Tuesday 18 June 2019

Chin still a major doubt

Injuries to be assessed during week as Cork lie in wait

Colin Ryan of Limerick giving Wexford’s Kevin Foley and Aidan Nolan the slip in Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday
Colin Ryan of Limerick giving Wexford’s Kevin Foley and Aidan Nolan the slip in Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday

Brendan Furlong

Wexford hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald has delivered a less than positive note on the return of his injured players.

With a second round Allianz League game away to Cork in Pairc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday, Wexford would be looking for the return of some key figures in an effort to get their campaign up and running after the opening round defeat to Limerick.

After playing their first game without Lee Chin and Rory O'Connor, the Wexford manager is looking to training this week to address his injury concerns, with Paul Morris and Damien Reck seeing some game time as second-half substitutes.

'We will assess the injuries at training this week, but as of yet we don't know,' said Fitzgerald in the aftermath of the Limerick defeat.

Chin's hamstring injury has seen him miss four weeks of training, as well as the Walsh Cup action, while O'Connor - who was suspended at any rate for the Limerick game after last year's championship dismissal against Clare - played during the second-half with D.C.U. in the Fitzgibbon Cup last week, which should increase his chances of figuring against Cork.

With both Morris and Reck having featured against Limerick, they are sure to figure in Fitzgerald's thoughts, as is Harry Kehoe who looked lively and sharp on his introduction.

Wexford finished the game well against Limerick, but in truth they were always playing catch-up through the second period.

Still, Fitzgerald felt it was a game they could have won. 'We hit the post near the end, the 'keeper saved the return from Liam Og (McGovern).

'Had we got the goal we could have won it. We had a chance today, a great chance, of beating the All-Ireland champions,' he stressed.

With Cork having also lost their opening game to Kilkenny, it will also leave the home side determined to collect their first league win, so it will make it all the more difficult for Wexford to achieve a victory.

There will always be the prospect of a resurgent Cork outfit, but that is the challenge Wexford must step up to meet.

Everyone knows the obstacles facing Wexford in this league campaign, so they can ill-afford to be without key players.

No one doubted the challenge that Limerick would bring, but that is what is also facing the Model county in each of its four remaining group games.

While the prospect of relegation is no longer a concern, given the new format being brought in next year, counties are still treating the league as ideal preparation for the championship.

That was there for all to see from the opening series of games, with the tempo set to increase as the sides strive for knockout positions.

For now Wexford must look no further than Cork who are under the management of our own John Meyler - an interested spectator at Wexford's two Walsh Cup games. Their chance of victory would be increased should their key injured players be available.

Meanwhile, the Wexford footballers, following a second-half collapse to Leitrim, face another difficult task at home to Antrim in Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday.

This was always going to be a crucial game for Wexford, but having lost out on the points, they must now re-group and strive for a much-needed win on home territory.

Manager Paul McLoughlin, given the preparation put in for this opener, will no doubt be desperately disappointed with the Leitrim result, but now they must breach that great mental barrier of overcoming a heavy defeat in the space of seven days.

Wexford return to home territory and they will be hoping for huge improvement from a side whose confidence must now be low following this defeat.

Enniscorthy Guardian