Laboured Galway hurlers shocked by fired-up Wexford on a day to forget


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Laboured Galway hurlers shocked by fired-up Wexford on a day to forget Laboured Galway hurlers shocked by fired-up Wexford on a day to forget

Wexford 1-28

Galway 0-23

THE warning signs were there. A hurling season which so far has failed to ignite for Galway was plunged into an unexpected crisis when they were shocked by fired-up 14-man Wexford in the Leinster Senior Championship last Saturday.

In one of the county’s worst summer performances of the past decade, Galway are suddenly under pressure to even come out from the province after falling to the Slaneysiders in the championship for the first time in 28 years.

The Tribesmen’s fate remains in their own hands, and they still have everything to play for – not to mention that their best player Cathal Mannion was missing on Saturday – but this was a frightening effort at Wexford Park in front of a poor crowd of just over 6,100.

By the finish, Galway cut a sorry sight. They failed completely to exploit their extra-man over the closing 20-plus minutes, several players were repeatedly caught for pace, and the lack of leadership, especially in a chastening second-half, was really troubling.

It’s not as though they travelled to Wexford with the blinkers on. For starters, the team’s own form was no great shakes. Galway had hardly set the world alight with an 11-point win over Carlow, while they were fortunate to escape with a draw against injury-hit Kilkenny the previous weekend.

They should also have been braced – both mentally and physically – for a major kickback from Wexford after their dismal loss to Antrim just seven days earlier. Keith Rossiter’s men were fighting for their championship lives and were bound to produce a display full of fire and brimstone.

Their intensity and work-rate had Galway in all kinds of trouble and it was a sign of Wexford’s tunnel vision that when Cian Byrne was deservedly dismissed for a dangerous head-high challenge on Donal O’Shea in the 51st minute, it made no difference to the trend of the match.

If many of the Galway players are in the dock this week for a laboured and low energy display, the team management is also indictable for a defeat which few saw coming. Henry Shefflin and his mentors continue to try and put square pegs into round holes.

Padraic Mannion, Gearóid McInerney and Daithí Burkle are all former All-Star defenders, but none of them were honoured in the positions they lined out in against Wexford. It’s baffling how Burke and McInerney – two archetypal central men – were chosen on the wings, with Mannion again wasted in the last line of defence.

All three great servants are past their prime, but the positions they are being asked to play in are doing them no favours. Both David Burke and Seán Linnane started against Kilkenny, but there wasn’t a sign of them in Wexford Park where Galway used five substitutes.

Pictured: Galway players Conor Cooney, Ronan Glennon and Gavin Lee outnumber Wexford’s Eoin Ryan during Saturday’s Leinster Senior Hurling Championship clash at Wexford Park. Photo: David Fitzgerald/ Sportsfile.

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