National Hurling League Division 1B: Kilkenny vs Wexford
By Ben Bernie
This Sunday, Wexford head to Nowlan Park in Kilkenny after maybe the strangest couple of weeks in GAA history. From positive Covid cases to the close contact debacle with Clare and the HSE, most will just be delighted to get some hurling played.
Moving away from the subplot, these sides sit top of Division 1B and will be keen to get one over on each other. Wexford have had the better of the clashes in recent years, but Kilkenny have looked more impressive in the league thus far and also have home advantage. Wexford, already having a significant injury list, have reported three positive Covid-19 cases which clearly would have curtailed their preparations. They announced only on Thursday that they were given the all clear and would return to training.
Although not being outstanding in either game, Kilkenny recorded two comfortable enough victories, they seem to be coming along nicely and are expected to welcome back five-time All-Star TJ Reid after a minor injury kept him out against Antrim. Adrian Mullen continued his return and notched three points in that game, expect him to improve again this Sunday. Kilkenny’s preparations have also been interrupted by a positive case earlier this week, which has also put the game in jeopardy. It is not expected to derail things further as there is no suggestion it arose in a team context. However, we await the results of the tests before we can be certain that the game goes ahead.
Wexford were excellent in the last 10 minutes against Clare, overhauling an eight point deficit. Rory O’Connor was outstanding and he will again be the one to watch, he was also man of the match when Wexford won the Leinster title against Kilkenny in 2019. But, it is notoriously difficult to win in Nowlan Park, never mind doing so with a depleted squad that has barely been able to train together. It is anticipated that these teams will also meet in the Leinster semi-final in five weeks time, so neither team will want to give anything away easily.
Venue: UPMC Nowlan Park, Kilkenny
Day: Sunday 30th May