Under-21s aim to pick up pieces
Fear of losing will hopefully drive Wexford on to a second victory when they make the long journey to O'Connor Park, Tullamore, this Wednesday for their Bord Gais Energy Leinster Under-21 hurling championship semi-final clash with Offaly (7.30pm), writes Brendan Furlong.
Just 24 hours after their Senior exploits, Wexford manager J.J. Doyle reported that all three players, Liam Ryan, Conor McDonald and Kevin Foley, are available for selection which will be a considerable boost to the team.
Now Doyle will be determined that his side pick up the pieces to get Wexford hurling back on a winning road following the Seniors' debacle in Kilkenny.
Despite the opening round victory over Kildare, Doyle is not looking beyond Offaly, as reports of their commitment and passion have not gone unnoticed in the Wexford camp.
There's no doubt that the drive usually associated with Wexford hurling will be brought to the Offaly surface, as they have as team manager Ciarán McDonald, a native of Crossabeg-Ballymurn, who has brought a real commitment to his squad as evidenced in their earlier victory over Westmeath.
This is an important game for Wexford as they continue their bid to win three provincial titles in a row, but the challenge is not being lost on Doyle.
'It's a great opportunity for the lads to get back with a good performance, while it is also an opportunity for many players to put themselves in the shop window for the Cork qualifier game.
'If we get a performance from the team we are not going to lose. That is in no way under-estimating Offaly but if we match them with desire and workrate we will win, but we know what to expect from them.
'Offaly have put in one hundred per cent effort in preparation for this game. They will be up for the fight under Ciarán McDonald as they will also want to put some hurling pride back in the county following the Senior loss to Laois.
'Having the game against Kildare was a real plus as it provided us with a very good run-out. We gave Kildare the respect they deserved as our lads seemed to have learned from under-estimating teams in the past. This will be a difficult game but a performance should we reach it should see us through.'
Wexford announced their team following training last night (Monday).