John Meyler: Wexford ‘hard to stop’

He’s spent the greater portion of his life in Cork, even winning an All-Ireland in the blood and bandage, but John Meyler knows they’ll never allow him to be a Rebel.

John Meyler: Wexford ‘hard to stop’

“I’ve been looked after well in Cork and by St Finbarr’s and I’m deeply indebted to them for that but you know what, they’ll never let me be a Cork man,” smiled Meyler.

So it is that the Wexford man will remain just that and on occasions such as this evening, when the two counties meet, he will lean towards the purple and gold.

The thing is, and Meyler insists he’s not blinded by county loyalty here, he can see Wexford breaking Cork hearts this evening.

“I can because if Wexford can recreate the atmosphere in Wexford Park that was there against Clare last year, I think they could probably beat anyone,” said Meyler.

“It’s a very difficult one to call because if you look at both camps they’re having their struggles.

“Wexford got a bit of a hiding off Kilkenny, they conceded soft goals but then Cork have struggled against Waterford in two big games now.

“I just think it’s going in favour of Wexford to shade it.”

Meyler acknowledged the Jack Guiney situation hasn’t helped Wexford’s cause.

The talented forward was axed from the squad for a breach of team discipline in the wake of their stuttering Leinster quarter-final win over Westmeath.

Manager Liam Dunne argued he had to make a stand. Others believe that so close to a huge tie against Kilkenny — which they went on to lose heavily — an internal dressing down would have sufficed.

“I’ve been in situations like that and, to be honest, I haven’t always handled them very well,” said Meyler, a much travelled manager with periods in charge of Wexford, Kerry and Carlow.

“Hindsight is a great leveller. Wexford do need everyone going 100 miles an hour and if that means Jack Guiney is there even for 20, 30 or 40 minutes, that would undoubtedly be helpful.

“But you’d have to know what the reaction of the fellas inside the camp was, you’d have to suss that out. I wouldn’t say Liam Dunne was right or he was wrong, I’ve made numerous mistakes in my life coaching. Liam obviously wanted that discipline in the camp. The upshot is that they’ve got to get that little bit more now out of Liam Óg McGovern, Paul Morris, Conor McDonald — everyone has to be a little bit better to pick up the slack.”

One thing that can be said with certainty is that the loser will leave Wexford Park with a terrible sense of unfulfilled ambition.

Both counties lit up the 2014 Championship at differing times and a Round 1 qualifier defeat 12 months on will represent significant failure.

“It’s a critical stage for both counties as regards where they’re going for the next couple of years,” said Meyler.

“Wexford, after last year, were pretty confident of stepping on again and Cork were the same after winning Munster. That hasn’t happened, so far anyway, so both counties are at a crossroads.”

If his prediction is right, then Wexford will be the ones moving on with a big Championship scalp to their credit.

“I do think playing in Wexford Park is a big advantage to them. Nobody knows the wind that blows into the town end like Wexford players and it’s rare that they don’t raise a gallop when they play there. I think Liam Dunne will ask for 10% more out of everyone from what he’s got so far. If they get that, and the big crowd behind them, they’ll be hard to stop.”

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