Friday 20 October 2017

'All we're trying to do is to get to the steps of the Hogan' - McDonald and Wexford aiming for All-Ireland

Bord Gáis Energy today launched its new #HurlingToTheCore campaign at Croke Park to mark the beginning of a summer of hurling. In attendance at the Hurling Launch is Conor McDonald of Wexford. Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Bord Gáis Energy today launched its new #HurlingToTheCore campaign at Croke Park to mark the beginning of a summer of hurling. In attendance at the Hurling Launch is Conor McDonald of Wexford. Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Wexford forward Conor McDonald has said that he and his Wexford teammates are trying to get to 'the steps of the Hogan Stand' in September ahead of the final round of qualifiers for the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship this weekend.

McDonald, who has been a pivotal part of the Wexford senior team this year having scored 3-46 through seven league games earlier this season, is confident that the Slaneysiders have the ability to go all the way in the hurling championship this year, with the Naomh Éanna half-forward insisting that his side's goals are firmly set on climbing the steps of the Hogan to lift Wexford's first Liam MacCarthy Cup since 1996.

"Everyone wants to get to the steps of the Hogan - that's all we're trying to do," McDonald told RTE Sport at the launch of the hurling championship at Croke Park on Wednesday.

"We’re all in it together, on or off the field and that’s most important. Confidence is high but there is a big difference between the league and the championship, everyone knows that."

The Yellowbellies blitzed their way through Division 1B this year, winning all five games before defeating Kilkenny at Nowlan Park in the Division 1 quarter-finals.

Davy Fitzgerald's side were ultimately obliterated 5-18 to 1-19 in the semi-finals by defending All-Ireland champions Tipperary, and while McDonald insists that confidence is high in the Wexford camp, he also said that he acknowledges that  Michael Ryan's side are still the number one team in the country.

"It was good to find your feet, and where you're at, but I think everyone knows the championship is a big step up," added McDonald of Wexford's league campaign.

"Everyone is going to be striving to get the best out of themselves but until there's a new winner Tipp are the team to beat. They're going to be a serious outfit come the summer."

The Premier County are planning to appeal midfielder Jason Forde's one-match suspension for clashing with Wexford boss Davy Fitzgerald during last month's semi-final in Kilkenny.

Forde had a proposed two-match ban handed down by the GAA's Central Hearings Committee but Tipp will bring their case to the next level, the Central Appeals Committee, as they look to have the versatile former minor and U-21 captain freed to play.

Captain Pádraic Maher has revealed the squad's determination to right the wrongs from their recent league final hammering by Galway.

The All-Star half-back told Tipp FM's Extra Time: "Since we came back in January, May 21 was in our sights all year but it was very, very disappointing what happened in the league final. We don't want to sweep that under the carpet by any manner of means.

"There's plenty of learning there for us, please God we can rectify that and put in a performance that Tipp supporters will be proud of against Cork."

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