Monday 22 January 2018

Fate has dealt our Senior hurling side a very cruel hand

Brendan Furlong's Hop Ball

Brendan Furlong
Brendan Furlong

The recent spate of injuries affecting the Wexford Senior hurling camp shows no sign of abating.

Such is the extent of the injuries that it has now become a serious problem in the lead up to Wexford's Leinster Senior hurling quarter-final game with Dublin in Croke Park this Saturday evening.

The news that corner-back James Breen became the latest casualty during last Sunday morning's training session at the Centre of Excellence in Ferns, pulling up with a hamstring tear that rules him out of the game, must have left manager Liam Dunne searching for explanations.

As of now it appears that he will be without up to six first choices for this championship opener.

And you can be absolutely sure that Ger Cunningham and his Dublin team will be relishing the opportunity to put the boot into Wexford's depleted forces, as they will be feeling absolutely no sympathy for their plight right now.

Luck is not shining on Liam Dunne at the moment, as his championship ambitions have taken a severe jolt, being derailed by an unprecedented spate of injuries. No county, let alone Wexford, could cope with such a situation.

Injuries are now becoming a critical part of the G.A.A. scene. A study carried out in 2013 revealed the extent of G.A.A. injuries. The study of 2,500 inter-county players found that two out of every three on a team will get injured in one season.

The research, carried out by the G.A.A. and University College Dublin, also found that a third of players will have multiple injuries, while a quarter of injuries will be a recurrence of an old complaint.

The research found that lower limb injuries were the most common among players, followed by upper limb injuries. Only a small number of injuries have been to the head with less than one per cent of injuries being diagnosed as concussion, but the G.A.A. has said it is very much aware of the seriousness of concussion.

As the list of injuries continued to surface it has been a frustrating period for Liam Dunne as he, along with the players, had their sights firmly focused on Saturday evening's game with Dublin since they began their preparations earlier this year.

Given the hand that they now have been served, their fate is in their own hands, but they will be asking what did they do wrong to deserve this latest setback, a tale of injuries that has dismantled their squad.

But right now the management and players must turn their focus to Dublin, put the injuries behind them, agonising as it is, and prepare knowing that it is now going to take a super effort for Wexford to get a result.

But it's in adversity that Wexford are most dangerous. Wexford will still go in determined to achieve a result.

It will be a landmark day for many players who will be handed their Senior hurling championship debuts. Now they will be asked to bring three Under-21 provincial final victories to the forefront and inspire what many will deem a depleted Wexford side to an all-out effort to derail the highly-fancied Dublin side.

Wexford football manager David Power will be hoping to set the evening rocking in Croke Park with an opening championship quarter-final victory over Kildare.

While the hurling difficulties have been well documented, deep down one expects huge effort from the county's footballers, who under Power will be well prepared and organised to deal with whatever challenge Dublin throw at them.

It all amounts to a game that demands everything from Wexford if they are to achieve a victory.

For all their difficulties in failing to gain promotion from Division 4, Wexford are still capable of having a decent championship run.

In what is a hectic weekend on the inter-county scene, let's not forget the county's Minor footballers who, under manager Kevin Kehoe, look capable of taking the scalp of Offaly in their provincial quarter-final at O'Connor Park, Tullamore, on Sunday.

Finally, congratulations to Wexford's Minor hurlers under manager Eamonn Scallan, who by defeating Offaly in Tullamore on Saturday afternoon have set up a repeat clash with Dublin in the provincial final.

This is certainly a huge step forward for Wexford hurling, coming on the back of three successive provincial Under-21 hurling titles.

Wexford People

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