By James McMahon
Dublin v Wexford, Parnell Park, Saturday 7pm
And so Dublin and Wexford must do it again to decide who meets Kilkenny in the provincial semi-final. Both counties would have taken note of Offaly’s performance against the Cats last Sunday, but closer examination should lie at their own door.
The quality on offer in the drawn match was quite poor, aside from the final few minutes. Wexford will feel that they should have put the game to bed, while Anthony Daly stated that an extra match would benefit both sides.
Progression in any competitive sphere is important and should have its rewards. The winners on Saturday evening, as I have already mentioned, face the All-Ireland champions in the last four. They will be underdogs for that clash and if defeat is their lot, the prospect of a qualifier date with Tipperary, Cork or Clare looms large.
The loser, on the other hand, will face Antrim at home in the back door. A winnable match you would have to say. After that they would host Carlow; a hurdle they should also overcome.
An obvious conclusion to be drawn is that Dublin or Wexford would probably benefit from not meeting Kilkenny. That only serves to underline the unfairness in the structure of the hurling qualifiers and the authorities should take note.
Another issue that leaves many GAA fans in a state of vexation is the naming of dummy teams. Wexford made six changes to the team that was originally announced last weekend. Why bother buying a programme then?
Liam Dunne’s starting XV for Saturday evening sees Lee Chin, who impressed when introduced at Wexford Park, named at midfield. Paul Morris comes in at No 13, with Ciaran O’Shaughnessy and Podge Doran making way.
Dublin are boosted by the return of Stephen Hiney in the half-back line, while Paul Ryan replaces David O’Callaghan at corner forward.
The view is that Dublin have more room for improvement and if they reach the heights of 2011 then they should have enough to prevail.
Dublin: Gary Maguire; Niall Corcoran, Peter Kelly, Paul Schutte; Stephen Hiney, Liam Rushe, Michael Carton; John McCaffrey, Joseph Boland; Conal Keaney, Ryan O'Dwyer, Danny Sutcliffe; Paul Ryan, David Treacy, Conor McCormack.
Wexford: Mark Fanning; Eoin Moore, Tomas Waters, Keith Rossiter; Richie Kehoe, Andrew Shore, Ciaran Kenny; Harry Kehoe, Lee Chin; Garrett Sinnott, Eoin Quigley, David Redmond; Paul Morris, Jack Guiney, Rory Jacob.
Highlights and analysis of all the weekend’s action on The Sunday Game from 22:00 on Sunday 16 June on RTÉ Two and RTÉ.ie (Ireland only).