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Second time lucky for Davy's Banner

STRANGELY, Wednesday night's Leinster under-21 final might work to Wexford's advantage.

Firstly, they won. Which is always good.

Secondly, Conor McDonald started, finished and thrived. Jack Guiney recalibrated his shooting. And Liam Ryan maintained his excellent form.

When Liam Dunne reflected on how his team contrived not to win last Saturday's drawn game in Ennis, he'll surely have looked at that period after 
half-time when the two 
forwards mentioned above wasted good chance to soften Clare's worsening cough.


Even the brilliant Liam Óg McGovern got in on the act, hitting the side-netting from a chance that would have buried the Banner.

Dunne will also be concerned by the panicky defending his team demonstrated late on.

Not that Darach Honan is an easy man to mark. But the hand pass he played to Conor McGrath (from which Wexford conceded the late penalty, converted on the rebound by Seadhna Morey) never should have taken out four Wexford defenders like that.

Similarly, in extra-time, his team did well to pack the middle and win ball, but not so well in clearing into 40 yards of Wexford-less space occupied by two Clare defenders.

Last week, Davy Fitzgerald reacted to the result by picking on a local reporter, accusing him of trying to "destroy Clare hurling" which sounds less like a justified accusation and more like the ramblings of man driven demented by the prospect of his team going out of their All-Ireland lap of honour at the very first corner.

Podge Collins is a loss but his punishment, deserved. There is neither a good reason to pull an opponents face-guard nor an excuse for not being au fait with the new regulations regarding same.

Last week, Wexford got the start from heaven, went ten points up and 'horsed' into Clare like a team with no comprehension of what the result would do for them.

It's hard to see any of that happening again this evening.

ODDS: Wexford 11/4, Draw 12/1, Clare 1/3




(Wexford Pk, Today, 5.0, Live RTÉ2)