Five Talking Points Following Wexford’s Loss To Cork Last Weekend

Wexford agonizingly lost out to Cork last weekend…

The Wexford Senior hurlers were ahead for all of the game up until the 71st minute when Cork’s late substitute, Cormac Beausang, pulled on a ball into James Lawlor’s net to put the Rebels in front in the dying moments.

Pride restored:

Although Wexford will be disappointed not to come away with the win from Pairc Ui Chaoimh, some pride has been restored following their thrashing by Clare two weeks ago.

Wexford were thrashed by Clare at home two weeks ago. To the shock of the supporters in attendance and to the fans of Wexford GAA, they defeated the Yellowbellies on a scoreline of 1-18 – 6-25. It sparked a response from former Kilkenny hurler Jackie Tyrrell to the masses of viewers tuning into RTE’s Allianz League Sunday who labelled the performance as “shambolic” and the worst performance of the Darragh Egan era.

With the Leinster Hurling Championship just looming around the corner, a response was needed from the Model men – and they did respond, led by the demanding presence of Lee Chin in the half-forward line.

Chin’s presence:

Chin has not featured a great deal for Wexford during the Allianz Hurling League. He started against Westmeath, but he was taken off at half-time due to an injury. Following the match, the Wexford Senior hurling manager Darragh Egan suggested to RTÉ that the Faythe Harriers club man may be rested until the Championship.

In the Cork game, Chin’s presence was really felt throughout the pitch. He has been described as a leader for multiple years, but this was really showcased against Cork. He scored nine points, with four coming from play. When Wexford needed scores, Chin stepped up; one point, when he was running towards the sideline with ball in hand comes to mind after he slotted the sliotar over from an almost-impossible angle. His performance meant that he would claim a place on the GAA Hurling Team of the Week.

Wexford’s unfortunate injuries:

Ahead of the Clare game, Wexford were dealt with multiple injuries. The same could be said for their most recent game against Cork. While the return of key players such as Lee Chin, Rory O’Connor, Matt O’Hanlon, and Kevin Foley were all seen as a positive, the number of injuries from the Cork game could be worrying for Wexford hurling fans.

Although Wexford supporters would be somewhat happy with the returning faces just in time for Championship, one returning face went off injured, while other influential players were forced to be side-lined during the game.

Matthew O’Hanlon was one returning player who went off with an injury. He was dominating the full-back position until he was substituted due to injury; there’s no doubt that O’Hanlon’s absence from the full-back position turned the game in Cork’s favour.

Likewise, it was concerning to see that full-forward Conor McDonald limped off with an injury with less than fifteen minutes gone in the game. McDonald’s calf was heavily strapped, and one could expect that the Naomh Eanna man was nursing an injury heading into the game. More concerning news for Wexford would be the fact that Oylegate-Glenbrien club-man, Damien Reck, also went off with an injury. The St Annes duo of Liam Óg McGovern and Dee O’Keeffe also sustained injuries in these games, but they did not seem to be as serious. It’s worth noting that O’Keeffe would have likely been substituted, but Wexford had used up all of their subs at this stage.

Goal at the end:

Wexford were leading in the game right up until the 71st minute mark. Although Wexford were 6/1 outsiders going into the match, and were never really expected to beat the rebels in their own backyard, Wexford supporters may feel disappointed with the fact that they could not hold out to attain the win.

Some in the crowd, and the supporters watching on tv, were disappointed with the referee’s decision to award a free just moments before which led to the Cork goal.

Others, however, looked at the defending of the Wexford backs. The long ball was dropped in to the square; Cork needed a goal at this stage, and Wexford should have defended for their lives. Instead, with multiple Wexford jerseys around the ball, Cork’s Seamus Harnedy touched the ball, allowing it to fall into the path of the onrushing Cormac Beausang who made no mistake with his ground-strike which rattled James Lawlor’s net.

Next up:

A true test for the Yellowbellies will be their next game, when they travel to the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick to take on John Kiely’s men and the three-in-a-row All-Ireland champions. Limerick have had an impressive League campaign, with many of their core players receiving game-time at some stage.

Although it would be nice to attain the win against the All-Ireland champions, there will be very much a focus on a performance in this game. A win for Wexford in this Allianz League game will make no difference to their League standings, as they cannot qualify for the Allianz League semi-final, nor will they be relegated.

But, preparations are truly underway for the championship opener in Salthill against Galway on April 22nd. With the Wexford injuries sustained, with other key players lacking game time, there will be a focus on doing the simple things right in this game – and just getting through it, as the bigger prize of the Leinster championship looms closer.

Wexford Weekly
Wexford Weekly

This article was published by a member of the Wexford Weekly team.

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