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Dublin: 6 °C Tuesday 10 December, 2019

5 talking points before Dublin and Wexford meet in tonight's Leinster hurling semi-final

Throw-in at Wexford Park is 7pm with a place in the final on offer.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

1. Dublin back in action after long break

You have to go all the way back to March 30th for the last sight of the Dublin senior hurlers in a competitive outing. They were 4-13 to 1-17 victors that day as they broke their record of not succeeding on Deise soil and sent Waterford packing in the league relegation final.

They’ve had to sit back for the last ten weeks and try to prime themselves for this June 14th clash. It was a schedule they were always aware of with the bye to the last four being an additional prize bestowed upon the Leinster champions. How will Dublin deal with it? It’s going to be fascinating to see whether they are sluggish from the off or they explode from the blocks.

2. Wexford’s rising confidence

The league wasn’t a notable success for Wexford. They failed once more to get promotion out of Division 1B albeit they challenged pacesetters Cork and Limerick strongly before losing. Their victories over Antrim, Laois and Offaly confirmed that they are also in a greater position of strength to that trio in Leinster.

There’s a sense in Wexford that they are not far adrift of the chasing pack with 2013 memories still fresh of drawing with Dublin and forcing Clare to extra-time. They went about their business with minimal fuss against Antrim in their recent quarter-final with an early deluge of goals doing the trick. Their confidence is rising but can they match that by claiming a major scalp?

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

3. The changing complexion of Dublin’s attack

Dublin’s attack has undergone quite a makeover since last year’s draw at this venue. Only Ryan O’Dwyer and David O’Callaghan remain in the starting sextet. Allstar winner Danny Sutcliffe is out injured while Conal Keaney is back in his natural habitat at full-forward after occupying a centre-back sport last year.

The interest for Dublin lies in the new additions. Colm Cronin, a graduate from the 2011 and 2012 minor sides that reached All-Ireland finals, the mercurial talent of Alan McCrabbe and the ever improving Mark Schutte. Anthony Daly will hope they have enhanced his options up front.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

4.  Young prospects boost Wexford

Wexford have infused their team with youth in an effort to bolster their challenge. The county’s U21 side ousted Kilkenny in a hugely encouraging display recently in the Leinster quarter-final. Three players from that side – Liam Ryan, Conor McDonald and Jack Guiney – are named to start here.

Ryan has made the rapid progress from last year’s minor side and starts at corner-back. McDonald is a gifted attacker and took the Antrim backline for 2-2 last time out. While Guiney has now amassed plenty senior experience and his great goal rattled Dublin in last summer’s encounter.

5. Dublin aim to banish ‘constipated hurling’ demons

Plenty of the pre-match chat about this game surrounds last year’s tie in Wexford Park. Dublin dug themselves out of a hole that night to fashion a 1-17 apiece draw. They were indebted to the contributions of attacking subs Schutte and Eamon Dillon along with a superb showing by defender Michael Carton.

Their performance was patchy though and is largely defined by Ger Loughnane’s colourful ‘constipated hurling’ description on The Saturday Game on RTÉ television afterwards. Dublin will want to hit their stride early tonight and show they can excel from the start of the championship.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Ten years ago today Wexford’s last minute goal sealed a famous shock win over Kilkenny

Daly names strong team for Dublin’s trip to Wexford

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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