Wexford buoyed by Forde fitness

Matty Forde's return to fitness has given Wexford an ideal boost ahead of their Leinster SFC quarter-final clash with Louth on Sunday (Croke Park, throw-in 2.20pm).

Matty Forde's return to fitness has given Wexford an ideal boost ahead of their Leinster SFC quarter-final clash with Louth on Sunday (Croke Park, throw-in 2.20pm).

The 2004 All-Star had been troubled in recent weeks with an ankle injury, but he has been declared fit to start Wexford's first outing in the 2007 championship.

Forde will start in the left corner this weekend, alongside Paddy Colfer and Ciaran Lyng, who will be starting a championship tie for the first time.

Lyng, who caught the eye of Wexford hurling manager John Meyler in an Under-21 game, has also recently been training with the Model county's hurlers.

Forde's injury has curtailed his involvement in the club championship and Wexford's recent challenge matches, with their latest outing seeing them go down by four points to Sligo in Leixlip.

But Wexford boss Paul Bealin says Forde is "now 100% fit" and ready to inspire the Models after a disappointing 2006 campaign which was wrecked for the Kilanerin clubman by a three-month suspension arising from a stamping incident involving Offaly's Shane Sullivan.

Bealin is without the services of corner forward JP Banville who sustained an ankle ligament injury in a recent club soccer match. Banville's place has gone to Lyng, while right half-back Adrian Morrissey is another championship newcomer.

Sunday's encounter is only the sixth Leinster championship game between Wexford and Louth in the past 50 years. Wexford won the sides' last SFC tie by eight points back in 2004.

The winners of this weekend's game will progress to play Laois in the Leinster semi-final on July 1.

WEXFORD (SFC v Louth) - J Cooper; C Morris, P Wallace, B Malone; A Morrissey, D Murphy, N Murphy; R Stafford, E Bradley; C Deely (capt), R Barry, A Flynn; C Lyng, P Colfer, M Forde.

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