On Sunday, the Wexford Senior hurlers travel to Tullamore to face a struggling Offaly side.
In recent years, the sides have met on regular occasions in the National Hurling Leauge and during the championship stages. Although the Model County often proved too good for the Faithful on these occasions Sunday’s test may prove to be more difficult.
As stated, Offaly are struggling in this years‘ League campaign and they need a win out of their remaining two games to avoid relegation. Relegation to the Christy Ring cup for Offaly would be detrimental. It can’t happen, and it goes against everything. Certainly, Offaly will be ready for this test against Wexford. From the start, it will be drilled into the team that a win is crucial and that this Wexford side can be beaten. The Faithful will want to relieve some pressure before they travel to Tralee to face Kerry- which definitely won’t be an easy task as the Kingdom are an up and coming side. They will have nothing to lose.
In Offaly’s previous game, they faced Limerick and undoubtedly they put up a terrific fight at the Gaelic Grounds. Although they lost by a couple of points, they proved that they are well able to compete at a higher level when needed. They fought to the very end and almost pushed themselves over the line. Furthermore, the fact that they only lost to Laois by six points when they had thirteen men for the majority of the second half would reinstate that Offaly will be no pushovers. Against that Laois side, they racked up a total of 1:26. They aren’t getting results, but they’ve completed some mighty performances considering their various unfavourable conditions.
With players such as Shane Dooley, Cillian Kiely and Eoghan Nolan all coming to the fore in recent times, Wexford’s task this weekend is not as black and white as many would think. Certainly, a big performance will be needed to secure promotion to Division 1A.
Only Sunday will tell, though… all roads lead to O Connor Park, Tullamore at 2pm.