Sunday 21 January 2018

Frustrating weekend for Wexford football


Brendan Furlong

Brendan Furlong
Brendan Furlong

Just how does one account for a weekend that was such a source of frustration for Wexford football.

Wexford's style of play brought so much frustration over successive days, the dreadful exhibition of both Kildare and the Model county in their provincial senior quarter-final in Croke Park on Saturday evening, followed by the minor footballers exit to Offaly at a similar stage of the championship in O'Connor Park, Tullamore, on Sunday afternoon.

I think it was about as frustrating as it could get particularly as Wexford were afforded a real opportunity against a mediocre Kildare outfit, one of the weakest footballing sides to emerge from the county for some years, but as the Lilywhites were tripping up with a poor second half, Wexford were incapable of taking advantage.

Upon reflection, this was a game that I felt Wexford believed they were not capable of winning, thus their defensive set-up, which was totally alien to football in the county. Both counties set up defensive structures, which one also felt was alien to Kildare's game, but no doubt coming as a result of their championship drubbing last year.

What was taking place on the hallowed turf of Croke Park was boring, more like a game of basketball with continuous hand passing, packed defences, with no quality football emerging from either side. Wexford possessed lethal forwards in Ciaran Lyng, P. J. Banville, Kevin O'Grady, Donal Shanley and Ben Brosnan, but the game plan was totally contrary to their style of attacking football and ability to kick scores.

Upon reflection, the defensive work which they were deployed to carry out with the exception of Lyng who soldiered alone up front with limited help from Shanley, it was blatant evidence that the Wexford management had not the confidence to take on Kildare with their man to man attacking football.

So, as much as one will say Wexford lost by just a single point, the lingering post-match comments of supporters was 'yet another foul-up by team management' as this was a game with their own pattern of attacking football deployed was there for the winning.

On to O'Connor Park on Sunday afternoon. While the same defensive strategy was not in place, Wexford's formed a system of football that was played out in the middle third of the pitch, over-elaborate hand passing little or no direct football.

Their one and only direct move on goal came within thirty seconds of the restart that produced an excellent, but thereafter they returned to their shell, a hand passing and short game system that was never going to produce a positive result.

Right now Wexford football is in a delicate position. What was served up in Croke Park was boring, uninteresting.

One simply would not pay to watch such poor quality after months of preparation - at what cost to the county's coffers?

Wexford People

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