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Tuesday 25 July 2017

Potency of Galway attack will be too much for Fitzy's Wexford

Leinster SHC: Wexford v Galway (Croke Park, Tomorrow, 4.0, Live RTÉ2)

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald. Pic: Sportsfile
Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald. Pic: Sportsfile

Wexford possess all the great sporting intangibles going into today - a first Leinster final appearance in nine years - so we may learn just how powerful a force each of them is.

They possess confidence, a knock-on from packing the three most significant wins of their past 15 years into just a few months.

They are in the midst of a 'bounce' the immediate, immeasurable phenomenon produced by the arrival of a new iconic manager (see also: the Micko Factor) which has no basis in sports science but can be witnessed in the diminishing returns of their latter years in each county.

And they have momentum.

"We have gone to the well a good bit now, because we have had to, momentum helps," Fitzgerald explained ahead of this, the day even he could hardly have envisaged being part of when he took over.

"But it has to be more than that, you have to have more than that.

"You need to be in physically unreal shape and have to have all the boxes ticked, there is an awful lot of things you have to have right. You won't get away with it in championship, we wouldn't have got away with it against Kilkenny.

"That was a very physical game, that was a tough game, I remember looking out with a few minutes to go and seeing players from our team and from the Kilkenny team, and they couldn't give another thing, so they couldn't."

Unreal physical shape? Tick.

The notion that Wexford had peaked athletically in April when they beat Kilkenny in the League in Nowlan Park and would by caught by the time they played again in Wexford Park was exploded by that gargantuan display on June 11.

Their confidence was evident in the fact that though they dominated the game, their inability to deal with Colin Fennelly meant they had to win it twice - and yet they did.

More than theoretic organisation, Wexford seem to have a well-honed, tightly-drilled plan within which for Lee Chin, Diarmuid O'Keeffe, Paul Morris, Conor McDonald and Jack Guiney to thrive.

Balanced

Galway are a different cookie. The thing that Galway seem to have cultivated this year - the same as Tipperary last season or Kilkenny in all their recent Championship wins - is a balanced, interchangeable attack.

A conglomerate of individuals who, not only can win their personal battles, but can enjoy little periods of relevance where they get on the ball and score frequently in a short space of time.

Conor Whelan, Conor Cooney, Jason Flynn and Joe Canning all took turns to do damage against Dublin while Cathal Mannion retains the ability to engineer a goal from anywhere.

That responsibility is rotated as required, meaning any defensive effort will have to be extremely well organised and each component, on top of their game.

All the while, the talented Canning has been humming sweetly, a much more prominent and relevant presence of late.

Wexford conceded three goals from nothing against Kilkenny and in Croke Park, any glitches will be magnified.

ODDS: Wexford 11/4, Draw 10/1, Galway 4/11

VERDICT: Galway

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