The Leinster Final takes place today, and although Wexford will not feature in it, they could still play a big part in this year’s All-Ireland Senior hurling championship…
Few people had given Wexford a chance going into the final round-robin game against Kilkenny. After their loss to Dublin and their draw to Westmeath, Wexford needed a win against Brian Cody’s Kilkenny up in Nowlan Park in the final group game.
Wexford left everything on the field that day; they highlighted to many that they’re not dead and buried just yet and that they can mix it with the top teams. On that day, they dominated Kilkenny on their home patch, winning most, if not all, of the key battles on the field, finishing as four point winners.
That win meant that Wexford were placed into the All-Ireland stages, while Dublin were knocked out of the competition, despite beating Wexford earlier in the round-robin.
Here, we look at Wexford’s potential run to the All-Ireland final.
Preliminary All-Ireland quarter-final:
(Fixture: Antrim/Kerry vs Wexford)
Wexford will take on the runners-up of today’s Joe McDonagh Cup. Antrim are heavily tipped going into the game, and the bookmakers are predicting that Kerry will be playing Wexford in the preliminary All-Ireland quarter-final. Either way, it will be an away trip for Darragh Egan’s side as the Joe McDonagh team has home advantage. Wexford’s game against Westmeath, where they drew with Joe Fortune’s side in Cusack Park in this year’s championship, will be fresh in their memories. A serious approach, along with the appropriate preparation and respect for the opponents will be needed; Wexford will be taking it one game at a time and they won’t look past this game, but they’ll be expected to attain the win here.
Wexford vs Munster finalists runners up
(Potential fixture: Wexford vs Clare/Limerick)
Both Clare and Limerick will take part in this year’s Munster Senior Hurling Final. Both Clare and Limerick are the two in-form teams of this year’s championship, but Wexford have already defeated them in this year’s Allianz Hurling League campaign which would surely boost their confidence heading into a crucial tie like this. With some key players back for Limerick, including Aaron Gillane and Michael Casey, many will be tipping Limerick to come away with the victory and with the silverware. It’s hard to look past a Limerick win.
That would leave Clare in an All-Ireland quarter-final game against Darragh Egan’s Wexford side. Although Clare are in-form, Wexford does possess a strong threat that can challenge this Clare team should they meet in the championship. Wexford’s Damien Reck could stop Tony Kelly from hurling which is half the battle when playing Clare. Then, Wexford’s attacking prowess of McDonald, O’Connor, and the returning Lee Chin could spell danger for the Clare defence.
(Potential fixture: Wexford vs Galway/Kilkenny)
A win against Clare in the All-Ireland quarter-final places Wexford into the All-Ireland semi-final. It would be their first time there since 2019. In the semi-final, Wexford will take on the Leinster Senior hurling champions. Our prediction is that Galway will have the upper-hand over Kilkenny in this year’s final, and therefore, Wexford could be potentially coming up against Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final.
After playing Galway in the Championship already this year, Wexford would not fear playing them. This Galway team is not as good as previous years, even though they still can cause teams a lot of danger, especially due to the height, speed, and strength of their forwards. In their last clash though, Wexford proved that they can put it up to Galway too, and in previous games, Wexford have been somewhat of a bogey team for Galway and a team that they often struggle against.
(Potential fixture: Wexford vs Limerick, Croke Park).
It’s All-Ireland final day, Sunday, July 17th. The sun is shining and the purple and gold has flocked Croke Park. We haven’t seen anything of the likes of this since 1996. It’s a thing of beauty, with the demand for tickets being the strongest ever. Wexford have defeated Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final, and they’ll take on Limerick in the All-Ireland final. It’s a repeat of the 1996 All-Ireland hurling final.
We all know what happened then.
On All-Ireland final day, anything can happen. While Limerick are the team to beat, Wexford would not fear them, especially in an All-Ireland final, entering the game as underdogs. It would be difficult to bet against Wexford, even if they were playing Limerick in the All-Ireland final. They’re a team that thrives off the momentum and when they’re going well, they go very well.
We can dare to dream.
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