Johnny Crowley wary of Wexford backlash

Cork hurling selector Johnny Crowley is expecting a “huge backlash” from Wexford in their first round qualifier meeting on July 4.

Johnny Crowley wary of Wexford backlash

The Rebels were handed the toughest assignment of yesterday’s hurling qualifier draw - an away fixture against Liam Dunne’s side, and Crowley has rubbished suggestions they will encounter a fragile Wexford outfit on Saturday fortnight.

Wexford were 24-points adrift of Kilkenny in Sunday’s Leinster semi-final clash at Nowlan Park and Crowley believes atonement will be top of the Model agenda when Cork roll into town.

“It is probably the toughest draw we could have got, and we have to travel as well. It will certainly focus the mind fairly quickly,” he remarked.

“We know we will be getting a challenge and there will be no sense of breezing through the first round of the qualifiers.

“That is what you want, though. You are better served by getting a proper test and finding out where the team is at.

“I know from playing them in the 1970s and 80s that you never get anything soft from Wexford, particularly so in Wexford Park.

“They will have been very disappointed after their performance in Nowlan Park. They know they didn’t do themselves justice and that result wasn’t a true reflection of that team.

“They are a very proud county. They showed that last year in their two games against Clare in the qualifiers. They made life extremely difficult for Clare in Wexford Park and it will be no different when we arrive down there.” Crowley says the Cork players have responded well in training since the defeat to Waterford and expects them to stand up to be counted in their second championship outing.

“This is do-or-die for us. There will be no second chances if we don’t get a result here. Wexford are going to give us a serious test, but I am confident we can get the job done.”

He continued: “We expected Seamus Harnedy to be fit. Lorcán [McLoughlin] is 50/50 at present.

Clare hurling boss Davy Fitzgerald, meanwhile, was relieved with their home draw against Offaly.

“It could have been a lot worse. We could have been going to Wexford Park. We have a home game and that is very important,” he told Clare FM.

“Offaly didn’t do too badly in Division 1B. They ended up in a quarter-final against Tipperary and they performed really well. Tipperary won by six points and we all know what Tipperary are like.

“It will probably be a little bit tougher a task than people think.

“We were too tense against Limerick and trying to get the lads to chill out, relax and enjoy their hurling is the most important thing.”

Aaron Cunningham, who hit 2-1 when sprung from the bench in the Limerick defeat, is nursing a torn hamstring and Fitzgerald is hopeful the 22-year old forward will tog against Offaly. Conor McGrath should also be fit.

“Aaron hasn’t trained with us since but we’re hoping to get him back into training towards next weekend,” said Fitzgerald.

The Clare footballers also picked up a home draw against Longford in the second round qualifier draw and manager Colm Collins insists his charges must display a more clinical streak in front of goal if they are to progress.

“Our shooting efficiency against Cork was 29%. Cork’s was 75%. If we had doubled our shooting efficiency, given most of our missed chances were goal chances, we would have won the match. We will have Shane McGrath, Enda Coughlan and David Tubridy back for the game.”

All-Ireland Round 1 hurling qualifiers:

Laois v Dublin; Westmeath v Limerick; Clare v Offaly; Wexford v Cork.

All-Ireland hurling qualifiers Round 1:

Laois v Dublin Westmeath v Limerick Clare v Offaly Wexford v Cork

All-Ireland football qualifiers Round 2A:

Antrim v Fermanagh; Offaly v Dublin/Kildare; Clare v Longford; Cavan v Roscommon.

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