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Missed chances cost Wexford as Kildare win dogfight to book Leinster SFC semi-final slot

Cian O’Neill’s first championship victory in charge of Kildare ended in a one-point victory.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Kildare 0-9
Wexford 0-8

Jackie Cahill reports from Croke Park

CIAN O’NEILL’S Kildare held out in a Croke Park dogfight against Wexford this evening to book a spot in the Leinster SFC semi-finals.

On Kildare’s last visit to GAA HQ, they lost out to Clare in the Allianz League Division 3 decider but the Lilywhites made up for that defeat with a win in their championship opener.

This one won’t live long in the memory but O’Neill and Kildare won’t mind after setting up a last-four provincial showdown against the winners of Westmeath and Offaly on 26 June.

Wexford had a chance to salvage a draw deep in stoppage time but captain Ciaran Lyng pulled his effort wide of the posts and Kildare survived.

At the end of a desperately disappointing first half, and with weather conditions deteriorating, Kildare led by 0-7 to 0-3.

Michael Furlong injured Losing Michael Furlong through injury was a blow to Wexford. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Neil Flynn had three points for the Lilywhites, Alan Smith popped up with two classy points from play and there was one each from raiding defender Ollie Lyons and Morgan O’Flaherty, one of two late changes to the starting team.

O’Flaherty and Ryan Houlihan were both drafted into the starting line-up by O’Neill, with Adam Tyrrell and Eamonn Callaghan losing out.

Kildare looked more physically imposing than Wexford and the Model County found it difficult to penetrate as they attacked the Hill 16 end from the start, opting instead to sit deep.

They did lead through John Tubritt’s early point but Kildare were soon busy asserting their dominance and were 0-4 to 0-1 clear within 16 minutes.

Cian O'Neill Kildare boss Cian O'Neill puts Tommy Moolick through his paces during the pre-match warm-up. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The highlight of the first half from a Wexford viewpoint was midfielder Colm Kehoe’s booming long-range point but Kildare had the better of it overall.

And yet Wexford came roaring back into contention after the break, collecting four points without reply to level at 0-7 apiece.

When they were 0-5 to 0-7 in arrears, debutant Donal Shanley missed a close-in free that looked to have stalled Wexford’s momentum but points from sub Shane Roche and Kevin O’Grady brought them level.

It was then time for Kildare’s replacements to make an impact, as Eamonn Callaghan collected a first point of the second half for his side before fellow sub Cian O’Donoghue kicked a valuable score.

Shanley brought Wexford to within a point with his fourth free and in the second minute of stoppage time, the Slaneysiders had a chance to draw level.

Lyng decided to assume free-taking responsibilities from the Hogan Stand side of the field but dragged his effort off-target on the near side, one of ten Wexford wides on the evening.

Scorers for Kildare: Neil Flynn 0-3 (1f), Alan Smith 0-2, Ollie Lyons, Morgan O’Flaherty, Eamonn Callaghan & Cian O’Donoghue 0-1 each.

Scorers for Wexford: Donal Shanley 0-4f, Colm Kehoe, Kevin O’Grady, John Tubritt & Shane Roche 0-1 each.

Kildare

1. Mark Donnellan (Maynooth)

4. Ollie Lyons (Celbridge)
3. David Hyland (Athy)
2. Peter Kelly (Two Mile House)

5. Eoin Doyle (Naas – capt.)
6. Fergal Conway (Celbridge)
17. Ryan Houlihan (Moorefield)

8. Kevin Feely (Athy)
9. Tommy Moolick (Leixlip)

26. Morgan O’Flaherty (Carbury)
11. Eoghan O’Flaherty (Carbury)
7. Emmet Bolton (Eadestown)

12. Paul Cribbin (Johnstownbridge)
14. Alan Smith (Sarsfields)
15. Neil Flynn (Maynooth)

Subs: 

10. Adam Tyrrell (Moorefield) for Cribbin (47)
18. Cian O’Donoghue (Clane) for Bolton (50)
14. Eamonn Callaghan (Naas) for Smith (54)
19. Padraig O’Neill (St Laurence’s) for E O’Flaherty (59)
23. Fionn Dowling (Suncroft) for Feely (61)
20. Kevin Murnaghan (Moorefield) for M O’Flaherty (70+2)

Wexford

1. Anthony Masterson (Castletown Liam Mellows)

6. Simon Donohoe (Shelmaliers)
3. Jim Rossiter (St Fintan’s)
2. Joey Wadding (St Fintan’s)

7. Eoghan Nolan (Shelmaliers)
4. Michael Furlong (St Abban’s Adamstown)
5. Brian Malone (Shelmaliers)

8. Colm Kehoe (Cloughbawn)
9. Daithi Waters (St Martin’s)

13. Donal Shanley (St Fintan’s)
11. P.J. Banville (Horeswood)
12. Ben Brosnan (Bannow Ballymitty)

10. Kevin O’Grady (St James’)
14. Ciaran Lyng (St Martin’s – capt.)
15. John Tubritt (St Mogue’s Fethard on Sea)

Subs:

19. Adrian Flynn (Gusserane O’Rahilly’s) for Shanley (temp 17-19)
17. Kieran Butler (Bannow Ballymitty) for Furlong (31)
18. Shane Roche (Geraldine O’Hanrahan’s) for Tubritt (h.t.)
19. Adrian Flynn (Gusserane O’Rahilly’s) for Banville (47)
20. Rob Tierney (Glynn-Barntown) for Kehoe (58)
23. Syl Byrne (Ballyhogue) for Malone (64)

Referee: Rory Hickey (Clare)

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