Solid second half performance push Wexford to quarter-final spot

Martin Keoghan in action against Kevin Foley of Wexford during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1A Round 5 match between Wexford and Kilkenny at Innovate Wexford Park in Wexford. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
By John Fogarty
GAA Correspondent

WEXFORD 1-19 - 1-12 KILKENNY

Wexford outscored Kilkenny 1-11 to 0-2 in the second half to seal their Division 1 quarter-final spot.

Wind-assisted in a wintry Innovate Wexford Park, the home side made more of the conditions to see off their neighbours. However, it was their resilience against the snowy squalls in the first-half, which they finished 1-10 to 0-8 in arrears, that set them up for this victory in front of a crowd close to 6,000.

The O’Connor brothers and Kevin Foley were excellent for Wexford and the game was well and truly sealed when Cathal Dunbar pushed the ball over the line for a 67th-minute goal.

Wexford joint-captain Matthew O’Hanlon won the toss and chose to face the gale in the first half and aside from some puck-out difficulties and a third-minute goal concession they fared out reasonably okay.

Wexford twice appeared to have blunted Kilkenny’s advance when Damien Byrne dispossessed Ger Malone and Shaun Murphy cleared the ball off the line but Liam Blanchfield was on hand to make the attack count for the visitors.

Kilkenny were as far as eight points ahead in the 24th minute, Byrne coughing up three frees, twice for over-carrying as Mark Fanning was understandably going short with his puck-outs against the elements.

Only twice did he go long with restarts in the opening half.

Wexford, though, began to win many of the battles in the middle where Jack O’Connor was taking a lot of hits but keeping his composure, particularly from placed balls. Shane Murphy struck an earlier goal chance wide in the 17th minute but Wexford were able to string together four unanswered points to settle themselves.

The Murphy brothers struck backs with free towards the end of the half but Jack O’Connor finished out the half’s scoring with a fine 65 into the teeth of the wind.

Tempers flare between Wexford and Kilkenny. Photo: ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Scorers for Wexford: J. O’Connor (0-6, 4 frees, 1 65); R. O’Connor, L. Chin (0-3 each); C. Dunbar (1-0); P. Morris (0-2, frees); S. Murphy, P. Foley, L. Óg McGovern, D. O’Keeffe, K. Foley (0-1 each).

Scorers for Kilkenny: A. Murphy (0-6, 4 frees); L. Blanchfield (1-1); E. Murphy (0-3, frees); P. Walsh, W. Walsh (0-1 each).

WEXFORD: M. Fanning; D. Reck, D. Byrne; K. Foley; S. Murphy, M. O’Hanlon (j-c), L Ryan; S. Donohue; L. Óg McGovern; J. O’Connor; P. Morris, L. Chin (j-c); R. O’Connor; H. Kehoe, C. McDonald.

Subs for Wexford: P. Foley for D. Byrne (h-t); D. O’Keeffe for H. Kehoe (49); C. Dunbar for P. Morris (54); A Nolan for L. Óg McGovern (59); I. Byrne for S. Donohue (70).

KILKENNY: E. Murphy; C. Delaney, T. Walsh; P. Murphy; C. Fogarty (c), P. Deegan, J. Cleere; P. Walsh, A. Murphy; M. Keoghan; J. Donnelly, W. Walsh, G. Malone; B. Ryan, L. Blanchfield.

Subs for Kilkenny: R. Leahy for G. Malone (27); J. Maher for J. Donnelly (43); R. Hogan for B. Ryan (59).

Sent off: C. Delaney (70+2, straight).

Referee: A. Kelly (Galway).

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