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Wexford's Leinster clean sweep dream alive after hard-fought Offaly win

MJ Reck’s side edged past the hosts in Tullamore to advance to the Leinster U20 hurling championship final.

Niall Murphy of Wexford celebrates after the game.
Niall Murphy of Wexford celebrates after the game.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Wexford 2-20

Offaly 1-18

Kevin Egan reports from Bord Na Mona O’Connor Park

WEXFORD’S BID TO win all three Leinster hurling titles in the one year for the first time since 1970 is still very much alive after they came through a stiff test in Tullamore tonight, with Diarmuid Doyle’s late goal sealing a hard-fought win over Offaly.

In general play, Wexford were the more effective side over the course of the hour but 15 wides allowed Offaly stay in the contest, not to mention a significant kiss of good fortune for the Faithful men when John Murphy’s long-range shot for a point evaded James Lawlor in the Wexford goal and crept into the net.

Having been seven points down earlier in the half, Offaly built on that score and got back to within one through some great, late points from Conor Langton, David Nally and Killian Sampson, but they couldn’t find a way to get on terms and a powerful run and finish from Seán Keane Carroll, a free from Ross Banville and Doyle’s goal wrapped up the win.

5,172 supporters made their way into Tullamore and would have been confident of another big result for this Offaly side following earlier wins over Carlow and Westmeath and a memorable extra-time defat of Dublin.

But it was Wexford, in their first competitive tie, who settled better.

The electric pace of Keane Carroll and Banville in their half-forward line was the trump card for MJ Reck’s side and they fired in two points each in the opening 10 minutes, and were followed in by a goal from Conall Clancy, blasted into the roof of the net from a tight angle in the right corner.

MT Reck celebrates after the game with Ross Banville and Niall Murphy Wexford boss MJ Reck. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Offaly kept themselves in the game, largely on the back of a solid defensive showing, and two Cathal Kiely frees either side of a good score from Brian Duignan pulled the lead back to two, but they were working off scraps.

Wexford’s half-back line was imperious under the long Offaly puckout, while the style of play employed by the visitors was very similar to that of Davy Fitzgerald’s seniors and they worked the ball through the lines very well, picking off some superb team scores to build a 1-8 to 0-7 interval lead.

That lead was pushed out to seven by the midway point in the half, with Conor Scallan, Eoin Murphy and Charlie McGuckin [Wexford captain and son of Offaly All-Ireland medallist Shane McGuckin] all on the scoresheet with superb scores from distance.

Their inaccuracy left Offaly in the game, however, and once Murphy’s long ball gave the home side a goal, a hugely dramatic finish ensued. 

Scorers for Offaly: Cathal Kiely 0-5 (5fs), David Nally (2fs) and Conor Langton 0-4 each, John Murphy 1-1, Barry Kealey, Brian Duignan, Cillian Ryan and Killian Sampson 0-1 each.

Scorers for Wexford: Ross Banville 0-10 (6fs, 1 65), Conall Clancy 1-1, Diarmuid Doyle 1-0, Seán Keane Carroll 0-3, Niall Murphy, Charlie McGuckin, Conor Scallan, Sean O’Connor, Eoin Murphy, J Reck 0-1 each. 

OFFALY:

1. Eamonn Cleary (Shinrone)

2. Dara Maher (Shinrone)
6. Conor Butler (Belmont)
5. Ciarán Burke (Ballinamere)

7. Killian Sampson (Shinrone)
3. Ross Ravenhill (Ballinamere)
4. Ryan Hogan (Carrig & Riverstown)

15. Joey Keenaghan (Clodiagh Gaels)
9. David Nally (Belmont)

13. Brian Duignan (Ballinamere)
11. Barry Kealey (Seir Kieran)
14. Cillian Ryan (Shinrone)

10. John Murphy (Ballinamere)
8. Cathal Kiely (Kilcormac-Killoughey)
12. Conor Langton (Clodiagh Gaels).

Subs:

19. Conor Quinn (Kilcormac-Killoughey) for Kealey (36)
20. Lochlainn Kavanagh (Kilcormac-Killoughey) for Ryan (48)
17. Sean Beatty (Clodiagh Gaels) for Maher (58).

WEXFORD:

1. James Lawlor (Ferns St. Aidan’s)

4. Eoin O’Leary (St. Martin’s)
3. Eoin Molloy (Naomh Éanna)
2. Cathal O’Connor (Rathnure)

5. Niall Murphy (Ferns St. Aidan’s)
6. Mike Kelly (Oylegate/Glenbrien)
7. Conor Scallan (Ferns St. Aidan’s)

9. Eoin Murphy (Ferns St. Aidan’s)
8. Charlie McGuckin (Naomh Éanna)

10. Seán Keane Carroll (Shelmaliers)
11. Ross Banville (Shelmaliers)
21. Jack Reck (Oylegate/Glenbrien)

15. Diarmuid Doyle (Marshalstown)
12. Conall Clancy (Faythe Harriers)
13. Seán O’Connor (Rathnure).

Subs:

19. Cian Fitzhenry (Duffry Rovers) for Murphy (44)
26. Oran Carthy (Rapparees) for O’Connor (58).

Referee: David Hughes (Carlow).

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About the author:

Kevin Egan

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