Tuesday 20 August 2019

Doyle wants more

Improvements needed for Limerick

JJ Doyle is congratulated by his Antrim counterpart, Kevin Ryan, after Saturday's comfortable victory in Thurles
JJ Doyle is congratulated by his Antrim counterpart, Kevin Ryan, after Saturday's comfortable victory in Thurles

Brendan Furlong

As Wexford manager J.J. Doyle reflected on his side's victory over Antrim it was easy to sense an air of relief surrounding him, as there was no repeat of the happenings of two years ago when they were shocked by the Glensmen.

And while he was relieved with the victory, he also felt that huge improvement is needed ahead of the final in a little over two weeks' time, when their opponents will be Munster champions, Limerick, a side which continues to impress with victories over Tipperary and Clare before Saturday's semi-final win over Galway.

But when it comes down to it, Wexford are in the final for a second successive year, which is what they set out to achieve. They realise improvement is necessary but against Antrim it was always going to be a difficult situation, given the lack of atmosphere and Wexford's control. Still, the rattling off of almost 20 wides during the course of the 60 minutes will be a concern.

Antrim did their utmost to stifle Wexford, playing their two wing-forwards back in front of the half-back line, but despite this they were unable to curtail Wexford's outfield dominance.

The fact that there was only five points between the sides at half-time was ultimately down to Wexford's wayward shooting after 13 wides, rather than any quality provided by their opponents.

But following the game Wexford manager Doyle demanded huge improvement from his side for the final showdown with Limerick.

While the Model county finished with twelve points to spare, Doyle was not happy with many aspects of his side's play.

He was, however, pleased that his side set the record straight following their surprise semi-final defeat at the hands of the Saffrons two years ago.

'I suppose people were telling us two years ago how much we were going to win by and we didn't manage to get it home on the day,' he said.

'I think we learned lessons from it, we knew Antrim would probably set up a bit defensively, we probably didn't think it was going to be that defensive. It's very hard to break them down.

'And even at that we made some silly mistakes. Some of our shooting just wasn't on, too many wides, too many balls dropping into their spare men. But I think we pushed up a little further in the second-half. We cut out their spare men and started using the ball a little better.

'We got the scores and semi-finals are all about getting into the final and that's what we have done. Obviously we have to play better the next day to have any chance of competing,' he added.

Given the nature of the game it was difficult to step up the gears. What followed in the second semi-final demonstrated that as there was an electric atmosphere as both Limerick and Galway set a frenetic pace from the throw-in.

And when some wonderful points were added by both sides, it made the preceding game look more like an undercard.

For Wexford it was probably about getting a result, but the second game opened up eyes, setting a standard and outlining the daunting task facing the Model county in the final.

That's for another day but as we all realise, it's in adversity that Wexford are most dangerous.

Wexford People

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