Waterford bank on normal service resuming against Wexford

Déise must put Munster hurling final blow-out behind them to see off surging neighbours

Wexford’s  Lee Chin  who scored four points in his side’s clash with Cork two weeks ago. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Wexford’s Lee Chin who scored four points in his side’s clash with Cork two weeks ago. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

 

Like the final rounds of the football qualifiers, the GAA All-Ireland hurling quarter-finals pit teams that have won their most recent matches and those who coming off defeats.

Although it might be guessed the teams who had just won would do better, the track records between defeated provincial finalists and winners of the last qualifier round are split 50-50.

But recent experience does shape expectations. Waterford’s blow-out in the Munster final has left them looking far more vulnerable facing Wexford than anyone might have guessed after the early stages of the championships.

Excellent record

Damien Fitzhenry

Wexford are a “confidence” team with an at times unfathomable gap between their capabilities and potential on a good day. Against Cork, even Daniel Kearney’s late goal couldn’t prolong the 60 years since the county’s most recent championship win in the fixture.

It was primarily a triumph for the collective, their hard work and common purpose proving decisive.

Yet there were terrific contributions in the forwards. Lee Chin got four points from play, including the crucial riposte to the Cork goal; Conor McDonald was on his best form, as was Liam McGovern.

They’re well placed, but it’s impossible to believe that Waterford’s great strides over the past 18 months have been a mirage. The problem for the team wasn’t so much the system failure but a meltdown of individual form so profound it had to take its toll on the team.

From Pauric Mahony’s frees going unprecedentedly awry to Austin Gleeson’s tumble from hurler of the year contention in the previous two months and a wobbly Noel Connors, there were problems everywhere, but the team were still well in touch at the start of the second half. It was the second and third goals that finished them.

The view here is Waterford will recover sufficient composure to give a more recognisable account of themselves.

They will worry that in the league quarter-final it needed top-quality freetaking to scrape a one-point win, but defensively they can wrap up their opponents and with normal service resumed their talented forwards can do the rest. THE VERDICT Previously: Although neighbours ,the counties have met just three times in the championship, all of the meetings since the All-Ireland was restructured in 2002. Wexford lead 2-1 and the most recent of these encounters was the qualifier two years ago when Liam Dunne’s team followed up the famous win over All-Ireland champions Clare with a 3-15 to 2-15 win in Nowlan Park, which concluded Derek McGrath’s first year in charge of Waterford. You bet: Waterford are 1/5 with Wexford 9/2; the draw at 11/1. Just the ticket: Stand €30, terrace €20 and juveniles €5. Verdict: Waterford

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