Model To Make It Through Treaty Test
Limerick v Wexford
Can the Yellowbelly dream continue or will TJ Ryan’s outfit throw cold water over them? 2014 has been a remarkable year for Wexford, and their hunger, passion and new-found confidence are a powerful mix. Will the games played and adrenaline rush take their toll?
Limerick had a fantastic last gasp win over Tipp to set them up for a crack at putting Munster titles back to back. They made all the early running but for all their dominance, they were wasteful, let Cork back in, and were only level at the break. When Cork kicked for home, Limerick had no answer.
Wexford’s season looked like it might be shorter than Grumpy’s temper when they were beaten by Dublin in Leinster, but since then it’s been magic moments for Liam Dunne’s forces.
Shock was registered nationwide a few weeks back as news filtered through that Wexford were ten points up after 15 minutes in Ennis. Even though Wexford showed the gumption to equalise with the last puck, the auld nuggets about them having missed their chance were bandied about.
The replay saw them again forge into a match-winning position only for 14-man Clare to draw it at the death and send the game to extra time. As Clare opened up a two point lead, the inevitable looked to be unfolding. But not this Model side; a cracking Harry Kehoe goal set them en route to victory.
Waterford, waiting and with rest on their side, gave all in Nowlan Park, but the gritty Wexford men kicked on in the last 20.
While the free-taking contest between Jack Guiney and Shane Dowling will be vital, neither are likely to be found wanting. The midfield clash between Lee Chin and David Redmond and Limerick’s Paul Browne and the teak-tough James Ryan could hold the key. Redmond goaled a cracker last weekend, and he an Chin could have the edge in energy when going down the home straight..
Though the consensus says that the plethora of games is bound to catch up with Wexford, they’ve shown no ill-effects to date. Surely extra-time against the All-Ireland champions with many of their players having won a Leinster Under-21 days beforehand would have triggered the ‘fatigue’ excuse if it was in Wexford minds.
The doubts that the games would catch up in their belter with the Deise proved unfounded. Wexford are now in a groove of moving from match to match. They are big, athletic and full of hurling. The concern is their tendency to pass up easy scores and, as evidenced in the Clare games and against Waterford, there is a tendency to let big leads slip.
Limerick’s disposal of Tipp was strong form, especially considering how Tipp have performed since. Rebel revenge was going to be tough to avoid in the Munster clash, and while they displayed snippets of their Thurles form, they couldn’t sustain the effort and Cork’s forward line was full of invention.
Shane Dowling, though he hit 0-12, was far from his best, especially in the opening 40 minutes. He’ll need to be firing for Limerick to match a high-scoring Wexford. Big Kevin Downes can also provide headaches for a Wexford full-back line that have looked hesitant under high ball.
Limerick will surely sit back in front of the Wexford inside line, but Limerick’s appetite will have to match that of Dunne’s men and the Wexford appetite looks insatiable.
If Wexford can deliver the work-rate and passion their manager epitomised, and keep the free and wide count down, this can be another big day out for them. In a tight call, Wexford offer value at 7/5.