By Micil Glennon
Louth v Wexford, Gaelic Grounds, Drogheda, Sunday, 3.30pm
In a summer of few surprises so far, Louth’s ten-point win away to Laois in the opening round was a shock.
Justin McNulty’s side ran Dublin close in an All-Ireland quarter-final last year but totally capitulated to the Wee County in Portlaoise two weeks ago.
But credit must go to Louth, who executed their game-plan to perfection to progress.
Their prize is a home quarter-final against the Model County, tickets for which are already sold out.
Despite a recent poor record in Drogheda (Wexford won a league game there in March), Shane Lennon believes it is still an advantage to play on home soil.
He told the Argus: “None of us have played championship games there but we've played a few Qualifiers and we're well used to it from underage, minor, U21 and national league, so we know the place like the back of our hand and it has to be an advantage to us.”
Wexford were relegated from Division 2, losing to Derry, Westmeath, Galway and Laois in the process.
Manager Aidan O’Brien has named dual player Lee Chin, 21, to start at half-back despite the fact that he will also start for the hurlers against Dublin on Saturday night - it’s a rare but welcome sight.
O’Brien, in his first year in charge, is aware of the challenge that awaits:
“It's a big task going into their ground. They have had a game, defeating Laois impressively in Portlaoise, so home supporters will be anticipating big things from their players, which will bring its own pressures.
"That is the life of the Championship, for the Championship carries a life of its own,” he said in the Wexford People.
A place in the semi-final against either Wicklow or Meath awaits the winner and Louth’s momentum may sway the result.
Louth: N Gallagher, P Rath, D Finnegan, J Bingham, J O’Brien, D Crilly, A Reid, P Keenan, B donnelly, A McDonnell, B White, C Rafferty, C Byrne, S Lennon, D Maguire.
Wexford: A Masterson, M Furlong, G Molloy, L Chin, B Malone, D Murphy, A Flynn, D Waters, R Quinlivan, J Holmes, B Brosnan, A Doyle, C Lyng, R Barry, PJ Banville.
Highlights and analysis of all the weekend’s action on The Sunday Game from 21:30 on Sunday 9 June on RTÉ Two and RTÉ.ie (Ireland only).