Monday 20 November 2017

Captain Conroy has no fear

Brendan Furlong

Eoin Conroy after the Leinster final
Eoin Conroy after the Leinster final

Wexford captain Eoin Conroy has said his colleagues have 'no fear' as they approach their All-Ireland Under-21 hurling final clash with Limerick.

Wexford will head into this tie as underdogs but corner-back Conroy feels the team has the right blend. They are determined and skilful, and can put last year's final defeat to Clare to bed.

'From that point of view there won't be any fear. While obviously you have to respect the opposition, and it's Limerick on this occasion, it's all about on the day, all about what happens over the 60 minutes. It's a game to be won on the day so we are determined that it's us on this occasion,' the Naomh Eanna defender said.

Outside observers have made Limerick favourites, but the Wexford insiders will not be fazed by that as they believe the purple and gold is at its best going into any given game as underdogs.

'Our guys are well capable of doing it so the tag of who is favourite is not a worry from our point of view. We are all in this together, the spirit in the camp is really high and everybody is looking forward to the final, it will be a massive occasion,' Conroy said.

'We are coming up against Limerick, so it's going to be a huge assignment against a formidable team, but still it's one that we are really looking forward to, having a right go and seeing where it takes us.

'We're going to give it everything. We have given it everything all year, so we are going to do what has been working for the team, working hard and playing as a team.

'We're right and ready and really looking forward to the game. Formidable opposition, an All-Ireland final, it a great one to be involved in,' Conroy added.

The Wexford captain has revealed that the training has been top notch. 'The competition for places is intense. We have played matches, full matches of 15 on 15, and they have been intense with no punches pulled. Everyone is wanting to make their way into the team, and if not the match day squad.

'We are aware of Limerick's potential and know all about them. They have taken big scalps in Munster and then Galway, but we came out of Leinster, beat Kilkenny in the final, so we will be sticking to the gameplan that has served us so well this year.'

Conroy is confident they can rise to the occasion. 'The start will be crucial. We will need to get a good start, bring a real intensity to our game from the very throw-in.

'That would give us good belief but we are also aware that it's going to take a bigger effort than we have produced all year. I know we can improve and give a performance.

'Going into the game we will be trying to impose our own style on the game especially in the first 15 minutes. Whatever Limerick bring we will have to match up to them and see where that will bring us.

'Against Kilkenny the workrate of the half-forward line was great. They closed down their opponents which made our life in the backs easier, as they prevented a supply of quality ball. That's something we will be trying to achieve again, stop their half-back line from setting up quality ball.'

Conroy feels the side has been very competitive through the campaign. 'I know our wide count against Antrim is a concern but we have been working on that, getting through to the players to take the right options and work the ball into better positions.

'But we will still take the Kilkenny game, just five wides and a big winning tally. That's what we will be seeking to repeat.

'We know what is needed and we will perform the best we can. We will give it everything to try to achieve a victory. It would be massive for Wexford hurling.'

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