Wexford manager Liam Dunne believes Saturday’s victory over Cork — the county’s first over the Rebels in championship for 60-years — was the turn in fortune his players desperately required.
“We needed a break. I needed a break. Everyone needed a break,” said Dunne after their shock win over Cork.
“I am delighted with the victory because sometimes you need a break and we haven’t had too many this year with the way things have gone with injuries and different guys not wanting to commit to it. The boys stood up and I am delighted.
“We were the easy picking of the draw on form, if we’re being honest. I am delighted because we put in a really good performance last week and didn’t get any credit for that. We backed it up with another good performance here.”
The Wexford boss was particularly pleased with the composed response of his players to Daniel Kearney’s potentially game-changing goal on 61 minutes.
“They have forwards there that are going to punish you any day. But I thought we coped really well. Our match-ups worked really well. The goal was a sucker punch, but, to be fair, Lee Chin responded with a point straight away which I thought had a settling effect on the team. Liam (Óg McGovern) chipped in with another two scores off his left side.
“We had a six-week break to the Offaly game last week where we put in a lot of work. There is a lot more work to do. We have won the second round of the qualifiers, but you need to keep your feet on the ground as well.”
Previous meetings, including last year’s qualifier contest, had seen Cork race into early leads and Dunne knew his team had to spring from the traps if they were to stand any chance of causing an upset.
“Last year’s game was over after 15 minutes. That is something we talked about. That is something we were conscious of. We needed to come out of the blocks because if Cork had got the momentum it probably would have been curtains.
“Last week was a huge confidence booster for these guys given the way they performed and played. I felt the goal they didn’t give us last week they could have given us this week and let us start at plus three!
“The GAA have funny ways of operating themselves. This is a great result, and we are in the Leinster intermediate final on Wednesday night against Kilkenny.”
He added: “It is 1956 when last Wexford beat Cork but I will say that I wasn’t born until ’68. I don’t know much about ’56 other than they are our heroes and they are great men. The players were great and they deserved this.”
Dunne said the Wexford camp were assessing wing-back Éanna Martin, who had to be sidelined after receiving a blow to the head. Liam Ryan, meanwhile, who did not feature because of injury, had a pin removed from his thumb late last week and is in a race against time to be fit for the quarter-final.
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