Home GAA Eoin Larkin Column: Wexford Lacking Plan B, And Tipperary Have Changes To Make

Eoin Larkin Column: Wexford Lacking Plan B, And Tipperary Have Changes To Make

Waterford’s win over Wexford was an exciting game, but skill level wasn’t what you would expect from an All-Ireland quarter-final.

We all knew going into it that it was going to be a battle of the sweepers, and that it wasn’t going to be the most aesthetically pleasing spectacle.

What it came down to was Waterford being on the road that bit longer, and edged it out.

Having said that, the Yellowbellies never really looked like winning the game. I thought that after Tadhg de Búrca got sent off, they should have pushed up. They didn’t deviate away from the sweeper system. The Déise kept them at arms’ length.

All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Quarter-Final, Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Cork 23/7/2017 Wexford vs Waterford Referee Fergal Horgan red cards Tadhg De Burca of Waterford Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

There is doubt over Davy Fitzgerald’s future with Wexford. He has brought huge confidence, but it’s difficult to know if he can bring them on further. He needs to go away from the sweeper system, or at least have a Plan B when the system isn’t working.

Yesterday we saw Shaun Murphy playing the sweeper role once again, but his distribution of the ball was not good enough. That’s the whole reason of having one – to lay the foundations.

But he wasn’t giving the Wexford forwards any real advantage of getting the ball.

They’d like to see Davy stay down in Wexford, but he needs to have other options, particularly when they’re chasing a game.

They’re just staying with the same routine. It doesn’t help anyone. It will be interesting to see what happens.

I think he would be good for Wexford for another two/three years, get them back to the top table. That’s what he’s aiming for.

They certainly have improved on his watch, and there is an awful lot more to come.

Waterford have improved. Tadhg de Búrca is going to be missing for the semi-final, and he’s going to be a huge loss.

Do they have somebody with the hurling brain who can distribute the ball to the forwards to replace him? He’ll be a savage loss. They’ve certainly learned their lessons. Are they good enough to beat Cork? I have my doubts about it.

All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Quarter-Final, Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Cork 23/7/2017 Wexford vs Waterford Waterford's Maurice Shanahan celebrates scoring a point Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

On Saturday, Tipp did enough, but will have to raise their game ahead of the semi-final. They have to tighten up their fullback line.

I don’t see why they moved James Barry out of full-back. He got taken to the cleaners against Clare. He needs to go back to a settled position, returning to the tried and trusted.

I would expect them to beat Galway, but Cork are still the favourites for me.

To be honest, I think Tipperary are a much better team than Galway. They’re building momentum after the qualifiers. Michael Ryan will be happy that he still has things to work on in training and that.

They’ll have learned from past experiences, and from Saturday too.

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Make sure to check out the latest episode of The 16th Man podcast, where we hear from Davy Fitzgerald, Michael Ryan and Donal Moloney after the quarter-finals, and chat to John Leahy about Tipperary.

About Eoin Larkin

Eoin Larkin
Eoin Larkin is a former inter-county hurler for Kilkenny. Playing with the Cats for twelve seasons the James Stephens clubman won ten Leinster titles, eight All-Ireland Hurling Championships and two All Star awards.

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