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Joe Dooley Column: Wexford need to improve to have any chance against Clare

Updated: Saturday, 13 Jul 2013 16:48 | Comments

Clare only managed four points in the second half of their loss to Cork
Clare only managed four points in the second half of their loss to Cork

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Clare v Wexford, Semple Stadium, 5pm

By Joe Dooley

It is very hard to assess the true form of either Wexford or Clare ahead of their clash in Thurles tomorrow (throw-in 5pm).

The Model County should have beaten Dublin at home in the drawn game and since then things have been up and down.

They will take encouragement from Dublin’s victories over Kilkenny and Galway as will all other teams left in the Championship race.

A poor performance in the replay with Dublin was followed by a decent game against Antrim but they were very lucky to get over a game Carlow side.

Based simply on these results you would expect that unless a big improvement is made their time left in the Championship will not be long.

They have a physically strong team particularly their backline.

The return of Keith Rossiter, Eoin Quigley and the previously-suspended Andrew Shore gives the team a much more formidable look.

Jack Guiney is supplying most of the scores up front, mainly from placed balls with Rory Jacob being his most consistent support.

They will need to get more out of players like Paul Morris, Eoin Quigley and Garret Sinnott and play a more disciplined game at the back if they are to trouble Clare.

The victory of their Under 21 team in beating Kilkenny after extra time to win the Leinster Championship this week is a massive lift for Wexford hurling and a timely boost for the senior team.

Clare had a decent win over Waterford in the first round only to follow that up with a comprehensive defeat to Cork where they only managed to score four points in the second half.

Cork did produce a great display on the day, it must be said.

They bounced back and had a big win over Laois last weekend in Ennis scoring 1-32 and a record 15 players getting on the score sheet.

"Unless a big improvement is made Wexford's time in the Championship will not be long"

This statistic tells a lot about the style of game they play with five of the six defenders scoring from play.

They have excellent forwards in Conor McGrath, Colin Ryan, Tony Kelly and the hard-working John Conlan who are all very fast and accurate and if given space will punish any team.

Darach Honan is playing very well this year and is their main goal scoring threat, Clare will hope that the Clonlara man is fully fit.

They also have an excellent half-back line with Brendan Bugler, Pat Donnellan and Pat o Connor all hurling well.

Going on form this game should produce a comfortable win for Clare but every so often Wexford produce a big Championship performance.

Liam Dunne has put a lot of work into preparing them and with the return of some key players they look strong and could cause a surprise.

However, Davy Fitzgerald should have his team on their guard and if they get their running game going and get ahead early on you would expect Clare to win with a few points to spare.

Verdict: Clare

Live radio coverage of all the day’s football and hurling action featuring Waterford v Kilkenny on Saturday 13 July from 15:00 on RTÉ Radio 1, RTÉ RnaG and RTÉ.ie (Worldwide).

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