"The minute you hit Gorey, the flags are out"
Gripped by hurling. Living for it.
The road from Dublin to Wexford is a fast one these days. The M11 motorway will take you from the capital city to wherever in the sunny south east you want to be.
Motorway can be boring. Especially 90km of it. Gorey is the promised land. It's where Wicklow meets Wexford and it's where most Wexford folk get off.
Home brings a smile these days. The late summer colours and faded fabrics hanging from rooftops and car windows send you back. Back to when Wexford hurling was living large.
They must pinch to realise they're alive and kicking again. One game away from a first All-Ireland final since 1996.
Hurling is the conversation-starter and it's the meeting point. The minors won Leinster too, for the first time since 1985. On Wednesday night, the under-20s are bidding to seal a coveted Leinster trinity.
"The minute you hit Gorey, the flags and everything are out," says corner back Eoin O'Leary ahead of the Bord Gais under-20 Leinster decider.
"As you saw from the minors and the seniors, we do bring support and good crowds so hopefully, we can use that to our advantage and really cherish the 16th man to cheer us on..."
Kilkenny are the opposition again. Of course they are. O'Leary and this Wexford group shipped a beating to the Cats at minor level and they'll be again up against some star quality on Wednesday night.
Adrian Mullen, Eoin Cody, Aaron Brennan, Evan Shefflin among the best of them. MJ Reck's men of Wexford are confident themselves though. They aren't as star-studded but O'Leary, Ross Banville, Sean Keane Carroll are worth looking out for.
Kilkenny U-20 team Vs Wexford in BGE Leinster Final pic.twitter.com/2mMUk2vDQc
— Kilkenny GAA (@KilkennyCLG) July 15, 2019
Last time out they had a good win over Offaly and with this one down in Wexford Park, it's where they want to be.
"The minors and seniors are after meeting them now and there is a bit of added pressure on the U20s for this Leinster final to deliver. The Wexford fans will be, not expecting, but feeling optimistic in the home patch. We need to concentrate on our own game and block out that buzz around the county, but at the same time use it to our advantage...
"They probably are favourites, you can’t take anything away from the Kilkenny team, they’re up there with the best. I think the semi-final against Offaly really helped us. It wasn’t like we were leading the game by an awful lot, Offaly really threw everything at us and thankfully we came out on the good side of it. We’ve a good few practice matches under our belt and the Offaly match really helped because we were under pressure and lads had to dig deep and empty the tank.
"A good few of us watched Kilkenny play Galway, they’re a big, physical team, they’ve smart hurling brains. They’re going to bring it to a different level than the last day but I think we’re prepared for us.
"Even thinking of a couple of names off the top of my head, Adrian Mullen, and I’m in college with a couple of the lads so they’re no strangers to us. At the same time, the likes of Adrian, Eoin Cody, Evan Shefflin, Michael Carey, lads are going to be tricky but when you’re playing the starting backs, starting forwards in training, you’re up against the best. A few of them will take watch and it’s going to be a tough night for an awful lot of lads but we’ll wait till the night and see the match-ups and take it from there."
This team have even played a few training games against the Wexford seniors to help ready themselves. They'll be ready for road on Wednesday night and if you're not on the road to Wexford, make sure to watch what will be a fair old battle on TG4.
"We need to concentrate on our own game and hopefully, that’ll get us over the line."