Meath and Wexford teams named for semi

There are two changes to the Meath defence for their Leinster SFC semi-final clash with Wexford at Croke Park on Sunday (throw-in 2pm).

Meath and Wexford teams named for semi

There are two changes to the Meath defence for their Leinster SFC semi-final clash with Wexford at Croke Park on Sunday (throw-in 2pm).

Simonstown Gaels clubman Seamus Kenny is set for his first competitive start in Meath colours since his cruciate knee ligament injury against Wicklow in May of last year.

The former Royals captain returns at left half-back and Pádraic Harnan from Moynalvey will make his full Championship debut on the other wing. Mickey Burke and Ciarán Lenehan drop down to the bench.

Harnan impressed as a substitute during Meath's 1-17 to 1-12 quarter-final victory over Wicklow two weeks ago, as manager Mick O'Dowd sticks with a largely new-look starting line-up.

Indeed, there are only six players included who started the Royals' provincial semi-final win over Kildare just twelve months ago. Absent from the team are the likes of Joe Sheridan, Cian Ward, Brian Farrell, Shane McAnarney, who replaced Kenny as captain, and Donnacha Tobin.

Teenage sprinter Eamonn Wallace is one of the players O'Dowd has promoted since then, and the Meath boss hopes to utilise that speed to its fullest on the Croke Park pitch.

"I think you need pace in Croke Park. You're always trying to blend it, get the right mixture between pace, experience and strength, different areas but it's a fair comment to say that's what we're trying to do," O'Dowd told the Irish Independent.

"Over the last three or four years Wexford have really performed on the big day, particularly in the games against Dublin. I think on the last two Championship occasions they have beaten Meath as well."

O'Dowd is right, Wexford were victorious when the counties met in the 2006 and 2008 Leinster quarter-finals. Their current manager Aidan O'Brien has kept faith with the team that started their encouraging quarter-final win over Louth recently.

Ciarán Lyng (1-3) and Ben Brosnan (0-5) led the scoring in that 2-13 to 1-15 success in Drogheda, with the Model men now 70 minutes away from their third provincial final appearance in six years.

Goalkeeper Anthony Masterson, defenders Brian Malone and David Murphy and forwards PJ Banville, Redmond Barry, Adrian Flynn and Lyng are the seven survivors from the team that beat the Royals in the 2008 Championship, when they came from 10 points down to finish as 2-14 to 2-13 winners.

MEATH (SFC v Wexford): Paddy O'Rourke; Donal Keoghan, Kevin Reilly, Bryan Menton; Pádraic Harnan, Caomhín King, Seamus Kenny; Brian Meade, Conor Gillespie; Peadar Byrne, Damien Carroll, Graham Reilly; Eamonn Wallace, Stephen Bray, Michael Newman.

WEXFORD: Anthony Masterson; Michael Furlong, Graeme Molloy, Lee Chin; Brian Malone, David Murphy, Adrian Flynn; Daithi Waters, Rory Quinlivan; James Holmes, Ben Brosnan, Aindreas Doyle; Ciaran Lyng, Redmond Barry, PJ Banville.

Subs: Tom Hughes, Robert Tierney, Paddy Byrne, Conor Carty, Joey Wadding, Shane Roche, Kevin Gore, Sean Culleton, Michael Hanrahan, Kevin O'Grady, Paidi Kelly.

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