Hurlers must lift themselves for Wexford

Limerick's Declan Hannon blocks Conor Whelan's attempt to score for Galway in action from the Allianz National Hurling League game at Pearse Stadium on Sunday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Limerick's Declan Hannon blocks Conor Whelan's attempt to score for Galway in action from the Allianz National Hurling League game at Pearse Stadium on Sunday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Galway hurlers face the long trip to Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday (2pm ) to take on the home side in the league quarter-finals.

They will need to put behind them the narrow and disappointing two-point defeat to Limerick at Pearse Stadium on Sunday which ensured Micheál Donoghue's squad will remain in 1B again in 2019.

Galway met Wexford twice in competitive action last season with the Model County winning the Allianz Hurling League Division 1B game by 1-21 to 3-13 in Pearse Stadium in February. That was the game which cost Galway their place in this year's top flight, yet the side drove on after that to win the league.

They defeated them again in the Leinster final by 0-29 to 1-17 before storming to win the county's first All-Ireland crown since 1988.

Wexford, however, are tough to beat, particularly at home, and the Galway players will know they will face the same intensity, desire and work-rate displayed by Limerick last Sunday.

When you are champions, everyone wants to beat you and that is just the way it is, and should be. Wexford, who last won a league title in 1973, have notched three wins and two defeats from their five league games to date.

They opened strongly, beating Waterford and Cork, before going down to Tipperary by 3-21 to 1-21, while in their last two games they overcame Clare before suffering a three-point loss to Kilkenny.

Galway will be disappointed, having led by 1-15 to 1-07 at half-time last weekend. The expectation was that they would do enough to win.

However, when the game was there to be won in the last quarter, it was John Kiely's men who pushed on while Galway giving away a number of frees. The Treaty men also shot 18 wides, which highlights their dominance in many sectors.

Considering their respective training regimes and S & C programmes to date, it is not surprising Limerick are further down the road than Galway.

Notwithstanding, however, it was a disappointing second half from the home side, and when the intensity levels rose, it was Limerick who tore into the game with midfielder Cian Lynch and forwards Tom Morrissey, Seamus Flanagan and Aaron Gillane, catching the eye.

This weekend will be a good challenge for Galway, and it will interesting to see how they respond to the expected physicality and intensity of Davy Fitzgerald's team.

These types of games are a good learning curve for some of Galway's younger players, such as Shane Bannon, Sean Loftus and Brian Concannon, and it also allows the management team to learn about their strength in depth heading towards the Leinster championship.

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