Waterford 1-23 Wexford 1-19
Waterford booked their place in the last four of the All-Ireland Hurling Championship with a win over south east neighbours Wexford at the new Pairc Ui Chaoimh in Cork. It was the elder statesmen in the team that virtually was the difference between the sides with both Kevin Moran and Michael Brick Walsh coming to the fore. Derek McGrath will be disappointed that his side conceded a goal in second half stoppage time, while he will also will have to plan their next game against either Galway or Cork without Tadgh De Burca who was involved in an off the ball incident and seemed to pulled the helmet off Wexford’s Harry Kehoe and was sent off.
The game itself began at a frantic pace with both sides chipping over early scores. Pauric Mahony got the opening score of the game from a free, before Lee Chin got Wexford’s second minutes later. However, it was Moran who tapped over two superb points, before Brick Walsh extended the lead, wing back Eoin Moore responded for Wexford. Mahony knocked over another free minutes before Conor McDonald registered his first and only score of the game. On 10 minutes the score was 0-05 to 0-03. Guiney tapped a free over for the Model County before Jake Dillion registered a point and then won a free only for O’Mahony to convert to stretch the lead. It was the Ballygunner man that pointed once again from a free on 17 minutes to give na Deise a 0-08 to 0-04 lead.
Jack Guiney and Lee Chin then pointed frees, but Darragh Fives scored from long range for Derek McGrath’s charges. Once again though, Wexford responded with Paul Morris pointing. Mahony kept the scoreboard ticking with another free after O’Keeffe pointed for Wexford. Conor and Austin Gleeson then floated over scores before Aidan Nolan responded for Wexford. The game was in the melting pot approaching half time, but Waterford popped up which what proved to be a crucial score. Kevin Moran was assisted by a hand pass from Shane Bennett which landed nicely for him and pulled on the sliothar and it fired past Fanning. A real dint in the Wexford confidence going in at the break five points down, 1-12 to 0-10.
Wexford got the opening score of the second half courtesy of a well taken point from Liam Ryan. Rory O’Connor then cut the gap even further. Wexford were getting into the groove and they hit the 3rd successive point when Lee Chin fired over to narrow the gap. However, Pauric O’Mahony hit over two frees to keep a four point gap between the sides 1-14 to 0-13 after 48 minutes. Jack O’Connor was introduced by Davy Fitzgerald and he made a quick impact when registered a point after Austin Gleeson scored a free from distance for Waterford. Gleeson then pointed from play, before Jack Guiney knocked over his fourth free, 1-16 to 0-15. On 54 minutes Moran and Shanahan registered points to stretch the lead out to six and Waterford were in control. Paraic Mahony made it a seven point lead with another free and Shanahan restored the six point lead either side of an O’Keeffe point. It was 1-20 to 0-17 with 10 minutes to go.
Waterford were reduced to 14 then on 65 minutes when De Burca was issued a red card by Fergal Horgan, I am sure we will be hearing about this in the coming days. Mahony pointed a free to cancel out a pointed from Jack O’Connor and the gap was still six points with injury time approaching. Derek McGrath also introduced Brian O’Halloran and he registered two scores in stoppage for Waterford. In fairness to Wexford they didn’t give up though as Jack Guiney put a free over the bar, before Jack O’Connor goaled after Guiney’s close range free was saved on the line. However, it was Waterford who progress to the semi-finals but Wexford should be happy with a successful year winning promotion to Division 1A, getting to a Leinster Final and beating Kilkenny twice in the one year.
Player of the Match: Kevin Moran