Our chances are 40/60 but Deise men are beatable

Tom Dempsey's Hurling Analysis

Tom Dempsey
Tom Dempsey

Part of the great enjoyment I get from following the Wexford team is meeting rivals of yesteryear at games and invariably the chat goes back to our playing days in the '80s and '90s.

Needless to say, when it comes to characters from that era Wexford were well up there but I was chatting to a player from the midlands a couple of weeks ago and he recounted some great stories.

One entailed a brilliant hurler who decided to celebrate a first round victory by going to the local pub that night and remaining there for two days after.

The manager called an emergency team meeting on the Wednesday night and berated the players for the indiscretion, outlining that any group of players with aspirations of a Leinster title shouldn't be drinking and talking bull in pubs and had no place in this panel.

The player concerned, in a very hurt tone, addressed the manager by saying 'I hope you're not referring to me', to which the manager replied: 'if the cap fits wear it'.

There was an awkward silence in the room before the player proudly announced, 'well, I wasn't talking bull', to which there was a roar of laughter.

Not a defence that would be accepted nowadays but he got away with it. How times have changed.

With regard to Sunday I really feel that the choice of venue has been ill-advised.

The best setting for both quarters is Croke Park but as we all know U2 are taking precedence here which is an argument for another day.

I have no doubt that despite the logistics the Slaney faithful will travel in their thousands and we will have an occasion to savour. Our chances are probably 40/60 given that Waterford's developmental stage is a little ahead at this point.

However, the bookies are well off the mark with 3/1 odds and with a few breaks going our way and a little momentum I feel we have a chance, with Waterford's tendency to fade out of games for periods being a serious Achilles heel.

This was graphically demonstrated in the closing stages of the Kilkenny game where they were almost caught in a contest they dominated.

The Deise have undoubted talent all over the field, with our ability to curtail the trio of Gleeson, De Búrca and Jamie Barron being paramount to our chances.

The old heads of 'Brick' and Kevin Moran along with the bench which included Patrick Curran and Maurice Shanahan shows a serious strength in depth.

Yet with all the pluses they have shown a capacity to not perform at times as in the Cork game this year and the Munster final last year.

The role of sweeper (whether we like the concept or not) will play a huge part in the outcome. Both counties have two outstanding talents manning the role in our own Shaun and Tadgh De Búrca.

Waterford have shown the ability to push forward and abandon the tactic successfully, whereas we afford our wing men the opportunity to attack and it will be fascinating to see how it plays out.

Don't be surprised to see Waterford mix and match from the beginning, going 15 on 15. Kilkenny employed a man marker on Gleeson and it's quite possible that Matthew O'Hanlon will get the role after an excellent outing on Joe Canning.

A great Cork friend of mine who has shown an uncanny predicting ability sees Clare and Tipp going to extra-time with Waterford squeezing through by four or five.

Tipp for me won't need extra-time and I can see the merit in his second call.

However, Wexford as a county can be hard to stop when they gather momentum.

If we can put periods of supremacy on the board by maximising our scoring opportunities, we have the ability within our ranks to make this an uncomfortable afternoon by the Lee for the blah men.

We are all behind you lads. Up Wexford.

Wexford People

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