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'We ran ourselves into the ground' - Darragh Egan's delight as Wexford finally come good

Wexford claimed a historic win in Nowlan Park to finish third in Leinster.

Wexford manager Darragh Egan celebrates after the game.
Wexford manager Darragh Egan celebrates after the game.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

DARRAGH EGAN SAYS Wexford will be on their guard against the beaten Joe McDonagh Cup finalists in the All-Ireland preliminary quarter-final.

A week after a dismal draw with Westmeath, Wexford upset Kilkenny in Nowlan Park to seal their place in the All-Ireland series.

Recent form suggested the Cats would account for their old provincial rivals, but Wexford conjured up their best championship performance since Egan took charge.

“We went in as favourites in Mullingar last week as well, so we will be well aware of what’s coming down the tracks,” Egan insisted.

“Lot of drama in that Joe McDonagh, so the winners and losers of that are going to come out into the preliminary quarter-finals thinking they have a real, real big chance.

“We just need to be ready for that.”

The sides were deadlocked after 61 minutes when Kilkenny hauled themselves back into the game, before Wexford dominated down the home straight.

Wexford displayed a growing strength in depth as substitutes Mikie Dwyer, Connal Flood and Cathal Dunbar all made scoring impacts off the bench while Charlie McGuckin drove them on following his 62nd minute introduction.

“We are building a panel,” said Egan.

“Ultimately finishing strong is definitely something we go after and that 20-man panel will be needed over the next few weeks.

simon-donohoe-celebrates Simon Donohoe celebrates late in the game. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“Cathal Dunbar got a very important score. Mikey Dwyer got a really, really important score.

“We ran ourselves into the ground the last few minutes.

“Tony Kelly referenced this last week, where sometimes you finish with a stronger 15 than you start with and that’s ultimately the way this championship is going to go.

“These games are coming so thick and fast it’s hard to put lads out week on week.

“We are trying to build that panel element into our squad.

“I suppose a lot of lads staring out this year would have felt we didn’t give them enough action.

“Well, we are giving them plenty of action and you have to be delighted for the work that the likes of Oisin Foley put in, Charlie McGuckin, these lads that have never played for Wexford before.

“And you can seen the impact they made on our team today. They are really vital panel members.

“We need loads of lads putting up their hand over the next few weeks.”

Wexford shot nine first-half wides and five of those arrived inside the opening 10 minutes. Their poor start in front of the posts allowed Kilkenny gain a foothold in the game and they surged 1-4 to 0-2 ahead.

Egan recognises their shooting as an area of improvement in the coming weeks.

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“We are not done yet. We have absolutely loads and loads of work to do.

“We still have to be more efficient in front of goals. Like, at half time we had nine wides on the board.

“That just isn’t good enough at this level and it’s hurt us over the last few weeks.”

Kilkenny qualify for the Leinster final, edging out Wexford on scoring difference.

But the Cats fell well short of the high standards they set the previous weekend against Dublin.

“We were beaten tonight which of course we’re disappointed over but we are in the Leinster final in two weeks’ time against Galway,” said Cody. “We need to improve certainly of tonight’s performance.

“I suppose goals influence games massively. We got the goal and it gave us a bit of a cushion and we went ahead. There was nothing in it and then shortly before half-time they got the important score for them which was a goal.

“That’s the way games pan out really. We came back in the second-half, we drew level but they went ahead. At the end of the day there was very little between the teams but like I said, it would be very, very hard to argue that we deserved to win the game.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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