Wednesday 17 January 2018

Footballers should return to expansive style for qualifier tie

Brendan Furlong's Hop Ball

Brendan Furlong
Brendan Furlong

Wexford football hit rock bottom in the provincial quarter-final defeat to Kildare, so one will be expecting a positive vibe when they return to championship action and their opening round qualifier ame against Fermanagh this Saturday at Innovate Wexford Park (5 p.m.).

Wexford manager David Power must have been scrambling for positives following the Kildare game. Although they lost by just one point, it was the negativity of both sides which even left Ulster football some way behind. That was the most galling feature of that Saturday evening in Croke Park.

Having looked at much-maligned Tyrone and Cavan on Sunday afternoon where a positive game of attacking football in an excellent 70 minutes was served up despite horrendous conditions, one will be hoping that Wexford at least take a leaf from their book and return to what they play best.

That is an attacking, open style of football, which still can contain a rigid defensive set-up, but please don't hit rock bottom again with up to twelve players behind the ball.

One is not willing to play the blame game but Wexford were naive in their approach to a Kildare side which was one of the weakest to emerge from the county for some seasons.

They would have to admit they put far too much emphasis on the Lilywhites, treating them as if they were a major footballing force, when Wexford's own brand of direct play would have brought them a positive result on the evening.

Wexford must now seize the initiative and take the game to Fermanagh, as only a victory will suffice to restore confidence in football in the county. The Wexford manager must take serious consideration to freshening up his approach to the game and allow the players to express themselves, as they have the skill and ability to cope with a side like Fermanagh, especially on home soil.

It was disappointing to see Wexford football bring such negativity to the table. Let's hope they received a reality check. Wexford's defensive approach which saw them end with just eight points against Kildare, yet losing by only one point, explains the end result of their approach on that occasion.

Wexford possess lethal attackers, players who are capable of kicking points from both play and frees, yet many of these players simply lacked confidence to kick for their score from play even from very scoreable positions. Meanwhile, the free-taking was also erratic, so much so that they kicked a free opportunity wide which would have brought the game to a replay.

The damage was done in that game. Let's hope the intervening weeks have been used to bring a more positive approach back to Wexford football. A repeat display will only bring one result.

It was clear in the aftermath of the Kildare game that Wexford needed to revisit their gameplan if they are to have any chance of advancing through the qualifiers.

It's a huge week for Wexford football, with the county's Junior side playing Louth in the provincial final in Drogheda this evening (Tuesday). This is a young side which produced a fine brand of attacking football in dismissing Longford in the provincial semi-final.

They are coming up against a Louth side which looked hugely impressive in disposing of Kildare. Let's hope they can get the week off on a positive note for Wexford football.

It was quite a huge weekend for under-age hurling in the county. Congratulations to Faythe Harriers on winning the All-Ireland Premier Féile title in Cashel on Sunday morning, defeating a renowned club, Glen Rovers (Cork), in the final.

The Wexford town side bring back a title last won in the county by Oulart-The Ballagh way back in 2001. Let's hope this brings a huge boost to hurling in the Faythe Harriers club and the capital town.

Congratulations also to the Wexford Under-17 hurlers who won their finals in the Celtic Challenge in Nowlan Park, Kilkenny, on Saturday. This under-age success augurs well for under-age hurling in the county, coinciding with the input from the county's coaching staff who did remarkable work with the Celtic Challenge teams. Also a special mention of Martin Lynch whose contribution to the sides was massive throughout the entire tournament.

Finally, I end on a sad note in offering condolences to Martin on the sudden passing of his sister on Friday morning. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam.

Wexford People

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