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Late Kilkenny rally beats Wexford in Leinster decider to set up All-Ireland final with Clare

Richie Leahy’s 1-1 proved crucial in a five-goal provincial decicer.

Richie Leahy shone as a substitute for Kilkenny tonight.
Richie Leahy shone as a substitute for Kilkenny tonight.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Kilkenny 3-14
Wexford 2-14

Michael Dwyer reports from Innovate Wexford Park

SUPERSUB RICHIE LEAHY turned the tide for Kilkenny in the second-half of a cracking Leinster IHC final as Pat O’Grady’s men dismissed Wexford at Innovate Wexford Park this evening.

When the Rower-Inistioge clubman came on, the Cats were struggling with a three-point deficit.

The hosts’ gutsy challenge began to fade with the clock ticking down. Leahy and his colleagues capitalised with a late haul of four points in the final four minutes of the game to seize the initiative from Liam Dunne’s charges.

At one stage Wexford had led by six points but they ultimately lost out to a Kilkenny side who now advance to a final meeting with Munster champions Clare on 6 August.

Four wides impeded Kilkenny’s progress at the start of the game but John Walsh’s clever diagonal delivery to Mark Bergin sent the Noresiders into a 12th minute lead of 1-2 to 0-2.

Wexford struck back in style though as a trio of Tommy Dwyer pointed frees edged his side ahead by 0-10 to 1-6 at the interval.

The hosts burst out of the traps upon the restart. A long puck-out from Darragh Hughes found Wexford’s two corner forwards, as Nicky Kirwan planted the ball in the Clonard-end net.

A further goal from Jack Pettitt gifted Wexford a six-point lead on 42 minutes.

Although Kilkenny missed a high total of 14 shots, they were deadly accurate as the final whistle approached.

Richie Leahy’s 53rd minute major pre-empted a streak of points as Kilkenny held firm to seize the provincial spoils.

Scorers for Kilkenny: Mark Bergin 1-4 (0-2f), Richie Leahy 1-1, Billy Ryan 1-0, Jack Langton, Nicky Cleere (0-1f), John Walsh, Conor Tobin 0-2 each, Shane Donnelly 0-1.

Scorers for Wexford: Tommy Dwyer 0-7 (0-7f), Jack Pettitt, Nicky Kirwan 1-2 each, Danny Martin Carroll 0-2 (1f), Ryan Mahon, John Doyle 0-1 each.

Kilkenny

1. Kevin Nolan (Clara)

2. Evan Cody (Dicksboro)
3. Tom Aylward (Mullinavat)
4. Luke Hickey (James Stephens)

5. Jason Cleere (Bennettsbridge)
6. Conor Delaney (Erin’s Own)
7. Jack McGrath (James Stephens)

8. Jack Langton (Clara)
9. Shane Murphy (Glenmore)

10. Conor Tobin (Fenians)
11. Mark Bergin (O’Loughlin Gaels)
12. Nicky Cleere (Bennettsbridge)

13. Sean Morrissey (Bennettsbridge)
14. Billy Ryan (Graigue-Ballycallan)
15. John Walsh (Mullinavat).

Subs

Shane Donnelly (St. Lachtain’s) for Nicky Cleere (29′)
Jeff Brennan (St. Patrick’s) for Shane Murphy (HT)
Richie Leahy (Rower-Inistioge) for Seán Morrissey (40′)
Aaron Duggan (Dicksboro) for Kevin Nolan (43′)
Rory Hickey (Lisdowney) for Billy Ryan (inj., 54′)

Wexford

1. Darragh Hughes (Naomh Éanna)

2. Aaron Maddock (St Martin’s)
3. Sean Murphy (Buffers Alley)
4. Kevin Sheridan (Oulart-The Ballagh)

5. Jack Kelly (Rapparees)
6. Richie Kehoe (Faythe Harriers)
7. Joe O Connor (St Martin’s)

8. Billy Dunne (Oulart-The Ballagh)
9. Tommy Dwyer (Ferns St Aidan’s)

10. John Doyle (St Patrick’s)
11. Danny Martin Carroll (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown)
12. Gary Moore (Glynn-Barntown)

13. Ryan Mahon (Rapparees)
14. Jack Pettitt (Our Lady’s Island)
15. Nicky Kirwan (Oulart-The Ballagh)

Subs

Jake Firman (St. Martin’s) for Ryan Mahon (43′)
Eoin Doyle (Shelmaliers) for Danny Martin-Carroll (58′)

Referee: Mick Murtagh (Westmeath)

– An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Richie Leahy was from St Patrick’s, his club is Rower-Inistioge.

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Michael Dwyer

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