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Moral victories no good for Wexford, warns JJ Doyle

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Wexford U-21 manager JJ Doyle

Wexford U-21 manager JJ Doyle

SPORTSFILE

Wexford U-21 manager JJ Doyle

WEXFORD U-21 manager JJ Doyle insists his side aren't interested in 'moral victories' ahead of tomorrow's All-Ireland final clash with treble-chasing Clare in Semple Stadium.

The revival of Wexford hurling has been one of the stories of the summer, with Doyle's U-21 team winning a second consecutive Leinster title and the senior side scalping All-Ireland champions Clare.

But Doyle warned that the county must win silverware for a the summer to be considered a successful one.

"I think we've had too many moral victories in Wexford. We beat Clare, we beat Waterford but then we were poor against Limerick that day (in senior)," he said.

"A lot of people are saying Wexford had a good summer, but for me a good summer is winning something. Moral victories are no good to us."

Wexford go into tomorrow night's decider as rank outsiders against a Clare team who are going for a third successive All-Ireland title at the grade.

While Clare's youngsters are better known, Wexford have some marquee performers of their own.

Liam Ryan, a minor last year, has, according to Doyle, "the potential to be one of the great full-backs of the game."

Conor McDonald's talents have been well documented after he lined out in championship for the county's minor, U-21 and senior teams last year.

Jack Guiney is another touted for big things but Doyle believes the expectation will hang over Clare.

"A lot of people look at this Clare team and say they're phenomenal. People say they're the best Clare team of all time now," he said.

"I don't know how you can judge those kind of things or the parameters. A lot of people are saying now that we're there whatever happens it'll be a good year.

"Listen, it hasn't been a good year, in our camp unless we win the All-Ireland. If we lose on Saturday, we'll be as gutted as when we got beaten by Antrim last year."

That shock defeat to the Ulster men in the All-Ireland U-21 semi-final was part of the learning curve for Wexford.

They weren't caught in this year's semi-final, finishing strongly to see off Galway.

For Doyle, who has tasted All-Ireland success with the Wexford camogie team, that win signified a mentally tougher side.

"We have always had good hurlers in Wexford, we just haven't got across the line in big games. We have started to do that in the last couple of years," he said.

"That breeds confidence. That breeds belief. If you have belief and when you marry that with good hurlers who have a great character, it is a potentially great mix."

Irish Independent