Shore and Doran out
Pressure mounts on Dunne ahead of Waterford clash
Both Andrew Shore and Podge Doran have been ruled out of Wexford's Allianz Hurling League quarter-final against Waterford in Innovate Wexford Park next Sunday (3.30pm).
A hamstring injury will leave Shore, a defender turned attacker in recent games, on the sideline, as Liam Dunne puts his managerial career on the line in what many believe is a must-win game for his side.
This comes after a demoralising league campaign to date, with only victories over Kerry and Laois to show for the team's efforts.
The pressure is further increased on Dunne with the news that Podge Doran will also be unable to take his place in attack, having suffered a broken finger, an injury that will keep him sidelined for a number of weeks. Also out of contention long term with a shoulder injury, that necessitated recent surgery, is Oulart-The Ballagh's Shaun Murphy.
On a positive note, both James Breen and Paul Morris have recovered from injuries and will be available for selection.
With many still believing that the best has yet to come from this developing young Waterford side, one can expect a serious challenge from Derek McGrath's charges, who will be determined to keep alive their hope of retaining the league title, which they look upon as ideal preparation for their expected championship surge.
With Dunne very much in the firing line following a poor performance against Laois, he is looking to the game against our neighbours as a possible turning point in his season. It resulted in a difficult week for Wexford hurling, with Dunne's own position now very much under scrutiny on home soil.
For Wexford it will take smart, efficient, direct hurling to fashion a result from this game, so the structure the management team puts in place will be crucial to the eventual outcome.
All winter Wexford have waited for a big game. The January competition provided a temporary fix, but once the real stuff began Wexford were found wanting. Wexford need a big game or it could be the last throw of the dice for many in the current set-up.
Wexford's need is greatest but the question is: 'can they deliver a big performance?' Only Sunday can tell.
Meanwhile, what was feared for Wexford football has come to pass - a third placing in their group and failure to win promotion from Division 4.
As a result, Sunday's final league outing against Carlow as a curtain-raiser to the hurling is now a meaningless game, but it will give manager David Power an opportunity to experiment with his extended squad.
Defeat to Louth was disappointing, but it would be a confidence boost going into the championship to end the league campaign on a positive note.