They’re not even on Wexford’s side of the draw and still David Power can feel Dublin’s shadow hanging over his team as they ready themselves for tomorrow’s Leinster quarter-final with Kildare.
Truth be told, he’s slightly fed up with the constant focus on Jim Gavin’s men, the whinging over their financial pull, their near-permanent residency in Croke Park and the depth of the playing pool management are pulling from.
What sticks in Power’s craw the most is that those holding up the spotlight are pulled from the 10 counties who have offered tame challenge to Dublin’s provincial supremacy over the past four years.
Since taking up his first senior inter-county management post in October of 2014, Power has concerned himself with getting the house in order below in Wexford. His advice to the rest of the province is that they do likewise.
“What I would be saying is, ‘let’s stop feeling sorry for ourselves and get all our teams ready for the challenge [of Dublin]’,” asserts Power.
“All the talk is about Dublin. People are on about the strength of Dublin and the depth of Dublin. People have to stop talking about Dublin and maybe get on with sorting their own ship. There will come a day when Dublin will be beaten in Leinster. It is going to happen.
“I know they have the money, the population, but at the end of the day, they can only put out 15 players like every other county.”
Their presence on the other side of the draw has Power talking about a potential first Leinster final appearance for Wexford since 2011 and three Croke Park outings by early July. Fairly lofty ambitions for a team who were beaten to Division 4 promotion this spring by Louth and Antrim.
“There is nothing between Offaly, Meath, Kildare, and ourselves. On any given day, any one of the four teams could beat another. There is an absolutely massive opportunity for the counties here to get to a Leinster final.
“Another motivation for us is that at Congress there was a motion initially listed on the Clár for Division 4 teams to be taken out of the championship proper and left to have their own mini-competition amongst themselves. It is up to all the Division 4 sides to go out and get a scalp and prove that they can compete with the Division 3 and 2 sides.”
To achieve said scalp tomorrow requires a first championship win over Kildare since 2004. The county reached the Division 1 league decider the subsequent spring and came within 70 minutes of a place in the All-Ireland final in 2008.
From the team which fell to Tyrone by 0-23 to 1-14 in that All-Ireland semi-final, just Brian Malone, Ciarán Lyng and PJ Banville remain.
Theirs has been a gradual slide down football’s pecking order over the subsequent summers and Power says there aren’t too many outside his own camp who genuinely believe Wexford can overturn Cian O’Neill’s Kildare.
“If you were to ask a lot of Wexford people, they wouldn’t be expecting us to beat Kildare. I took the challenge on of trying to get Wexford back up the ladder. We will get there, but it does take a bit of time.
“You can’t lose the likes of the Red Barry, Mattie Forde, David Murphy and Conor Morris, and expect everything to remain the same. We are at a stage now where there is a lot of young talent there and more talent coming up along. There is a good minor football team there at present.”
He appreciates that certain quarters won’t be satisfied unless there is immediate proof of progress, though.
Power doesn’t have time to concern himself with the pessimists. He’s too busy getting Wexford’s house in order.
Here’s a little extra sport: BallTalk TV preview the Munster Senior Hurling Championship clash between Cork and Tipperary.
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