You have to feel a bit for Davy Fitzgerald this Saturday. He will lead his Wexford team to Páirc Uí Chaoimh, to take on his native Clare in the All-Ireland Quarter Final. You have to wonder what is going through his head.
Fitzgerald managed the Clare team before he took up the Wexford post. He led them to an All-Ireland title in 2013 and knows this team too well. Back in February during the League, he said, “It’s a hard thing to stand on the line, when you managed that team for five years, to play against them. I still have massive time and respect for them.”
But that was the League, and this time when they meet, the Championship is on the line. A place in the All-Ireland Semi-Final is up for grabs.
The past is the past
When Clare won their All-Ireland title back in 2013, they were knocked out of the Championship the following year by Wexford. That was the last time these two sides met in the Championship.
It was a qualifier replay that was tooth and nail the entire way, and ended up having to go to extra-time to separate the two teams. Victory went to Wexford, and Clare’s hopes of back-to-back All-Ireland’s were dashed.
Mistakes to be ironed out
Wexford will line out on Saturday afternoon with the hope making it to their first All-Ireland Semi-Final since 2007. After their performance against Westmeath last weekend, there are mistakes that Fitzgerald will not let this team make again.
Although the Yellow Bellies had a convincing victory over Westmeath, they hit a total of 14 wides. Poor shooting will prove costly against the Banner, who have the main man Peter Duggan, the current top scorer of the Championship.
For Clare, if they win this match, it will be their first Semi-Final appearance since their year of glory in 2013. They have had a successful run this season so far. They were extremely impressive as they knocked Tipperary out of the race for Liam MacCarthy. Cork proved too strong for the Bannermen though in the Munster Final. However, they are very young and capable team and will head into this match confident for a win.
Be sure to check out our blog next Monday where we will be bringing out the standout #StyleOfPlay moment of the week!