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Kilkenny and Wexford eyeing Leinster triumph

 

Draws don't usually leave both managers so contented, but as the picture of Brian Cody and Davy Fitzgerald after the Wexford-Kilkenny clash two weeks ago showed, deadlock can sometimes mean that both teams win. (stock photo)
Draws don't usually leave both managers so contented, but as the picture of Brian Cody and Davy Fitzgerald after the Wexford-Kilkenny clash two weeks ago showed, deadlock can sometimes mean that both teams win. (stock photo)

By Martin Breheny

Draws don't usually leave both managers so contented, but as the picture of Brian Cody and Davy Fitzgerald after the Wexford-Kilkenny clash two weeks ago showed, deadlock can sometimes mean that both teams win.

The scowling glares of the previous 70 minutes were replaced with beaming smiles as they realised that the draw had secured a provincial final place for both.

It has also knocked Galway - the rather large cuckoo which had thrown its weight around the Leinster nest over the past two seasons - out of the All-Ireland race. A good evening's work all round then, but it wouldn't have taken long for the focus to turn to the next target - specifically tomorrow's Leinster final.

Unlike the round-robin game, it can't end the season for either outfit, but that will make no difference to the ferocity of the exchanges, which zoomed high into the red zone a fortnight ago.

It will be the same again as both sides seek to guarantee themselves a prize from the season at a time when the standard between so many teams in Leinster and Munster has never been so high.

Provincial titles still matter. Even when Kilkenny were racking up All-Ireland titles with near-monotonous regularity, they still valued the Leinster honour.

Now it has become more elusive - they are trying to avoid going three years without a win for the first time since the mid-90s - they will be even more determined to reacquaint themselves with the big trophy.

Wexford's need is even greater. Without a Leinster title since 2004 and without a win over Kilkenny in the final since 1997, they are desperate for a breakthrough.

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