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Unlike the football Championship, there is a second chance for teams in the Hurling Championship through qualifiers. Having both lost their opening games, Clare and Wexford find themselves in round 2 of these qualifiers but a win here will see them in a quarter-final.
Firstly, Clare lost in Munster to a strong Limerick side. Then, they saw of a competitive Laois in their first qualifier.
On the other hand, Wexford had their first outing against Galway on Halloween night. That was a horror show for Davy Fitzgerald’s side who were well beaten by a rejuvenated Galway team. Now, last year’s Leinster Champions are in a fight to stay in the competition.
Tony Kelly was on fire for Clare last weekend. He hit 0-13 as the Banner county progressed past Laois. Clare were very much on top in the first half. Despite losing David McInerney to a red card before half-time, they had a 7 point lead at the interval.
Being a man short didn’t hinder Clare in the third quarter. By the 55th minute, they still had their 7 point lead. However, that’s when Laois got on top. The Leinster team outscored Clare 1-6 to 0-3 in the final minutes. But, Clare held on to advance. If they are to reach the quarter-final, Brian Lohan’s side need to perform for the full 70 minutes on Saturday.
On the other hand, Wexford were disappointing in their only Championship outing so far. Galway were the opposition for last year’s All-Ireland semi-finalists. But, Davy Fitzgerald’s side looked out of practice on a wide-open Croke Park. Their usual slick hand-passing game and direct running was strictly managed by the Connacht side.
As a result, Wexford fell to a 13 point loss. Fitzgerald will be glad for having last weekend off to work on his game plan. A rude awakening could prove to be exactly what his team needed. It is no secret that Wexford can match anyone on their day. But, there is no more room for error. So, if Wexford are to challenge for an All-Ireland they need to quickly find their rhythm.
Wexford are favourites for this despite their previous loss. Paddy Power price them at 8/13. Meanwhile, Clare are 13/8 and a draw is 8/1.
The game is live on GAAGo.
Prediction: Wexford. Davy Fitzgerald knows how to get the best out of his team and with their backs against the wall now is the time to do so. On the other hand, Clare just got over the line against Laois despite playing well.
Hurling Championship Round 2 Qualifier: Clare vs Wexford, Saturday, 14th November, 14:00 (Portlaoise).
Wexford v @GaaClare – Saturday 14th of November, MW Hire O’Moore Park, throw in 2pm.
— Wexford GAA (@OfficialWexGAA) November 9, 2020