Former Dublin manager Michael O’Grady reckons there is more pressure on Wexford than Dublin ahead of their Leinster SHC round two game on Sunday.
As Pat Gilroy’s side travel down the east coast to face last year’s provincial runners-up having narrowly lost to Kilkenny, O’Grady senses there is a stronger onus on Davy Fitzgerald’s men to claim the two points.
“Obviously, it’s a different scenario had Dublin won last week - there is pressure on Dublin but even more so on Wexford. They’re still hot favourites but Dublin have a game under their belt and they really cleaned Kilkenny out defensively last weekend.
“But for one or two bad calls by the referee, they could have won it. Wexford, I feel, are under severe pressure to get a home win.
“Believe it or not, nobody expected this to happen. Pat is planning and he would have brought in players this year you’d never have thought would be in the panel. This seems to be a three-year plan and this year is (already) a bonus.
“Staying in the Liam MacCarthy Cup is the priority. It’s a disgrace that a team from the Leinster group could end up not being in it next year. I’d be a fan of Offaly hurling and it would be a big blow to them, Dublin, Wexford or any team to be in a different division”
O’Grady accepts Conal Keaney’s injury will hamper Dublin in Innovate Wexford Park. He was one of a number who were surprised to see the 35-year-old return to the panel, but was thrilled with how he performed against Kilkenny.
“I would have been doubtful (about a Keaney return). I saw him playing club last year and against my own club (Lucan Sarsfields) and he was poor. He had given fabulous service to Dublin hurling, football and Ballyboden St Enda’s but I thought his body might have been worn down. I was delighted I got it wrong. He was critical to a lot of scores last Sunday.”
O’Grady sees Liam Rushe being retained at full-forward and not moving out to fill the gap left by Keaney at centre-forward.
Dublin were excellent in the air against Kilkenny but Wexford will fancy themselves in that department too, he feels.
“Nowadays you just don’t have tall players who catch and small players who run. The likes of Galway have both. Wexford were always great for catching the ball; it was question of what they did after that caused them trouble.
“They’re a skilful side and this is going down to the wire.”
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