Farrell strike gets Kilkenny over the line
Kilkenny 2-7 Wexford 1-7 Division 1 semi-final
Kilkenny survived a late Wexford rally to advance from their Division 1 semi-final in Waterford by 2-7 to 1-7.
Kilkenny held the upper hand in the opening period, at the end of which they led by 1-5 to 0-3. They laid the platform for that margin by getting off to a lightning start. Denise Gaule opened the scoring in the first minute from a free and followed up with scores from a '45' and 50-metre free to make it 0-3 to 0-0 after just four minutes.
Ursula Jacob got Wexford's first point from a free after a foul on Fiona Kavanagh but Kilkenny's response was immediate, with Michelle Quilty goaling in the sixth minute. Gaule slotted her fourth point from a '45' to make it 1-4 to 0-1.
The rate of scoring slowed thereafter as Wexford's defensive unit got to grips with their opponents. Jacob (free) and Gaule ('45') exchanged points before Katrina Parrock got Wexford's first point from play with a terrific strike from 45 metres into the wind to bring them to within five at the change of ends.
Substitute Fiona Rochford made it four early in the second half but the magnificent Ann Dalton hit a wonder score for the Noresiders and Leanne Fennelly followed up.
Jacob pointed from another free but then came the game's critical score as substitute Megan Farrell – who wasn't even listed in the match programme – scrambled the sliotar over the line for Kilkenny's second goal. That opened up a 2-7 to 0-5 lead with eight minutes remaining.
Jacob hit a point from a free before the excellent Parrock blasted a goal in the 54th minute. It was the second minute of injury-time before Wexford could reduce the gap to a goal though, when Jacob elected to tap a 20-metre free over the bar.
There were five more minutes of added time and Wexford poured forward in search of a goal but Kilkenny held firm. They now await the winners of Sunday's second semi-final between Cork and Clare.