Wexford far better served taking the qualifiers journey
Billy Dodd's football analysis
Published 16/06/2015 | 00:00
With 10 minutes to go in last Sunday's game, Wexford looked to be on the verge of a rare and famous victory in Cusack Park, Mullingar.
The side with four young debutants had battled heroically to lead Westmeath by two points, playing some great football along the way.
However, a crucial mistake changed the course of the game as Westmeath scored a goal after an easy turnover of possession.
The score had a major affect on both teams as it demoralised Wexford while it transformed the confidence of the Westmeath players.
From that score onwards they proceeded to kick points from all angles as all of their players wanted to have a shot at the posts.
The nine-point winning margin was a bit flattering to the home side and certainly was not what Wexford deserved.
Despite the defeat I have not heard such positivity from Wexford supporters in a long time.
They appreciated the effort put in by the players and the style of play they executed.
We have all heard about the players that have retired but it is time to move on now and the team on Sunday has certainly shown some promise.
None of the debutants looked out of place, especially Syl Byrne and Naomhan Rossiter.
Colm Kehoe was outstanding but his loss to a black card offence was a major turning point in the game.
The experienced players also did their bit as Adrian Flynn had his best game in a Wexford jersey for a while, Ciarán Lyng was in superb form and Brian Malone again proved himself as one of the most consistent inter-county players Wexford has ever had.
He is an outstanding player and an example to other players with his commitment, skill and never-say-die attitude.
To be quite honest, the qualifier system is probably a better route for this emerging team at this stage.
Everybody knows that Dublin are going to win Leinster and whoever they play in the final will be on the receiving end of a fair old beating.
Wexford now have a home draw against Down. This is a novel pairing and Down will bring a large travelling support to Innovate Wexford Park for the tie.
The match is the same weekend as the Féile festival of football so there should be a great interest in the game which will hopefully develope into bums on seats.
It will be a great opportunity to promote Wexford footballers and for the home crowd to see the effort these guys put in on match day.
It's far better than an away match in Croke Park against Meath with little support on the day.
On the national scene all eyes were on Donegal, Mayo and Kerry in their respective provincial championships.
The pick of the performances was the Donegal defeat of Armagh. Their first-half display was as good as you would see anywhere.
Fast attacking football, extremely disciplined tackling and players like Karl Lacey and Michael Murphy pulling the strings.
It's a long time since the word 'enjoyable' was associated with watching Donegal play but Rory Gallagher has added something new to their armoury which has improved the team this year.
Kerry and Mayo did what they had to do also and their performances will have been closely watched by Jim Gavin and the Dublin management team.
It's still early in the year but judging by Sunday's performances the Sam Maguire may not be destined to return to the capital despite what the bookmakers are forecasting.
Whatever happens hopefully we will have more games that are as entertaining as last weekend's.