Saturday 19 January 2019

Cody's changes make all the difference

Davy Fitzgerald must be hugely frustrated. Photo: Sportsfile
Davy Fitzgerald must be hugely frustrated. Photo: Sportsfile

Jamesie O'Connor

Wexford came into Kilkenny's backyard and bossed the game for 40 minutes. It was a hugely impressive display by Wexford, it was incomparable to what we saw last week. David Dunne was exceptional, he made a huge difference with the space and energy he gave them around the field.

The space they created opened up huge gaps in that Kilkenny defence early on, their big name players like Lee Chin who had a very good first half and Conor McDonald and Rory O'Connor all stepped up.

By half-time the game was very much played on Wexford's terms. From Brian Cody's perspective they had ball but they had eight or nine wides and that cost them. Richie Hogan was trying too hard, Colin Fennelly was making no impact and Wexford got their lead to nine.

Huge credit has to go to Cody for the changes that he made. He didn't shirk taking the big names off and in the second half the shackles were off and the changes proved decisive.

Along with that, TJ Reid thundered into it, Padraig Walsh got involved and Paddy Deegan at the back got into it.

When Kilkenny came back into the game Wexford still had chances to stop their momentum and the crowd support that comes with it. But we just saw wide after wide. It was up at 16 after an hour. When you lose a match by a point those missed chances will come back to haunt you.

Davy Fitzgerald wil be hugely frustrated, ahead by nine and to lose by one. When he reflects on it, they were so much better that they were in Wexford Park. Maybe it was just that lack of composure or experience that cost them in the end.

If Wexford can reproduce that and eliminate some of the errors they will be a handful for anyone. Both teams will kick on from this, the bar has been raised.

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