Hurling

PREVIEW – Cody leaves fans waiting on team selection ahead of tense clash with Wexford

With a complete sell-out for tomorrow evening’s fixture in Wexford Park, there is huge anticipation for the most eagerly awaited Championship clash in years between Wexford and Kilkenny.

Brian Cody has not named his team yet which is unusual as generally the team would be named at least two days out from the clash but its understood it wont be named till close to the game.

Kilkenny won’t name their team until tomorrow, while the Carlow team should be named later today.

Wexford defeating Kilkenny in the League Quarter-Final has increased expectations within the model county, and that result has whet the appetite for an intriguing contest.

How much of an impact the suspension of Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald will have on them remains to be seen, but certainly Kilkenny will have their work cut out if they are to reverse the trend from April’s result.

The defensive sweeper system has worked very effectively in Davy Fitz’s tenure so far, and with the massive Wexford support on show tomorrow evening, they will more than fancy their chances of upsetting the Black and Amber.

Also, the weather conditions could have an impact on proceedings.

If the inclement weather that has materialised in recent days continues to take hold, it will make it even more difficult for Kilkenny to find gaps to unplug the Wexford defence.

As for Kilkenny, there are a lot of questions to be asked. Who will start in defense and more importantly who will start where. Also, will Brian Cody and crew take a gamble on starting Michael Fennelly having just recently returned to competitive action where he played a full hours hurling in Ballyhale Shamrocks victory over James Stephens, while in the attacking division where will Richie Hogan and TJ Reid be stationed.

Richie and TJ have carried Kilkenny on the majority of occasions the past three years, and as former Tipperary Senior goalkeeper Brendan Cummins said while speaking to KCLR before the Tipperary and Wexford League Semi-Final clash, having the duo further away from goal reduces Kilkenny’s attacking threat considerably, and will more than a likely be a most significant factor to their hopes of regaining the McCarthy Cup.

Padraig Walsh continues to be ruled out to injury and up until tomorrow evening, there will be plenty of speculation as to who will start at the edge of the square.

There is a possibility that Paul Murphy could be used to bring his wealth of experience there even if it’s not his favored position.

Shane Prendergast and Robert Lennon will come into the reckoning also, while a dark horse to start at full-back and make his Championship debut could be Evan Cody who has been performing superbly for Dicksboro who are the only team in the Senior League so far to have won all three games.

Brian is renowned for producing a rabbit out of the hat over the years and has worked wonders, and if the Dicksboro defender

Joey Holden will be a contender also to maintain the No.3 Jersey despite having a most torrid afternoon against Seamus Callinan in last years All-Ireland Final.

With Padraig Walsh out injured, Conor Fogarty will most probably start in the half-back line with possibly Kieran Joyce and Cillian Buckley alongside him.

Paddy Deegan was a regular throughout the League who showed up well and having continued his good performances for O’Loughlin Gaels he appears to have a great chance of making his championship debut.

It’s going to be a tough struggle in Wexford Park tomorrow evening, and as already mentioned the weather could have an impact.

Wexford have their best chance of defeating Kilkenny in years and with that home support behind them, and having found a new belief since Davy Fitz has come in, they can upset the odds against a team that has plenty of question marks surrounding them.

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