Wexford’s close attentions have quietened TJ Reid

Thirteen months ago, Henry Shefflin tried to do his club-mate TJ Reid a turn. Rather than calling on referees to protect his fellow ‘hurler of the year’, Sheffin suggested Brian Cody move him to full-forward to avoid man-marking.

Wexford’s close attentions have quietened TJ Reid

Thirteen months ago, Henry Shefflin tried to do his club-mate TJ Reid a turn. Rather than calling on referees to protect his fellow ‘hurler of the year’, Sheffin suggested Brian Cody move him to full-forward to avoid man-marking.

“I didn’t come across it that much, this football tactic of man-marking a player, where you’re just standing beside him, pulling him, hugging him, at it constantly. I think it’s just you need more protection from your linesmen and umpires to get away from that.

“Because if you have a player who doesn’t have any interest in the ball, well, for me, it’s a very hard thing to do, because you just want to go back out and play.

“That’s something that Brian might look at, maybe putting him into full-forward, getting him away from that, because then the defender has a big job to do, ‘Am I defending my full-back line and goalkeeper, or am I just worried about TJ?’

“He (the defender) could leave gaping holes. It’s something he’s probably getting used to.”

Everyone knew Reid was a marked man, but by Shefflin cleverly shining a light on the matter, referees’ heads might have been turned to it. His remarks came after Reid was held to a point from play by Eoghan O’Donnell and 1-1 by Pat Camon. Against Galway in Salthill the following week, he failed to score from play, having been ghosted by Gearóid McInerney.

But if one team has paid most attention to Reid, and to an extent succeeded, it’s Davy Fitzgerald’s Wexford. In their three Championship meetings during Fitzgerald’s tenure, Reid has registered just one point from play.

That’s not to dismiss his contributions, the many frees he has won, and, in volleyball terms, his seamless transformation from the hitter to the spiker, but in both Wexford and Nowlan Park, he has had to play an extremely patient, disciplined game.

As we dig a little deeper, he has scored more from play in his league displays against Wexford, but in those championship bouts he’s had to be at his coolest:

2019 Leinster Round 5, Innovate Wexford Park

Wexford 0-21 Kilkenny 1-18 Scored: 0-7, 7 frees.

Marker: Matthew O’Hanlon

The Wexford joint-captain ended up in the stand for picking up a second yellow card at the death, in a game where his detailing of Reid was arguably his best yet.

2018 Leinster Round 5, Nowlan Park

Kilkenny 0-22 Wexford 1-18

Scored: 0-11, 0-9 frees, 1 65

Marker: Matthew O’Hanlon

Just the one point from play for Reid, on this occasion, when O’Hanlon was assigned to him.

Such was O’Hanlon’s presence that Reid complained to officials about how closely he was being marked, but as the game developed, the Ballyhale Shamrocks man won frees and was excellent in drawing in men to set up his team-mates for scores.

2018 Allianz Division 1 semi-final, Innovate Wexford Park

Wexford 2-15 Kilkenny 1-27

Scored: 0-15, 12 frees

Marker: Matthew O’Hanlon

This was a stunning display of marksmanship by Reid, in a game that left Wexford boss, Davy Fitzgerald, bewildered, although, by the time the counties met again, Wexford had improved and O’Hanlon would go on to be a much stickier operator when marking Reid.

2018 Allianz Division 1 Round 5, Nowlan Park

Kilkenny 0-22 Wexford 0-19.

Scored: 0-12, 0-9 frees, 1 65

Marker: Matthew O’Hanlon

Another occasion when Reid was close to his best over the placed balls and O’Hanlon’s first appointment on him.

2017 Leinster semi-final, Innovate Wexford Park

Wexford 1-20 Kilkenny 3-11

Scored: 2-7, 2-0 pen, 0-6 frees, 0-1 65

Marker: James Breen

Truth be told, this was an evening when only Colin Fennelly was on song in the Kilkenny attack.

The Cats managed just 1-4 from play, both of Reid’s goals coming from the penalty line: one for Willie Devereux’s early foul on Fennelly and the other when Fennelly was impeded by Shaun Murphy.

Reid was menacing at times, but Breen’s shadowing of him was excellent.

2017 Division 1 quarter-final, Nowlan Park

Kilkenny 0-19 Wexford 2-18.

Scored: 0-10, 9 frees.

Marker: James Breen.

Breen dogged Reid in this encounter. Touch-tight, narky, and aggressive, Breen made it a school day for Reid.

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