Championship 2024 Blog

A bounce back weekend in hurling?

Mike Finnerty | 1 May 2024

Managerial pressures to the fore this weekend.

Can Wexford rise again?

A Wexford hurling supporter rarely experiences a dull moment. In round one, they watched their team squander a five-point lead against Dublin.

Last Saturday, Keith Rossiter's side faced another setback, ambushed by Antrim with two late goals.

This marked Wexford's first-ever championship defeat to the Saffrons, putting their chances of reaching the knock-out stages of the Leinster championship in jeopardy.

Victory against Galway this Saturday at Wexford Park is essential, as there are no more lifelines.

Crucially, they must address their late-game collapses to secure the win they desperately need.

Galway need to make a statement

Nobody really was any the wiser about the Tribesmen after watching them draw with Kilkenny last weekend thanks to a late free from Conor Whelan.

Henry Shefflin’s men remain something of a mystery wrapped up in an enigma as they chase a first Leinster championship title since 2018.

A routine victory over Carlow in the first round, followed by the draw with the Cats, means that Galway go to Wexford this weekend in a strong position to qualify for the knock-out stages again.

But Shefflin will be looking to see signs that his team can take advantage of opponents who are low on confidence. A statement victory would send a message.

Will the real Tipperary stand up?

Despite the six day turnaround, this will be a long week for everyone inside the Tipp’ camp.

Last Sunday’s 15-point hammering at the hands of the All-Ireland champions made headlines for all the wrong reasons from a Tipperary perspective, and will have left Liam Cahill back at the drawing board.

The prospect of making the short spin to Waterford will help to focus the minds though and everyone expects to see a reaction from a Tipp’ team that were also turned over by the Deise last summer at Semple Stadium.

Another defeat will leave Tipperary in dire straits, especially given their current score difference scenario. They simply have to perform.

Will Waterford kick on again?

It was the result that very few people saw coming — the Deise beating Cork in the first round to blow the Munster championship wide open.

Now comes the hard part, to back it up against a Tipperary team fighting for their championship lives and reputations.

You can be sure that Davy Fitzgerald will have a plan (or two) when he arrives at Walsh Park on Saturday evening.

His tactics will be built around the likes of Tadhg De Burca, Jamie Barron and Stephen Bennett, all of whom delivered when the chips were down the last day.

Another win here will keep the dream of a first Munster title since 2010 alive.

Who can manage expectations?

Of the four managers who will walk the sidelines in Wexford and Waterford on Saturday, who is under the most pressure to deliver something tangible this summer?

It’s a question that won’t be answered fully this weekend, but right now it feels that three of them are definitely under the spotlight.

Henry Shefflin is now in his third season with Galway so the natives will be getting restless unless his team can unseat Kilkenny in Leinster sooner rather than later.

The same goes for Davy Fitzgerald in Waterford, who put in a hard first year on his return to the Deise hotseat and needed the recent victory over Cork to lift the local mood.

A shot at the Munster title is now back on his agenda.

In Tipperary, things have certainly not gone to plan yet for Liam Cahill since he took over at the end of 2022.

Tipp’ have won just one of their last five matches in the Munster championship so really need a change in fortunes this weekend.

As always at this level, the stakes are high.