WEXFORD, as a county, could never be confused with a rampant winner of national titles throughout the 126 years or so of the G.A.A. All-Ireland and National League titles here and there, yes; the building of a dynasty, no.
The fifties promised much, in both big and small ball, but the heroic efforts of the county footballers at the time of the first World War remains the only occasion when a trio of national titles were won consecutively at Senior level.
All that can change on Sunday as the girls of Wexford go in search of a treble of Irish Daily Star National Camogie League Division 1 crowns in Semple Stadium, Thurles, at 12.45 p.m.
Victory against Tipperary under Stellah Sinnott’s stewardship in 2009 was backed up by J.J. Doyle’s charges who edged out Kilkenny last year, and it’s now down to beaten All-Ireland finalists Galway to try to deny history.
The westerners came back from four points down in the final quarter of their semi-final against Kilkenny to reach the decider (0-14 to 2-7) and showed impressive resolve in doing it.
Wexford followed Galway into the final with a comfortable win over Tipperary (4-12 to 0-13), and that lack of a real test so far this year seems to be the only weakness shunting out of the All-Ireland champions’ armour these days.
Indeed, what a difference a year makes. Coming into last year’s league decider in Thurles, huge question marks remained over the confidence of the squad as a whole. It would have been folly to put ‘belief’ down as an advantage. Yet manager J.J. Doyle can clearly see their development.
æThe drive is there, the commitment is there and the belief is there,’ said the Wexford boss. æThey have a bit more belief in themselves. They are more confident this year than they were at the same stage last year and that’s a big thing.
æThey know they can do it now. They did it last year. This year the thing seems to be that they want to do it all again, they want to back up last year and not let happen what happened in ’08 and ’09. They really want to win this game,’ Doyle continued.
æThey obviously now believe they are the best team in the country. They were the best team in the country last year and proved it by winning the All-Ireland and the league. They didn’t fluke anything, but while they believe they are the best team, they know they have to go out and prove it all again.’
The main focal point for the year will no doubt be an assault on a third All-Ireland championship in five years but for now the league final remains the initial goal.
Barring any late injury concerns, everyone is available for the final and, having mixed and matched all the way to the semi-final, it’s likely that Doyle will revert back to his best 15.
Even should he decide to take a chance with selection, form and class suggests, having already eased past Galway in their opening league game (3-9 to 2-6), they will have enough to rack up the first piece of silverware of the season.