Friday 22 March 2019

Kilkenny likely to draw first blood

Walsh Cup Final: Kilkenny v Wexford; Nowlan Park, Today, 2.0

Wexford’s Davy Fitzgerald
Wexford’s Davy Fitzgerald

It might have been just the third Sunday in January, but Davy Fitz wasn't missing a beat.

As the sun fell and a bitter cold descended on Parnell Park, he made sure to pay homage to Wexford's opponents, previous and future.

Dublin, he said with wide-eyed intensity, are a team he would be "afraid of my life," playing in the Championship this year, despite his team's seven-point win. And then Kilkenny, today's opponents in Nowlan Park.

"We get to meet them then again on the 4th of March," he pointed out, "and then we get to meet them again at the end of May or June. We'll be sick of seeing one another, so we will.

"It's a game, it's a game a week before the league. Not sure what team I'll put out yet next week, we'll see what the story is."

By his own estimation, his team had been at three-quarter strength in that win over Dublin and by Davy's admission, Pat Gilroy's team had been the better of the sides until Paul Winters' sending off.

Meanwhile, Kilkenny were winning in Tullamore, three points better than Offaly with a team that is easily filed under 'experimental.'

Of all of Brian Cody's early 2018 trials, that of Richie Reid as an outfielder may be the most successful so far.

Reid scored five points against Offaly and regardless of what happens today in Nowlan Park, is set to begin the League in Cody's half-forward line.

Much of what happens today will depend on how heavily the managers tinker with the squad but at home, Kilkenny are the likelier to draw first blood.

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