Friday 24 November 2017

The simple fact is we were beaten by the better team

Championship Special

Tom Dempsey's Hurling Analysis

Tom Dempsey
Tom Dempsey

I have always been envious of the fact that other counties rather than Wexford have tasted the sense of occasion that only a big day in Croker can bring over the past decade and more.

That was to change on Sunday last however and my sense of excitement for the day ahead was something similar to a child waking up on Christmas morning. So, a bit like the D'unbelievables, we had the dinner at 8 to get a clear run at the day.

Wexford have the best supporters in the country and any doubt about this was well and truly put to bed last weekend. It is easy to see why both the media and G.A.A. love when Wexford mobilise, and the scene and atmosphere inside the ground created by the Slaneyside faithful just took my breath away.

Our support and passion is the envy of the country and something we should be very proud of. So, before I get into any deeper analysis, it's hats off to our purple and gold army ,Davy Fitz and his young charges for giving us such a great year, and I have no doubt there is more to come. I for one was as proud a yellow belly coming out of Croke Park as I was going in.

I met John and Catherine Murphy (Shaun's parents) in Avoca on the way up (more food), and it was clear at this early stage that despite the beautiful surroundings it wasn't a place the male sides of both partnerships wanted to be.

As an aside, I chatted before departure to Mark Fanning's mother Siobhán and couldn't help thinking that the tension of having a son in goal is not an easy station on a day like this. She need never worry as Glynn-Barntown is always proud of their young netminder and Sunday was no different.

We can analyse the game in many ways but the simple fact remains that on Sunday, particularly in the second-half, we were beaten by a better team on the day. Going into the game the Tribesmen had been the form team and let's not forget they had handed severe lessons to Tipperary, Dublin and Offaly over the past two months.

We were hugely competitive for long spells and had a couple of things went in our favour we could have been very close to at the death. Our intensity levels dipped a little coming into half-time, and this certainly had to do with how much the ferocious physical intensity brought by Galway had taken out of the team.

Galway's conditioning trainer is a man called Lukasz Kirzenstein who is certainly doing a good job. We were working the ball through the lines and this drains energy much more than the more direct approach taken by the opposition where they have an incredible ability to win long ball in the forward line.

The Cooneys were exerting a huge influence and at this point and just after half-time it was vital that we took any opportunities that came our way.

The breaking point came when Hawk-Eye went against us on a point (not happy with Dickie Murphy on this - hopefully he'll have it fixed for the next day), and then the penalty miss.

Momentum plus the incredible support may have kicked in if we had gotten the rub of the green but we will never know. Galway to their credit kicked on, dominated aerially and with some excellent scoretaking were well deserving of the title.

The sweeper system is the most discussed element in modern hurling and Shaun Murphy again did a good job. Shaun focused a lot of his energy behind the full-back line rather than in front and I could see the rationale.

Aidan Harte played less deep at the other end. I felt that we possibly could have went for broke in the last ten and pushed up. Overall though, Davy's system which gives freedom to our defenders to attack (three Wexford backs scored), has served us well so far, effectively delivering promotion and an All-Ireland quarter-final spot so I expect him to tweak but persevere.

Two games from an All-Ireland final, it's still all to play for.

Wexford People

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