All-Ireland SHC quarter-final
By Jackie Cahill at Semple Stadium, Thurles
DEREK MCGRATH’S WATERFORD cruised past Wexford in this afternoon’s All-Ireland SHC quarter-final at Semple Stadium.
The Déise ran out 10-point winners to set up a repeat All-Ireland semi-final clash with Kilkenny at Croke Park on 7 August.
For Waterford, this was sweet revenge for the qualifier defeat against their South-East rivals at Nowlan Park two years ago but rinsing that 21-point Munster final loss at Tipperary’s hands was of far greater importance to McGrath and his players.
Waterford registered 17 wides over the course of the 70-plus minutes — seven from Austin Gleeson alone — but still had enough about them to fend off a spirited second half revival from Wexford.
Waterford were ten points ahead in the second half — 0-15 to 0-5 — before Wexford rallied to within five with a run of five unanswered scores.
But Waterford hit back with six on the trot themselves to make this one safe and seal a safe passage to the last four.
There was a huge setback for Waterford in the first half, however, as Darragh Fives limped off with what appeared to be a recurrence of a quad injury.
Wexford also lost Eoin Moore in the second period as the Oulart-the-Ballagh defender was stretchered off in agony.
By half-time, Waterford had registered as many wides, 12, as points.
They led by 0-12 to 0-5 at the end of a disappointing first half pockmarked by poor shooting and the occasional long-range special.
With both sides operating sweeper systems, goal chances were at a premium and both sides were content to have a go from distance.
Austin Gleeson registered five of their first-half wides, but also contributed a point, as Jamie Barron, Shane Bennett and Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh hit two points each.
Waterford’s leading first-half scorer was Pauric Mahony, with three of his four points from frees, as Lee Chin hit two points from play for Wexford, with Conor McDonald adding two frees.
Waterford raced into a 0-6 to 0-1 lead by the 10th minute as Wexford found scores hard to come by.
McDonald, a subdued figure, went for goal from a 20m free that was blocked in the 13th minute and he was off-target from the resultant 65.
McDonald did nail an 18th-minute free to end a 12-minute barren spell on the scoreboard for Wexford but Waterford seemed to be cruising and operating well within themselves as they went on to lead by seven points at the break.
That massive wides tally in the first half will have been a concern to boss McGrath, however, but with the breeze at their backs in the opening half, and Wexford playing with a massed defence, the temptation was always there to have a pop from outside the 45m line.
Scorers for Waterford: Pauric Mahony 0-8 (6f), Austin Gleeson, Jamie Barron, Shane Bennett, Michael Walsh, Maurice Shanahan & Brian O’Halloran 0-2 each, Jake Dillon 0-1.
Scorers for Wexford: Conor McDonald 0-5 (4f), Lee Chin 0-2, Éanna Martin, Liam Ryan, Jack O’Connor & David Dunne 0-1 each.
1. Stephen O’Keeffe (Ballygunner)
2. Shane Fives (Tourin)
3. Barry Coughlan (Ballygunner)
4. Noel Connors (Passage)
18. Darragh Fives (Tourin)
5. Tadgh de Búrca (Clashmore/Kinsalebeg)
7. Philip Mahony (Ballygunner)
10. Kevin Moran (Mount Sion)
8. Jamie Barron (Fourmilewater)
20. Pauric Mahony (Ballygunner)
6. Austin Gleeson (Mount Sion)
11. Shane Bennett (Ballysaggart)
12. Michael Walsh (Stradbally)
21. Maurice Shanahan (Lismore)
13. Patrick Curran (Dungarvan)
17. Conor Gleeson (Fourmilewater) for D Fives (inj., 12)
14. Jake Dillon (De La Salle) for Shanahan (50)
23. Brian O’Halloran (Clashmore/Kinsalebeg) for Curran (55)
24. Stephen Bennett (Ballysaggart) for Shane Bennett (60)
15. Colin Dunford (Colligan) for Gleeson (temp. 64-69)
15. Colin Dunford (Colligan) for Walsh (70+2).
1. Mark Fanning (Glynn-Barntown)
2. Eoin Moore (Oulart-the-Ballagh)
3. Matthew O’Hanlon (St James)
6. Paudie Foley (Crossabeg/Ballymurn)
7. Éanna Martin (Geraldine O’Hanrahans)
17. Liam Ryan (Rapparees)
5. Diarmuid O’Keeffe (St Anne’s)
8. Jack O’Connor (St Martin’s)
9. Eoin Conroy (Naomh Éanna)
10. Liam Óg McGovern (St Anne’s)
11. Lee Chin (Faythe Harriers)
15. David Dunne (Davidstown/Courtnacuddy)
12. Harry Kehoe (Cloughbawn)
14. Conor McDonald (Naomh Éanna)
13. Paul Morris (Ferns St Aidan’s)
18. Andrew Kenny (Buffers Alley) for Conroy (27)
21. Nicky Kirwan (Oulart-the-Ballagh) for Kehoe (45)
20. Simon Donohue (Shelmaliers) for Moore (inj., 51)
19. Aidan Nolan (HWH Bunclody) for Morris (65)
23. Joe O’Connor (St Martin’s) for McGovern (68).
Referee: Alan Kelly (Galway)