independent

Wednesday 18 July 2018

Cousins join injury list

Firman and Maddock in the wars in Under-21 victory

Conor Firman getting to grips with Walter Walsh of Kilkenny when the sides met in the league in March
Conor Firman getting to grips with Walter Walsh of Kilkenny when the sides met in the league in March

Brendan Furlong

Manager Davy Fitzgerald will be looking for more consistency to their game for the full 70 minutes when Wexford go into the All-Ireland Senior hurling championship preliminary quarter-final against the losers of Carlow and Westmeath on the weekend of July 7-8.

But in the preparations leading into the game he has injury concerns regarding St. Martin's first cousins, Conor Firman and Aaron Maddock, both of whom were in the wars as Wexford defeated Dublin in the provincial Under-21 hurling semi-final in Parnell Park on Wednesday.

Firman hobbled out of the game before half-time with a hamstring problem, while Maddock played through the full 60-plus minutes despite carrying an ankle injury received during the course of the game.

An added concern for Fitzgerald and his backroom team is that Wexford face into a provincial Under-21 final against Galway in Portlaoise on Wednesday of next week (July 4), just days before the preliminary quarter-final game.

Also likely to be out of contention for the preliminary quarter-final is Oulart-The Ballagh's Eoin Moore, who is still recovering from an ankle problem, while Willie Devereux is also battling injury to be ready in time for the game.

Fitzgerald noted on Monday that it's a race against time for those carrying injuries.

'Both Conor and Aaron face a crucial few days in their bid to be fit. Aaron will have an x-ray on his ankle this week, but he played through the full 60 minutes with the Under-21 side which did not help,' he said.

'Conor's is a tight hamstring, so it's a case of wait and see. Eoin is unlikely to be fit in time for the game as injury has hampered his preparations.'

But Fitzgerald could receive a welcome boost regarding Liam Og McGovern. The St. Anne's attacker is battling his way back to full fitness following a second cruciate knee operation in the space of twelve months.

'Liam Og came on against both Offaly and Galway, but I felt the Kilkenny game was not right for him. He is making real progress over the weeks since the Kilkenny game.

'We are very happy with his progress. He will be closely monitored over the coming two weeks,' Fitzgerald added.

Fitzgerald has stressed that he will be demanding that Wexford bring consistency to their game for the full 70 minutes.

'That display against Kilkenny for 40 minutes was Wexford's best for 15 years. It will have given the lads confidence, but also, they will realise that we need to bring that to the plate for 70 minutes. A repeat of that for 70 minutes would see them make life difficult for any side.

'It's remarkable the progress this side has made in one and a half years. The players realise that now, they also realise what is needed to take that to another level.

'That is what is needed for the games ahead. It's nice to be still there at this time of year, with the likes of Tipperary, Waterford and Dublin gone.

'Let it be Westmeath or Carlow, we will need to be at our best,' added Fitzgerald who will learn his team's next opponents when the Joe McDonagh Cup final is played as a curtain-raiser to the Leinster Senior decider between Galway and Kilkenny in Croke Park on Sunday.

While his native Clare will take on the John Meyler-managed Cork in the Munster final on Sunday, Davy will be unable to attend Semple Stadium for this showdown.

'I would love to be there but my work takes me to Croke Park for the Joe McDonagh Cup final,' he said.

Meanwhile, hurling followers in the county wish Meyler, the former Wexford manager and player, the best of luck in what will be his first Munster Senior hurling final in this role, having guided the Rebel county to the provincial Under-21 decider last year.

Enniscorthy Guardian

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