Minors aiming for winning start to day
Few would have predicted that the Wexford Minor footballers would be facing into a provincial quarter-final following their dismal opening round defeat to Offaly.
But after bouncing back with a four-point victory over Wicklow, they have succeeded in setting up a clash with neighbours Carlow at Netwatch Cullen Park on Sunday (1 p.m.).
The transformation of this Wexford side suggests they have a realistic chance of securing a semi-final spot, which would be a major achievement given the problems the group encountered in its preparations over the past number of months.
Wexford's championship looked to have ended at the interval against the Garden county side, trailing by five points at the break, and having to turn around to play into the wind.
However, their battling qualities were clear as they bounced right back to dominate the second-half, eventually emerging with a hugely impressive victory.
Wexford managed in that second-half to outline there is real potential in the side. Their football showed immense improvement, while their movement both on and off the ball helped them bring an authority to their play that had been missing during a dismal opening 30 minutes.
Wexford face a Carlow side which has also shown rapid improvement and will be very difficult to overcome on their own ground. While to an extent they are somewhat of an unknown quantity, one can expect a serious challenge.
They will be hugely confident on fashioning a result against their neighbours, bringing them into a semi-final which would also be a huge boost for under-age football in the county.
To achieve victory, Wexford manager John Nolan and his backroom will be paying particular attention to the defence which showed real frailities in both of their games to date, particularly in the concession of goals.
Still that improvement was seen to come in the second-half against Wicklow when they tightened their grip considerably on the game, with Ben Maddock and Eoin Porter marshalling the centre of defence.
This game could be won or lost in the outcome of the midfield duel where Wexford's David Gouldson and Brian Deeny are pivotal figures for their side.
Both were particularly impressive in that second-half comeback against Wicklow, and a repeat of that display would go a long way towards inspiring a victory effort.
In attack Jamie Myler, Sam Wall, team captain Mick Molloy and Jamie Thomas carry the main scoring threat, while Diarmuid Kehoe looked impressive as a second-half substitute against Wicklow.
The manner in which Wexford recovered against Wicklow suggests they still have the scope to bring enough improvement to achieve a semi-final spot.