Ger Cunningham hoping to build on Dubs momentum
Both Dublin and Wexford are desperate to disprove theory of two-horse Leinster race
Dublin manager Ger Cunningham will hope to lead his side past Wexford at Croke Park. Photo: Inpho
Saturday, May 21st, Croke Park
Remember when the Dublin hurlers were the toast of the city? It doesn’t seem that long ago. Little wonder that Ger Cunningham spoke of his team “crying out for recognition” in a county which has a football team that cannot stop winning.
A victory here won’t change that but if the hurlers can survive to the latter end of the championship, they can surely ride the huge wave of GAA enthusiasm sweeping the capital.
Both of these teams are desperate to disprove the prevailing notion that the Leinster championship is a two-horse race. Wexford had a disappointing regular league season in that they lost the two teams they would have targeted, Limerick and Clare. But their performance against reigning champions Waterford in the quarter-final is the one Cunningham will use as a barometer. Dunne’s team went toe-to-toe in a game that was level six times; they were fiery and created a goal when needed from Conor McDonald.
They left the field at half time with a one-point lead and a standing ovation, tapping into the kind of attitude with which they stormed through the summer 2014. If the team hasn’t delivered on that promise, it hasn’t gone away either.
Jack O’Connor has his debut at left half back while David Dunne has a start at corner forward. Ian Byrne is on the Wexford bench after recovering from a calf injury. Lee Chin has not been named.
The big problem for Wexford is that this match is not in Wexford Park. The visitors lost a recent challenge game against Cork while the Dubs beat Tipperary in a useful confidence-building exercise after a league quarter-final collapse against Limerick.
The return of Ryan O’Dwyer will add zest and heft to the forward line as Cunningham tries to build a consistent run of form. Wexford are going to make their recent provincial dominance at U-21 count but Dublin have a reserve of experience and talent to progress.