Wexford v Kilkenny, Sunday, 4 pm. Croke Park
Wexford and Kilkenny meet on Sunday in the Leinster Hurling Final for the first time since 2008. Croke Park will see a crowd in excess of 60,000 for the game with not just a Leinster title up for grabs but a place in the All-Ireland semi-finals.
This is a massive game for both Kilkenny and Wexford. The winners of this game will not only win the Bob O’Keeffe Cup but they will also progress to the All-Ireland semi-final stages. The loser will play in the All-Ireland quarter-finals.
We begin by looking at Wexford. Wexford played out two draws in their opening two games. They drew with Dublin 1-22 to 2-19, before going to Salthill and drawing 0-16 each with Galway. They then hammered Carlow 2-28 to 0-19, before the final round robin game with Kilkenny ended in a draw with Kilkenny two weeks ago 0-21 to 1-18. Davy Fitzgerald will look to Liam Ryan and Matthew O’Hanlon who both put in big performances last time out, O’Hanlon did a superb man-marking job on TJ Reid. Diarmuid O’Keeffe, Lee Chin, and Conor McDonald will be the players looking to come up with the scores.
Kilkenny come into the game on the back of a good Leinster round-robin campaign. They beat Dublin 2-23 to 1-21 and followed that up with a 3-22 to 1-14 win over Carlow. They lost out to Galway 3-20 to 2-22, before drawing with Wexford 1-18 to 0-21. Brian Cody will look to players like Padraig Walsh, Huw Lawlor and Paul Murphy in defence. In attack TJ Reid, Adrian Mullen and Walter Walsh will be key players.
Last 5 Championship Meetings
2019 Wexford 0-21 Kilkenny 1-18 (Leinster round robin)
2018 Kilkenny 0-22 Wexford 1-18 (Leinster round robin)
2017 Wexford 1-20 Kilkenny 3-11 (Leinster semi-final)
2015 Kilkenny 5-25 Wexford 0-16 (Leinster semi-final)
2011 Kilkenny 1-26 Wexford 1-15 (Leinster semi-final)
2008 Kilkenny 5-21 Wexford 0-17 (Leinster semi-final)
Wexford last won the Leinster title in 2004 when they beat Offaly. Kilkenny’s last title came in 2016. Kilkenny have met Wexford 14 times in the championship since 1998 when Cody took over. Kilkenny have won 11 to Wexford’s 2 with one draw. Wexford’s last win over Kilkenny in a Leinster Final came in 1997 when they won by 6 points 2-14 to 1-11.
Wexford: Mark Fanning, Damian Reck, Liam Ryan, Simon Donohue, Paudie Foley, Matt O’Hanlon, Shaun Murphy, Kevin Foley, Diarmuid O’Keeffe, Liam Og McGovern, Lee Chin, Conor McDonald, Cathal Dunbar, Rory O’Connor, Paul Morris
Kilkenny: Eoin Murphy; Paul Murphy, Huw Lawlor, Joey Holden; Paddy Deegan, Padraig Walsh, Enda Morrissey; Cillian Buckley, Conor Fogarty; Richie Leahy, Walter Walsh, TJ Reid; Billy Ryan, Colin Fennelly, Adrian Mullen.
Kilkenny are 1/2 to win this game, while Wexford are 15/8. I think this could be Wexford’s game for the taking. They have the forwards that Croke Park should suit players like David Dunne, Liam Og McGovern and Cathal Dunbar will love the space in Croke Park. Wexford get the nod. Conor McDonald to score a goal anytime is 2/1.