You couldn’t call it a rivalry.
Not since the first round of the league in 2011 have Galway and Wexford faced one another when the Tribesmen cruised to a 1-24 to 0-6 win in Pearse Stadium.
It’s one of only two clashes they’ve had in league or championship in the eight full seasons Galway have been part of the Leinster senior championship.
The other time came the previous summer when Galway were 11-point victors in Nowlan Park.
Where Wexford have been more successful against Galway, however, has been off the field.
It wasn’t the inspiring of beginnings, though.
In October 2008, they, along with Dublin, Westmeath and Offaly, voted against Galway entering the Leinster championship only for GAA president Nickey Brennan to railroad the proposal into rule.
But in November 2014 as they did last year, Wexford contributed to shooting down Galway’s proposal to enter their minor, U21 and intermediates teams into the respective Leinster competitions.
“Why welcome a cuckoo into the roost?” forms Wexford’s logic. Since 2009, Galway have claimed three minor All-Ireland titles as well as an U21 and intermediate. Yet in that time, Wexford have claimed two Leinster U21 crowns and reached two All-Ireland finals as well as three provincial minor finals.
In November of last year, outgoing Wexford chairman Diarmuid Devereux explained to the Irish Independent that Wexford were more of a dual county than Galway and therefore at a disadvantage.
“We have more dual clubs than anyone,” he said. “Glynn-Barntown were beaten in the county hurling semi-final by Oulart(-the-Ballagh) and the following week they played the county senior football final. What other county has that type of mix? There are no credits for doing that, just ridicule for not winning all these things.”
Last week, Micheál Donoghue had to make do without the services of Daithí Burke who lined out with Corofin the day before in the All-Ireland club SFC semi-final defeat to Dr Crokes. Two years previous, Burke was unavailable to the hurlers for a long spell as Corofin reached the final. Pardon the pun but it seems dual can go both ways for both.
In the same November newspaper article, Wexford’s 1996 All-Ireland winning manager Liam Griffin explained that doing what is right for hurling and allowing Galway compete for underage and developments Leinster honours isn’t the same as what’s right for Wexford.
“It puts Wexford at a disadvantage that’s not a positive from their point of view, even though it might be a positive from the game.”
Galway, of course, have since brought forward a motion to tomorrow week’s Congress in Croke Park where they are calling on delegates to allow the county to participate in provincial competitions from U18 level to senior.
Home games are also high on the agenda as Leinster counties have blocked Galway from yet enjoying a Leinster SHC fixture in Salthill.
Incidentally, the night before the vote former Leinster chairman John Horan and ex-Galway chairman Frank Burke are among the five GAA presidential candidates hoping to succeed Aogán Farrell. Horan has attempted to explain the stance taken by the province’s counties, while Burke, as county chair in 2006, opposed the move to Leinster pointing out that Galway clubs felt it wasn’t attractive enough.
However, Croke Park sources indicate they see Galway’s teams competing nowhere but Leinster. It’s where former manager Cyril Farrell predicted in this newspaper in December they would end up. It may be that the Galway motion is withdrawn if officials are convinced by GAA director general Páraic Duffy and Farrell’s public insistence about come to their aid following Congress but there is now too much unrest in the west to do nothing about it and 2019 would be deemed too late.
Sunday’s clash is one of just two games Galway are guaranteed to play at home this year. Against a county that has helped to greatly reduce their chances of playing in Pearse Stadium this summer, you can be assured they will be motivated. Promotion is indeed the name of the game only broader than the fight to jump to Division 1A.
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