McDonald steals the show to leave Cats licking wounds
Wexford 4-17 Kilkenny1-9 Leinster U-21 HC Final
Wexford hurling at the top level may have taken a bit of a battering in recent weeks, but the young guns gave hope for the future when they dished out a 17-point hammering to Kilkenny at Innovate Wexford Park yesterday evening.
The Slaneysiders completed the three-in-a-row in some style.
Conor McDonald, who has experienced some tough times with the seniors of late, was the star of the show as he helped himself to a fabulous 1-10.
McDonald roasted the opposition during the first half, when the foundations of victory were laid.
Kilkenny opened like an express train and shot 1-1 in the opening 90 seconds. That was as good as it got for them.
After Liam Hickey shot a goal (25 seconds) and Willie Brennan pointed, Wexford put up the shutters immediately at the back and with McDonald leading the attack brilliantly they overpowered the visitors to run up an interval lead of 3-8 to 1-4.
With the Wexford defence totally dominant in the air, Kilkenny were forced to wait until the 24th minute for their third score, a point from defender Diarmuid Cody.
By that time, the deadly McDonald already had 1-5 registered, and he had a hand in James Cash's goal in the 20th minute.
The home side played some great hurling, with Jack O'Connor also shining, to get level at 1-2 to 0-5 after 12 minutes. They over-ran the opposition after that to race 10 points clear by the break.
The visitors enjoyed a bit more possession afterwards, but they never looked like getting a second goal. When they did get sight of the target, goalie Oliver O'Leary was in fine form.
Wexford outscored Kilkenny 1-7 to 0-5 in the second half to underline their dominance.
The Wexford goal in the 33rd minute shut the door on the visitors. It was a wonderfully created affair, with Jim White and Cash involved in the build up before Cathal Dunbar finished to the net.
Wexford can charge on with hope in their hearts that better times might be ahead, in the short and long term.
SCORERS - Wexford: C McDonald 1-10 (7fs), C Dunbar 1-1, K Foley 0-3, A Kenny, J Cash 1-0 each, J O'Connor, Shane Murphy, S Kenny 0-1 each. Kilkenny: C Martin 0-3 (fs), L Hickey 1-0, L Blanchfield 0-2, S Morrissey, D Cody, W Brennan, C Ryan 0-1 each.
Wexford - O O'Leary; S Donohoe, L Ryan, E Conroy; J White, P Foley, J O'Connor; C Devitt, G Bailey; A Kenny, K Foley, J Cash; C Dunbar, C McDonald, P Sutton. Subs: T French for Sutton 45; Shane Murphy for Bailey 47; S Kelly for Cash 51; Sean Kenny for L Ryan 57; S Murphy for Donohoe 59.
Kilkenny - D Brennan; E Cody, C Delaney, C Wallace; J Cleere, E Morrissey, D Cody; P Deegan, W Brennan; M Mansfield, C Martin, L Blanchfield; K Kenny, C Bolger, L Hickey. Subs: J Maher for Mandfield 21; S Morrissey for Maher 31; B Troy for Cleere 36; C Ryan for Brennan 36; T Phelan for Kenny 53.
Ref - J Keenan (Wicklow).