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Thursday 9 February 2023 Dublin: 2°C
Tommy Dickson/INPHO Liam Og McGovern scores a point.
# storming finish
Wexford pull off second-half comeback to eliminate reigning champions Kilkenny from league
Wexford out-scored Brian Cody’s men by 1-11 to 0-2 in the second-half.

Wexford 1-19

Kilkenny 1-12

Ronan Fagan reports from Innovate Wexford Park

WEXFORD STORMED BACK from an interval deficit of 1-10 to 0-8 to eliminate reigning Allianz NHL Division 1 champions Kilkenny and power through to the quarter-finals after a weather-battered duel at Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday.

Wexford out-shot Brian Cody’s men by 1-11 to 0-2 in the second-half of a game very much influenced by the strong gale, although the home-side’s gritty defence was also a notable feature as Davy Fitzgerald’s men set up a last-eight derby showdown away to Galway.

After the original postponement of the Wexford-Kilkenny tie owing to severe weather conditions, the heavens again threatened when depositing considerable wintry showers prior to throw-in.

And quite appropriately, given the conditions, the first breakthrough was achieved through a blizzard of instant attacks, as Kilkenny’s Ger Malone had successive attempts on goal cleared by Darren Byrne and Shaun Murphy respectively, before the second clearance was volleyed to the net by Liam Blanchfield on three minutes.

Gale-assisted Kilkenny added points through the Murphy brothers – Alan and goalie Eoin, both frees – together with Pádraig Walsh and Walter Walsh to bounce ahead by 1-4 to 0-2 inside 12 minutes.

Wexford wing-back Shaun Murphy, who goaled in the previous round against Clare, was unfortunate to pull a shot wide from in front of goal.

And while Paul Morris pegged back a pointed free for Wexford, things got brighter for Kilkenny just as the snow showers gave way to sustained sunshine, with Eoin (free) and Alan Murphy (2 frees) and Blanchfield having Brian Cody’s men surging clear 1-8 to 0-3 on 23 minutes.

Wexford encouraged though when striking a rich vein of form with scores from Paul Morris (free), Shaun Murphy, Rory O’Connor and Jack O’Connor (free and ’65) to close to within 1-10 to 0-8 at half-time, with the Murphy brothers each intervening with Kilkenny points.

Liam Ryan with Liam Blanchfield Tommy Dickson / INPHO Liam Ryan challenges Liam Blanchfield. Tommy Dickson / INPHO / INPHO

Wexford’s resurgence continued on the re-start as substitute Pádraig Foley, Rory O’Connor and Liam Óg McGovern shaved the difference to 1-10 to 0-11 before Conor McDonald’s connection on a delivery by Rory O’Connor trickled along the goal-line after a deflection off an upright.

Wexford kept rousing their backers amongst the 6,000 strong attendance as Lee Chin and the O’Connor brothers, Rory and Jack (free), tied matters for the first-time before substitute Diarmuid O’Keeffe’s lengthy score turned the tables by 0-15 to 1-11 after 52 minutes.

Wexford really never looked back, and Lee Chin boosted the euphoric home support with a quick-fire double to help help extend the gap to 0-18 to 1-11 in the 64th-minute as Kevin Foley also registering.

Wexford then nailed this vital victory when Cathal Dunbar forced the ball to the net from an initial attempt by Aidan Nolan in the 67th-minute, while Jack O’Connor’s sixth point (free) sealed the deal as Kilkenny’s misery was added to with the red-carding of Conor Delaney for a challenge on Dunbar.

Scorers for Wexford: Jack O’Connor 0-6 (4 frees, 1 ’65), Rory O’Connor, Lee Chin 0-3 each, Cathal Dunbar 1-0, Paul Morris 0-2 (frees), Shaun Murphy, Pádraig Foley, Liam Óg McGovern, Diarmuid O’Keeffe, Kevin Foley 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kilkenny: Alan Murphy 0-6 (4 frees), Liam Blanchfield 1-1, Eoin Murphy 0-3 (frees), Pádraig Walsh, Water Walter 0-1 each.

Wexford

1 Mark Fanning (Glynn Barntown)

2 Damien Reck (Oylegate Glenbrien)
3 Darren Byrne (Blackwater)
5 Simon Donohoe (Shelmaliers)

7 Shaun Murphy (Oulart The Ballagh)
6 Matthew O’Hanlon (St James’)
4 Liam Ryan (Rapparees)

19 Jack O’Connor (St Martin’s)
9 Kevin Foley (Rapparees)

11 Liam Óg McGovern (St Anne’s)
14 Rory O’Connor (St Martin’s)
12 Lee Chin (Faythe Harriers)

13 Paul Morris (Ferns St Aidan’s)
15 Conor McDonald (Naomh Éanna)
10 Harry Kehoe (Cloughbawn)

Subs:

17 Pádraig Foley (Crossabeg Ballymurn) for Byrtne (HT)
8 Diarmuid O’Keeffe (St Anne’s) for Kehoe (48)
22 Cathal Dunbar (Naomh Éanna) for Morris (54)
20 Aidan Nolan (HWH Bunclody) for McGovern (61)
23 Ian Byrne (Ferns St Aidan’s) for Donohoe (70).

Kilkenny

1 Eoin Murphy (Glenmore)

2 Paul Murphy (Danesfort)
3 Conor Delaney (Erin’s Own)
4 Tommy Walsh (Tullaroan)

5 Conor Fogarty (Erin’s Own)
6 Paddy Deegan (O’Loughlin Gaels)
7 Jason Cleere (Bennettsbridge)

8 Pádraig Walsh (Tullaroan)
9 Alan Murphy (Glenmore)

10 John Donnelly (Thomastown)
11 Walter Walsh (Tullogher Rosbercon)
12 Ger Malone (Mullinavat)

13 Billy Ryan (Graigue Ballycallan)
14 Liam Blanchfield (Bennettsbridge)
15 Martin Keoghan (Tullaroan)

Subs:
20 Richie Leahy (The Rower Inistioge) for Malone (27)
22 James Maher (St Lachtain’s) for Donnelly (45)
21 Richie Hogan (Danesfort) for Ryan (58).

Referee: Alan Kelly (Galway).

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