After an extremely promising Munster round robin, Tipperary have faltered badly. They failed to put up any semblance of a fight against Limerick in a 12-point mauling in the Munster decider, and have since failed to spark into life against an improving Laois side.
Meanwhile, Wexford are the only unbeaten side left in this year’s All Ireland, albeit they have drawn three of their five games so far. That said, Wexford have proved to be annoyingly resilient this year, and have utterly refused to accept defeat in games where they have quite clearly been second best.
Against Dublin in Parnell Park Wexford were on the ropes as Mattie Kenny’s men moved into a commanding four-point lead with just 15 minutes remaining, but two Wexford goals in quick succession seemed to hand them an unlikely victory until Sean Moran goaled late on to salvage a draw for the men from the capital.
Similarly against Galway, Wexford were five points down with 20 minutes remaining in the lowest scoring game of the year, but rallied from nowhere to nearly double their tally in the final 20 minutes to gain a crucial point.
So, whatever situation they find themselves in on Sunday, Wexford will refuse to lie down against a Tipperary side that have begun to drift through the championship.
Kilkenny have already shown against Cork that the gulf between Leinster and Munster is not as large as people believed and Wexford have every chance of booking their place in an All Ireland final for the first time since 1996.
The second All Ireland semi-final is the physical embodiment of a clash of styles.
A common theme in Wexford’s championship games this year has been their attempt to stifle and suffocate opposition.
Aided by sweeper Kevin Foley, Wexford restrict the space in midfield and make it extremely difficult to score against them. No one has conceded less than the men from the South East in this year’s championship.
Conversely, Tipperary have been the most free scoring team in the championship, hitting 30 points or more on four occasions.
They have been underwhelming since beating Limerick in their final round robin game, however, and have seen their pedigree fall ever since.
It all comes down to whether the country’s tightest defence can shackle the country’s most potent attack and, if Wexford are indeed to win this game, it will have to be in a low scoring game.
There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and Seamus Callanan finding the back of the net in a 2019 championship game.
The Tipperary forward has ludicrously chipped in with a green flag in each of Tipperary’s six championship games this season as he surpassed Lar Corbett as Tipperary’s top goalscorer in championship history.
Callanan is ruthless and, miserly as Wexford’s defence is, they have still conceded goals in two of their five games. If anyone is to breach that rearguard, it is likely to be the 30-year old Tipperary forward.
On several occasions this season, Wexford have been staring into the abyss at half time, only to rally and produce an unlikely result.
Against Galway in Salthill, Wexford trailed by 0-10 to 0-04 at the interval, but outscored Galway by 0-12 to 0-06 in a cagey second half and gain a valuable point.
The Model County also trailed at half time in the Leinster final, albeit by just a point, before coming good in the second half to claim a three-point victory.
Even against Carlow Wexford only led by two points at half time as they recorded a facile 15-point win.
It’s not unfathomable that Wexford will produce something similar on Sunday.