Wexford v Derry, Saturday, 4.45pm, Wexford Park
Wexford and Derry meet in Round 1 of the qualifiers on Saturday at Wexford Park where a big Wexford support is expected as the game forms part of a double header as the counties hurlers are in action against Carlow. The football throws in at 4.45pm.
Looking at Wexford, manager Paul McLoughlin was dealt a massive blow at the start of the week with news that St Martin’s club man Barry O’Connor will have to sit out the game, as he has now signed a deal with the Sydney Swans, his contract states that if he reports to the Sydney Swans injured the contract would then be cancelled. So he is a massive loss. However, McLoughlin will be able to call on players like Michael Furlong, Conor Carty and the experienced Brian Malone in defence. Daithi Waters will likely partner Niall Hughes. Ben Brosnan and John Bealin will pose the scoring threat in attack. Wexford lost to Louth in the Leinster Championship by 5 points, a better performance than that will be required here.
Looking at Derry, they put it up to Tyrone in the Ulster Championship. Tyrone were just too good for them. Derry have some good players in their ranks, Brendan Rogers, Karl McKaigue and Chrissy McKaigue from the Slaughtneil club are in defence. Conor McAtamney is also a very good footballer. In the forwards, Shane McGuigan and Ryan Bell will look to come up with the scores.
They have played each other three times in the football qualifiers, Derry have won all three of these. They won in 2003 at Wexford Park 3-10 to 0-09, 2-16 to 2-05 at Parnell Park in 2004 and then the most recent championship meeting came in 2015 when the Oakleafers won by 1-16 to 0-10.
WEXFORD: Matt Doyle, Michael Furlong, Eoin Porter, Alan Nolan, Glen Malone, Brian Malone, Martin O’Connor, Daithi Waters, Niall Hughes, Eoghan Nolan, Ben Brosnan, Conor Devitt, Kevin O’Grady, Dave Shannon, John Bealin.
DERRY: Thomas Mallon; Karl McKaigue, Brendan Rogers, Niall Keenan; Jason Rocks, Chrissy McKaigue, Ruairi Mooney; Conor McAtamney, Ciaran McFaul; Emmett Bradley, Benny Heron, Padraig Cassidy; Shane McGuigan, Ryan Bell, Enda Lynn.
Derry are 1/4 favourites to win this game, while Wexford are 4/1. The draw is priced at 10/1. I think Derry will win this game. Think Wexford will cover the handicap though at +5.