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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Fitzgerald's charges could struggle to break down Kilkenny defence

TJ Reid is on the money

Kilkenny Manager Brian Cody
1 of 1

Wexford v Kilkenny 
Sky Sports 3, 7pm Saturday

Davy Fitzgerald's magic wand has already produced two mesmerising magic tricks since his arrival in Wexford - first getting out of Division 1B of the league and then dishing out a 2-18 to 0-19 beating to Kilkenny in the quarter-final. 

But beating Kilkenny in the league is one thing, getting the better of the Cats in the championship is an entirely different matter and the home crowd could be in for a rough night. 

Brian Cody's charges have been written off as All-Ireland contenders in many quarters but they were level with Tipperary midway through the second half of last year's All-Ireland final and it's difficult to say that Wexford have improved enough in six months to beat Kilkenny.

Cody has probably had June 10 in his mind for months and Kilkenny probably did not give the league that much importance, especially since they were plagued with injuries for most of it.  

Expect to see a completely different Kilkenny side to the one who were five points inferior to Wexford in the league and the return of Ger Aylward, who impressed for his club recently, will give the Cats an extra dimension up front. 

If Aylward is on song and Colin Fennelly can get running at the Wexford full-back line, it should see the visitors come out on top. TJ Reid's consistency is what makes him such a vital cog in the Cats machine and another big performance is surely in the offing. He thrives on big nights like this. 

The 8-1 BoyleSports are offering about Reid winning the man of the match award is too tempting to turn down. He is only 11-2 with Paddy Power.

Michael Fennelly's presence in the starting 15 would be a major boost and news of him hobbling off at training during the week is a concern but, with or without him, the Cats should outclass the hosts.

Kilkenny kept a pair of clean sheets against Dublin and Galway on the way to Leinster glory last year and Wexford could struggle to unlock their rearguard unit. Given that showers are forecast and the sliotar will be slippery, backing under 20.5 Wexford points and under 1.5 Wexford goals makes plenty of appeal. 

Conor McDonald scored 1-8 in the quarter-final but Cody will surely have a plan in place to curb his influence on this occasion so do not expect him to rule the roost once again. 

There are valid arguments to be made for Wexford being overpriced at 3-1 given that they have home advantage and come into the game high on confidence but this is the type of game Kilkenny tend to find a way to win and they can come up with the answers once again.

Wexford under 20.5 points
2pts 10-11 BoyleSports
Wexford under 1.5 goals
2pts 4-6 Paddy Power
TJ Reid man of the match
1pt 8-1 BoyleSports

Beating Kilkenny in the league is one thing, getting the better of the Cats in the championship is an entirely different matter
E.W. Terms
Sky bet