Leahy helps Cats storm back
Kilkenny 3-14 Wexford 2-14
Kilkenny turned in a storming closing ten minutes to wipe out a six-point deficit before emerging with victory in this Leinster intermediate final at Innovate Wexford Park.
Through the opening 30 minutes very little separated the sides. After Tommy Dwyer and Jack Langton exchanged early points, it was Dwyer and Nicky Cleere who added points before the Cats struck for a goal.
Jason Cleere picked out Nicky Cleere close to the sideline. Cleere slipped his marker before picking out centre-forward Mark Bergin who found the net to give his side a 1-2 to 0-2 lead after nine minutes.
Jack Pettitt and Cleere exchanged points, before Wexford responded through Nicky Kirwan, Danny Martin-Carroll and Ryan Mahon as they held a 0-10 to 1-6 interval lead.
The second half started at a blistering pace with Kirwan goaling within 60 seconds, while four minutes later Billy Ryan found the net at the opposite end. But with Kilkenny hitting a string of wides it was Wexford's Pettitt who shot to the net after 11 minutes. With 13 minutes remaining Wexford led by 2-13 to 2-7 and looked comfortable.
However, it was Kilkenny who turned in a storming closing ten minutes adding on 1-5 with the crucial goal arriving seven minutes from the end from sub Richie Leahy.
SCORERS - Kilkenny: M Bergin (1f) 1-4; R Leahy 1-1; B Ryan 1-0; C Tobin 0-3; J Langton, N Cleere (if), J Walsh 0-2 each.
Wexford: T Dwyer 0-7 frees; J Pettitt, N Kirwan 1-2 each; J Doyle, D Martin-Carroll, R Mahon, 0-1 each.
Wexford - D Hughes; A Maddock, S Murphy, K Sheridan; J Kelly, R Kehoe, J O'Connor; B Dunne, T Dwyer; J Doyle, D Martin-Carroll, G Moore; R Mahon, J Pettitt, N Kirwan. Subs: J Firman for Mahon (42); E Doyle for Martin-Carroll (57).
Kilkenny - K Nolan; E Cody, T Aylward, L Hickey; J Cleere, C Delaney, J McGrath; J Langton, S Murphy; C Tobin, M Bergin, N Cleere; S Morrissey, B Ryan, J Walsh. Subs: S Donnelly for Cleere (inj 29); J Brennan for Murphy (47); R Leahy for Morrissey (40); A Duggan for Nolan (42); R Hickey for Ryan (54).
Ref - M Murtagh (Westmeath)