in Wexford because there are now 20/25 fellas there now pushing for starting place.

They’re all a lot fitter because they’re pushing themselves.

Wexford are flying at the moment. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they can bring against Tipperary.

Allianz Hurling League Divison 1B, O'Connor Park, Tullamore, Co. Offaly 12/3/2017 Offaly vs Wexford Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

Tipp are in a strange position, as they’re out so early in the Championship.

Michael Ryan has made no secret of the fact that he wants to win the league. After getting to the semi-final now he’ll definitely want to go on and win it. That’s evident in the team he’s named.

Matches are preparation for Championship and Ryan has made no secret that he wants to win the league and keep things rolling. That’s what Tipp have in their mind; after last September they just want to keep winning.

Ryan has really stepped up that and pushed on things this year, so he’ll be looking for a good performance on Sunday.

Allianz Hurling League Division 1A, Pairc Ui Rinn, Co. Cork 26/3/2017 Cork vs Tipperary Tipperary manager Michael Ryan Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Niall O’Meara has been there a couple of years now, on and off the team, but he’s really stepped up in this league campaign. Jason Forde has made progress too.

Overall they have huge depth in the panel, they have 20/22 players they could start on any day. a dream for managers to have 20/22 players pushing for places. Michael Ryan is definitely in the best position heading the championship and latter stages of the year.

So, who knows? Wexford could be a bit further along fitness-wise and hurling-wise and they could sneak it.

They’re capable of beating Tipp. Having said that, I think the All-Ireland champions will have to have an off-day for it to happen.

I think the Premier will just be too cute for them this time around. Later on in the Summer if they met, it mightn’t be like that but this time around, I fancy Tipp by a couple of points.

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Make sure to tune into the latest episode of the 16th Man, where we review the National Football League final and look ahead to Tipperary vs Wexford and Limerick vs Galway.

https://soundcloud.com/punditarenagaa/we-review-the-allianz-football-league-and-look-ahead-to-the-weekends-hurling-semi-finals

Author: The PA Team

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