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Conor McDonald to make one hundredth appearance for Wexford Senior hurlers in must-win game against Kilkenny

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Conor McDonald celebrating Wexford’s Leinster Under-21 final win over Kilkenny in 2013, three days before making his Senior debut against Clare.

Conor McDonald celebrating Wexford’s Leinster Under-21 final win over Kilkenny in 2013, three days before making his Senior debut against Clare.

Conor McDonald beating Enda Rowland of Laois to score his 31st goal for the Wexford Senior hurlers in the Leinster championship clash in MW Hire O’Moore Park, Portlaoise on May 1. Photo by Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile

Conor McDonald beating Enda Rowland of Laois to score his 31st goal for the Wexford Senior hurlers in the Leinster championship clash in MW Hire O’Moore Park, Portlaoise on May 1. Photo by Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile

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Conor McDonald celebrating Wexford’s Leinster Under-21 final win over Kilkenny in 2013, three days before making his Senior debut against Clare.

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Conor McDonald will be hoping to mark a significant personal milestone on a high note in UPMC Nowlan Park, Kilkenny on Saturday at 6 p.m.

Wexford’s talented attacker is poised for his 100th appearance in the county Senior jersey, nearly nine years after making his debut as a teenager.

And the Naomh Éanna clubman and his colleagues will need to produce something special on this landmark occasion since it’s a must-win game for the team.

McDonald has been named at full-forward, with Wexford in the last-chance saloon and looking to bounce back from a poor performance in Mullingar last Saturday that led to a 0-21 to 2-15 draw with Westmeath.

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There is just one change in personnel, with vice-captain Kevin Foley returning to the starting 15 instead of Paul Morris.

However, further alterations cannot be ruled out before throw-in, because the fitness of Liam Ryan (shoulder) and Lee Chin (dead leg) will continue to be closely monitored.

The full team is: Mark Fanning; Simon Donohoe, Liam Ryan, Conor Devitt; Matthew O’Hanlon, Damien Reck, Pádraig Foley; Diarmuid O’Keeffe, Lee Chin (capt.); Jack O’Connor, Kevin Foley, Liam Óg McGovern; Oisín Foley, Conor McDonald, Rory O’Connor. Subs. – James Lawlor, Ross Banville, David Clarke, Cathal Dunbar, Mikie Dwyer, Connal Flood, Conor Hearne, Charlie McGuckin, Paul Morris, Niall Murphy, Oisín Pepper.

Conor McDonald’s Senior debut arrived on July 13, 2013 when he replaced Podge Doran in the 69th minute of Wexford’s extra-time loss to Clare by 3-24 to 1-20 in the All-Ireland championship phase three qualifier in Thurles. It was just three days after he had helped the county to the Leinster Under-21 championship crown against Kilkenny, the first in a three-in-a-row, scoring two points in a 1-21 to 0-21 success after extra-time in a thronged Wexford Park.

He scored his first Senior point for Wexford in that loss to Clare, and he has amassed a staggering 31-254 in his 99 matches thus far. That debut for the Seniors arrived 20 days after McDonald played at full-forward on the county Minor team that lost the Leinster semi-final to Laois by 1-14 to 0-13.

His five points in that defeat were registered from four frees plus a ’65, but he had really caught the attention of the Senior selectors in the previous round in Nowlan Park when his haul of 3-4, including 2-2 from play, resulted in a 3-7 to 1-10 win over Kilkenny.

McDonald’s Minor team-mates in 2013 included Simon Donohoe, Liam Ryan, Pádraig Foley, Conor Devitt and Cathal Dunbar, all of whom are likely to feature against Kilkenny.

Only two of the Senior side that he joined for that defeat to Clare on his debut are part of tomorrow’s squad, namely Mark Fanning and Paul Morris.

The full team was: Mark Fanning; Eoin Moore, Tomás Waters, Bobby Kenny; Richie Kehoe, Keith Rossiter, Ciarán Kenny (0-1); Andrew Shore, David Redmond (0-2); Paul Morris (0-1), Eoin Quigley, Garrett Sinnott (capt., 0-1); Rory Jacob, Jack Guiney (1-9, 0-7 frees), Podge Doran (0-2). Subs. – Gary Moore (0-2) for Quigley (34), Harry Kehoe for R. Kehoe (HT), Eoin Doyle for Waters, inj. (63), P.J. Nolan for H. Kehoe (69), Conor McDonald (0-1) for Doran (69), Michael O’Regan (0-1) for Sinnott (76), Ciarán O’Shaughnessy for Rossiter (79).

Kilkenny’s team for the latest showdown between these long-standing rivals is expected to be named on Friday night.

Spectators travelling to UPMC Nowlan Park should note that a curtain-raiser will take place at 3.45 p.m., with Clara from Kilkenny meeting Borris in Ossory-Kilcotton of Laois in the Leinster Club League final.


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