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Makeshift Galway have no answer to hungry Wexford

Wexford 1-21

Galway 0-16

THOUGH their hands were tied somewhat due to a combination of injuries and Fitzgibbon Cup commitments, the Galway senior hurling management sent a team to Carlow on Sunday which wasn’t fit for purpose.

On discovering the fifteen selected for this Walsh Cup decider, it was difficult to avoid the conclusion that Galway would almost certainly lose if Wexford were anyway focused on collecting some early-season silverware.

As it transpired, a Galway side showing nine changes from their comfortable victory over Dublin the previous weekend, were given the runaround by opponents who have clearly got a bounce from the appointment of former defender Keith Rossiter as team manager.

Having defeated Kilkenny in the Walsh Cup semi-final, Wexford fielded a more familiar selection with the outstanding Lee Chin a late addition to their starting line-up. In truth, the sharper Slaneysiders were good value for their eight-point victory.

The way Wexford repeatedly cut Galway open around the middle third was alarming at times. They largely forced the pace in front of almost 3,000 spectators, producing much the crisper hurling, and bringing more energy and commitment to the battleground.

Galway’s collective inexperience was plain to see at times. Jack O’Connor and Chin wreaked havoc under the high ball while Wexford also had a useful midfield partnership in Conor Hearne and Corey Byrne Dunbar who scored four points between them. Full-back Conor Foley, Cathal McGuckin, the classy Damien Reck and Cian Molloy were also defiant in defence.

In contrast, Galway often cut a sorry sight in a game in which they never led. They were level at six points all after 25 minutes, but Wexford were playing with more method and the greater conviction. Having banged home six goals against Laois in Ballinasloe, the Tribesmen haven’t raised a solitary green flag since.

Perhaps if John Cooney hadn’t been denied by a fine reaction save from Wexford goalkeeper Aaron Duggan in the 34th minute, Galway might have remained in the struggle for longer, but there is no escaping the reality that the men in maroon were second best for long periods.

Pictured: Galway’s Tom Monaghan who was their top performer in Sunday’s Walsh Cup Final loss to Wexford at Dr Cullen Park.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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