Monday 26 February 2018

Chin's head 'melted' as Wexford fixture clash forces dual star to choose sides

Wexford captain Lee Chin (R) and Kilkenny skipper Brian Kennedy with Irish wolfhound Cu Breatnach in Wexford Town Quay yesterday ahead of the Bord Gáis Energy Leinster hurling U-21 final
Wexford captain Lee Chin (R) and Kilkenny skipper Brian Kennedy with Irish wolfhound Cu Breatnach in Wexford Town Quay yesterday ahead of the Bord Gáis Energy Leinster hurling U-21 final

Cliona Foley and Jackie Cahill

LEE Chin has admitted that his head is "melted" as he agonises over Saturday's dual dilemma – but the Wexford star looks set to plump for a crunch All-Ireland hurling qualifier against Clare.

Chin, who will captain the Model County's U-21 hurlers in tomorrow evening's (7.30) Bord Gais Energy Leinster final against Kilkenny at Wexford Park, must choose between senior hurling and football at the weekend and he revealed: "I'm so confused at the moment."

Wexford's efforts to get their All-Ireland football qualifier moved to Sunday have failed, leaving their supporters up in arms.

Their footballers have to travel to Longford for a 7.0 throw-in, but their hurlers' 5.0 start in Thurles means county dual star Chin will not be able to reprise his usual double heroics and will have to choose one code over the other.

Local radio was inundated with complaints from supporters yesterday when the fixtures were confirmed. The 20-year-old, who plays his club hurling with Faythe Harriers and football with Sarsfields, admitted that one of his goals is to play in an All-Ireland quarter-final this year. For the footballers to get that far, they would have to win three rounds of qualifiers, but the hurlers are just one step away as they prepare to face Clare at Semple Stadium.

"With the hurling I have played every championship game and played both of the qualifiers," he said. "This is the big one now, probably the biggest game of the year for us. If we beat Clare we are through to an All-Ireland quarter-final. And that is a big factor that is playing on my mind.

"With the footballers, we are going up to play Longford. I don't really know, it is going to be a tough ask too. I'm so confused at the moment. (But) what I want to achieve this year ... getting to an All-Ireland quarter-final would be one of those goals."

Chin has already been on the receiving end of some good-natured banter from his sister Danielle as he considers his options.

Last Thursday, Danielle tweeted her brother a picture of hurling manager Liam Dunne and football boss Aidan O'Brien alongside the question: "Who's your daddy???"

Wexford requested that the football be moved to Sunday but were told that an all-Leinster qualifier on the same day as the Leinster football final was not allowed.

Wexford chairman Diarmuid Devereux said they were "disappointed" that some solution couldn't be found but said they would just have to get on with it.

"We are unique in that our supporters tend to follow both teams. We have 49 clubs in the county and 85pc of them play both hurling and football," he said.

Chin had been keen to play a part in both games until yesterday's news: "I was hoping (the games wouldn't clash), so I waited for it but it has been confirmed it is on the Saturday.

"The U-21 final is a big factor. That is why my head is so melted right now because I am refusing to think about what is happening at the weekend because I want to concentrate on Wednesday night."

Elsewhere, the Munster Council say the 15-minute delay to last Saturday's hurling qualifier between Clare and Laois in Ennis was down to the late arrival of the bulk of the 7,000 crowd.

Fans have complained that there was only one ticket van selling tickets at Ennis, but Munster Council PRO Ed Donnelly said there were eight vendors selling tickets in the van, which they felt adequate for such a crowd. "The problem appears to have been that there were very few pre-sales," he said.

"Up to 20 minutes beforehand people were arriving in threes and fours for tickets and there was no queue but most of the crowd arrived at the same time and if you have to sell 5,000-6,000 tickets in 20 minutes there is going to be a hold-up."

There was only a five-minute delay to the start of the subsequent football match in the Ennis double-header and the GAA have again urged supporters to pre-purchase tickets, which are now available at commercial outlets like Supervalu.

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