Naomh Eanna won the Wexford Senior Hurling title for the second time in their club’s history earlier this year…
The Gorey side defeated Oylegate-Glenbrien in the Wexford Senior Hurling final back in August – but they still have to wait another week for their next game in the Leinster Hurling championship.
Naomh Eanna will take on the Offaly champions on Sunday, 12th November at 1:30pm in Chadwicks Wexford Park.
The Wexford champions will take on the Offaly champions, Kilcormac Killoughey, in their Leinster Club hurling quarter-final clash.
Despite being away from home, Kilcormac/Killoughey enter the game as 1/2 favourites, while Naomh Eanna are 9/4 to win the game. Perhaps, it was their dominant 18-point win over Shinroe in their county final that has placed them as the front-runners.
Here, we look at some of the potential key battles that Naomh Eanna will be hoping to come away on top from to progress into the semi-final stages of the competition.
Cian O’Tuama vs Adam Screeney:
One of Naomh Eanna’s brightest sparks throughout the Wexford Senior hurling championship campaign was their young corner back, Cian O’Tuama. O’Tuama is an aggressive corner-back who likes to play from in front and attack the ball. With the game next week, it should come as no surprise to spectators to see O’Tuama given man-marking duties on Offaly’s next big thing, Adam Screeney.
Screeney’s name is one of the biggest in GAA circles at the moment. The small, slight, fast-paced corner-forward poses a huge threat to every team. O’Tuama, and his Wexford u-20 counterparts, seen the extent of this during this year’s Leinster hurling final, a game where Screeney slotted a cool 1-12 for himself, with 1-03 coming from play.
Conor Mc Donald vs Brecon Kavanagh
It’s safe to say that McDonald left his best game of the season to the last. The long-balls into McDonald, despite being often double-marked by two inter-county hurlers, caused havoc for the Oylegate-Glenbrien defence as the Gorey sharp-shooter gave a performance for the ages. Brecon Kavanagh, a highly-rated hurler in Offaly and another member of the 2023 Offaly u20 panel, has been playing full-back for his club, Kilcormac.
Kavanagh is a relatively light but sticky hurler with a lot of potential, however it could be dangerous for Kilcormac to leave Kavanagh on McDonald. McDonald would have too much strength and fire-power for the Offaly native and just like with many opposition teams, Kilcormac may opt to double-mark the Naomh Eanna full-forward. Should McDonald put in another unstoppable performance similar to the one against Oylegate, Gorey will have every chance of winning this one.
Charlie McGuckin vs Cathal Kiely:
Cathal Kiely is one of Kilcormac’s sharp-shooters. He is a powerful wing-forward and he is well-able to pick a score off the run. Naomh Eanna’s defence, however, could prove challenging for Kiely. Naomh Eanna’s wing-backs are Charlie McGuckin and Jack Cullen, two players that love running the wings with the ball and getting scores of their own. Both McGuckin and Cullen performed excellently in the final, especially when moving forward, but whoever is marking Kiely, will need to make sure that he is kept quiet too. It’ll be an interesting battle.
Cian Molloy vs Conor Mahon:
In their dominant win against Shinroe in the Offaly Senior hurling final, Conor Mahon’s performance went somewhat under the radar. A former Offaly inter-county hurler, Mahon scored 0-06 from open play from the centre forward position. Mahon, with a big and powerful presence, will demand the ball from puck-outs and will contest Molloy in the air with dominant ariel ability. However, Molloy will be well capable of causing problems for Mahon. Similar to Mahon, he will compete in the air for the ball. When Molloy does get the ball, it is typically route one to McDonald on his brain every single time.
Eoin Molloy vs Charlie Mitchell:
Cian’s older brother, Eoin Molloy, has been Gorey’s rock in the full-back position. A traditional full-back, Molloy gives his marker plenty and despite his sheer size, he has plenty of hurling, tenacity, and aggression to stop a man from playing. It’s his game. A test against one of Offaly’s up-and-coming stars could await him though, as Charlie Mitchell plays full-forward for Killcormac.
Mitchell was also a member of the successful Offaly u-20 team that defeated Wexford in the Leinster final earlier in the year. Mitchell is highly rated in Offaly hurling circles. Mitchell has a quick turn of pace and an eye for goal that can cause any defence problems.
There are a number of other big match-ups that could have been discussed here. Cathal Dunbar at centre-forward against Cillian Kiely, while Aodhán Doyle’s potential battle against the strong Damien Kilmartin could be worth keeping an eye on too.
Naomh Eanna will play Killcormac Killoughey next Sunday 12th November. At Chadwicks Wexford Park with throw-in at 1:30pm, the Gorey side will be hoping to progress to the next round where they will face the winners of the Kilkenny vs Carlow champions.
Tickets for the match are currently on sale. For those not attending the game, the match will also be broadcast live on TG4.
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