Mac the main worry

Crunch weekend tests for both hurlers and footballers

Brendan Furlong

Conor McDonald has been a thorn in Limerick's side in the past at Under-21 and Senior levels, but he remains a doubtful starter for Sunday's crunch tie in Innovate Wexford Park
Conor McDonald has been a thorn in Limerick's side in the past at Under-21 and Senior levels, but he remains a doubtful starter for Sunday's crunch tie in Innovate Wexford Park

It's a huge weekend for Wexford hurling and football as both sides face intense challenges in their respective Allianz League games.

The Senior hurlers open their campaign in Division 1B when they come up against one of the teams favoured for promotion, Limerick, at Innovate Wexford Park, while the footballers will be seeking to maintain their one hundred per cent record when travelling to play Leitrim in Carrick-on-Shannon.

Both managers, Davy Fitzgerald (hurling) and Seamus McEnaney (football), await fitness reports to a key player before they decide on their formation for the tests that lie ahead.

Fitzgerald will wait as long as possible to see if star attacker Conor McDonald will be available. The Naomh Eanna clubman was forced to sit out the Walsh Cup semi-final defeat to Limerick with a blood infection which arose following the Dublin game.

Should McDonald be available, Fitzgerald will be picking from a full-strength squad, with only the long-term injured players unable to tog out.

Wexford head into this game in a positive frame of mind following a pleasing Walsh Cup campaign. Having seen much experimentation through the competition, Fitzgerald still must be close to knowing what his starting 15 will be, having organised a number of challenge games in the intervening period.

While there's much speculation as to McDonald's fitness, Rathnure's Jack Guiney is back in full training following a hamstring strain, having also figured with his colleges side in the Walsh Cup. His return will certainly boost the attack.

Wexford and Limerick have had some interesting games over recent seasons both at under-age and Senior levels, but Wexford under the expertise of Fitzgerald will offer a whole new challenge on this occasion.

With Liam Ryan, Matthew O'Hanlon and Diarmuid O'Keeffe excelling in defence, they will be expected to curtail the free-flowing Limerick attack, but it's in attack that Wexford will be determined to lay down a marker, particularly with Lee Chin, Paul Morris and Barry Carton showing some fine form.

Meanwhile, Wexford Senior footballers look likely to be without attacker Ben Brosnan for a second successive game. Brosnan was forced to pull out of his side's victory over Limerick with a hamstring strain received in the challenge against Cork, an injury that is likely to keep him on the bench for at least one more game.

Wexford travel to take on a Leitrim side buoyant following their comfortable opening game victory over Wicklow down in Aughrim. Despite having introduced seven players new to the National League, they still looked quite an impressive outfit.

Wexford were quite pleased with their victory over Limerick, one of the sides likely to figure in the promotion race. The manner in which the Slaneysiders disposed of that challenge suggests that the management and players have promotion in their sights.

Wexford People