Friday 24 November 2017

Models looks good for Royal reward

EITHER Séamus McEnaney is the most astute politician in GAA managerhood or they're going soft in Meath. What other conclusion are we supposed to draw after an unusually bloodless winter in the Royal County?

It's become something of a Meath custom for the festive season to prompt a coup of some type but 'Banty' sailed through into a second year without the usual winter ruckus.

This week, the former Monaghan manager insisted: "I'm not under any more pressure than every other manager in the country," which is entirely untrue.

He has sated the upstarts for the time being, but McEnaney knows himself a trophy-less year or even a repeat of their 2011 league malaise and the pitchforks will be out en masse.

For now, though, he'll surely focus on adding something different to a Meath attack busting with big, strong, sweet-striking forwards but alarmingly slow on pace.

No harm then that Joe Sheridan, Cian Ward, Stephen Bray and Shane O'Rourke are ruled out for the weekend. An interesting selection for Wexford sees former U21 hurling captain Andrew Shore selected at midfield.

Last year, Wexford were slapped around the early part of the year like the Kilkenny footballers on a good day but Jason Ryan got his timing right and they enjoyed another Leinster final appearance and were only deprived a spot in the All-Ireland quarter-final by a questionable ref/umpire call. Neither look likely to run too hard in January.

WEXFORD: T Hughes; N Murphy, F Lancaster, S Culleton; L Chin, G Molloy, A Doyle; D Waters, A Shore; E Bradley, B Brosnan, PJ Banville; P Byrne, K O'Grady, K Rowe.

ODDS: Meath 4/11, Draw 15/2, Wexford 5/2

VERDICT: Wexford

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