Shanahan spoils dogged Model revival
Allianz Hurling League Div 1
A week is a long time in politics, but even the hard-pressed politicians would struggle to deal with the criticism, anger and questioning levelled at the Wexford team after last week's drubbing by Galway.
That 1-24 to 0-6 hammering left manager Colm Bonnar and his players "shell-shocked", as he described it, but it did fuel the Slaneysiders' determination to produce a much better performance against Waterford at Wexford Park yesterday.
The outcome of the soul-searching resulted in a much better show in a hard-fought, dogged match.
Leading by a point, 0-9 to 1-5, at half-time, and with the two sides level five times during the match, this was a game that left Bonnar with mixed feelings.
"We were shell-shocked against Galway last Sunday. We knew the work, the commitment, everything we had put in just wasn't reflected on the day for whatever reason.
"This team was under savage pressure coming into this game and we knew we had a huge step up to make.
"Ultimately we're disappointed that we lost this one by two points, but it was important for us that we didn't fall flat in the second half, that we kept up the intensity and work-rate, so we are happy in that sense," he said.
Waterford boss Davy Fitzgerald had expected a Wexford bounce-back, particularly on their home ground, and wasn't disappointed.
"They had to thunder into it after last week, and we were expecting that. We'll take the win, but we've got to take our chances.
"If you look back on it we missed at least a penalty and three or four points from frees, and that would have made a lot of difference.
"Fair play to Wexford, they made it tough, but you can't afford to miss chances at this level. At the same time we have some young lads out there and they never stopped working. Every time we were in trouble we clawed our way out of it," said Fitzgerald.
A swirling cross-wind and a slippery surface made conditions tricky, but once Wexford's Jim Berry opened the scoring with a sixth-minute point, the tone was set.
Wexford had not turned up to be lambs to the slaughter, and despite being rocked by an opportunist eighth-minute goal by Waterford's Shane Casey, the home side showed plenty of grit and determination.
Waterford had the most scoring opportunities in first 20 minutes, but only took four of them -- the Casey goal, and three points by centre-forward Richie Foley, two from frees and one from play.
Stephen Banville scored Wexford's second point in the ninth minute, and they had to wait until Berry scored in the 19th minute for their third score.
The challenges were tough, the pace fast, and players from both sides made mistakes in the conditions, but Wexford dug deep in the last 15 minutes of the first half and got the scores on the board that gave them that one-point half-time lead.
The lead could have been more, but for six wides, one a particularly poor effort by the otherwise solid Berry from a close-in free.
Banville missed a chance to extend Wexford's lead just after half-time, and a minute later, Padraig Mahony scored at the other end for the Decies to level the scores at 1-6 to 0-9.
Wexford lived dangerously in the next 10 minutes, as Thomas Ryan over-ran the sliothair as he raced through for a one-on-one, and the Decies also missed a penalty.
Foley got the chance to convert the penalty when Seamus Prendergast was hauled down as he bore down on Stephen O'Keeffe's goal in the 43rd minute.
Foley's shot was superbly beaten away by Wexford's Paul Roche and then Philip Mahony missed a follow-up attempt.
Foley made amends three minutes later with a point, but it was quickly answered by one from Garrett Sinnott, so the sides were level at 1-7 to 0-10 with 13 minutes left.
Waterford mounted a series of raids, and from one of them Thomas Ryan scored a terrific point from a tight angle about 40 metres out from goal to put his team ahead once more in the 49th minute.
The struggle for possession and space was relentless, but the turning point came in the 55th minute, with the entry into the game of Waterford sub Maurice Shanahan, who replaced Stephen Molumphy.
Big Maurice scored a point with his first touch of the sliothair a minute later to make it 1-9 to 0-10, but it was back to a point when Wexford sub PJ Nolan scored with five minutes left for play.
At that stage, it was a case of Waterford having an edge, making the chances, but Wexford defending stoutly, and launching counter-attacks as they desperately sought a goal to snatch the win.
Ultimately, Shanahan's presence proved crucial as he added two more points, one from a free and another from a '65,' in the hectic closing stages.
Wexford couldn't get the goal, and came just a little short, despite a point from play by sub PJ Nolan and another by Berry from a free.
Man of the Match -- Michael Walsh (Waterford).
Scorers -- Waterford: R Foley 0-5 (4f), S Casey 1-0, M Shanahan 0-3 (f, 65), T Ryan 0-2, P Mahony 0-1. Wexford: J Berry (2f), R Jacob 0-3 each, S Banville, G Sinnott, H Kehoe, D Redmond, C Farrell (65), PJ Nolan 0-1 each.
Waterford -- S O'Keeffe 6; D Fives 7, S Fives 7, N Connors 7; W Hutchinson 7, M Walsh 8 , J Nagle 7; S O'Sullivan 7, P Mahony 7; S Casey 7, R Foley 7, P Mahony 7; T Ryan 7, S Prendergast 6 S Molumphy 6. Subs: M Shanahan 7 for S Molumphy (55), S Walsh 6 for T Ryan (62), S Power for S Casey (70)
Wexford -- N Breen 7; P Roche 7, M O'Hanlon 7, K Rossiter 7; L Prendergast 6, D Stamp 7, C Kenny 6; C Farrell 6, D Redmond 6; H Kehoe 6, T Waters 6, S Banville 6; R Jacob 6, G Sinnott 6, J Berry 7. Subs: M Jacob 6 for C Farrell (51), PJ Nolan 6 for D Redmond (59), D Kehoe 6 for K Rossiter (63), P Atkinson 6 for H Kehoe (64). Ref -- J Ryan (Tipperary).