Sport Hurling

Saturday 17 March 2018

Fanning confident U-21s can give Model shot in arm

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

WHILE the Wexford senior hurlers enjoyed only a brief summer, U-21 captain Mark Fanning insists the future is bright for the Model men ahead of tonight's Leinster hurling final against Dublin at Wexford Park (7.30).

Football in the county is on the rise, with Jason Ryan's side earning widespread plaudits in their run to the Leinster final, while the U-21s secured a breakthrough provincial crown.

Fanning agrees that tonight's match is the perfect opportunity to give hurling in the county a timely shot in the arm.

"We want to give the county a lift because things have been said about the senior hurlers being failures. They aren't. They just didn't go well on the day," he said.

With the benefit of home advantage, Wexford are clear favourites to avenge last year's Leinster U-21 final defeat by Dublin at Parnell Park and there can be no doubting their pedigree.

An eye-catching win over Kilkenny, who won the All-Ireland minor championship three years ago, and a seven-goal haul against Laois marked Wexford out as a serious outfit.

The bloodlines are strong, too. Harry Kehoe is a cousin of soccer international Kevin Doyle, while full-back Matthew O'Hanlon is a grandson of Mick O'Hanlon, who won an All-Ireland with Wexford in 1955.

Martin Storey's nephew Tommy is on the bench alongside Rory Sludds, who is a nephew of Donegal 1992 All-Ireland-winning football captain Anthony Molloy. Wexford are also relatively experienced, with 13 of last year's squad still eligible, while five of the players picked up Leinster football medals in April.

Four members of Anthony Daly's senior panel (Liam Rushe, Daire Plunkett, Martin Quilty and Danny Sutcliffe) are in action for John McEvoy's Dublin U-21s, who hit 21 wides against Carlow before disposing of Offaly by 13 points in the semi-final.

Verdict: Wexford

Wexford v Dublin,

Live, TG4, 7.30

Irish Independent

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