Wednesday 19 June 2019

Davy Fitzgerald sending off doesn't stop stirring second-half Wexford comeback as spoils shared in Galway

Galway 0-16 Wexford 0-16

26 May 2019; Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald following the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 3A match between Galway and Wexford at Pearse Stadium in Galway. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
26 May 2019; Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald following the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 3A match between Galway and Wexford at Pearse Stadium in Galway. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Vincent Hogan

Vincent Hogan

A storming second-half comeback earned Wexford another precious Leinster Championship point in Pearse Stadium, though they left the West knowing it could have been so much better.

Seven unanswered points between the 50th and 63rd minutes gave Davy Fitzgerald's men a lead for the first time all day, but they couldn't quite close the deal, Cathal Dunbar's mis-hitting a late goal chance that allowed Galway goalkeeper, Colm Callanan save and clear.

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald after being sent to the stand by referee Johnny Murphy during the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 3A match between Galway and Wexford at Pearse Stadium in Galway. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald after being sent to the stand by referee Johnny Murphy during the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 3A match between Galway and Wexford at Pearse Stadium in Galway. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Fitzgerald was actually ordered into the stand after an angry 44th minute confrontation with a fourth official, yet all the late momentum was Wexford's and they were left to rue not taking an opportunity to beat a Galway side clearly still feeling the absence of Joe Canning.

Salthill's name as a venue regularly afflicted by a quarrelsome wind was duly honoured, Wexford choosing to play into it for a first-half that seldom rose above the mediocre.

It was dreadful stuff, both teams guilty of poor decision-making and a lack of composure in possession. By the mid-point, Wexford had accumulated ten wides, five of them attributable to joint-captain, Lee Chin, who was having a disappointing day on the frees.

In that entire half, their solitary score from play would come from Aidan Nolan, yet Davy Fitzgerald wouldn't have been entirely unhappy with a half-time deficit of 0-4 to 0-10.

Cathal Mannion of Galway in action against Aidan Nolan of Wexford
Cathal Mannion of Galway in action against Aidan Nolan of Wexford

Conor Whelan was proving Galway's main attacking threat, although the Kinvara man was lucky to get a decision in his favour when he seemed to foul his marker, Damien Reck, in the eighth minute of a resolutely poor contest.

It could have been much worse for Wexford, Mark Fanning's short tenth minute puck-out going straight to Brian Concannon who duly put Conor Cooney in on goal, only for Fanning to redeem himself with a super save.

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That incident, though, ran to the core of Wexford's difficulties. Playing into the teeth of that wind, they were being forced into awkward places by Galway's high-press.

Indeed, Galway led 0-6 to 0-0 before Chin opened Wexford's account in the 22nd minute. Nolan quickly added his score and two more Chin points from placed balls brought Wexford to within four points of their opponents with just three minutes of the half remaining.

Galway closed out stronger, though, scores from Conor Cooney and Whelan easing them to that advantage of six at the mid-point.

Perhaps the most damning statistic of the half however was a combined eighteen wides from two teams playing something way below their best hurling.

Galway's 41st minute introduction of Johnny Glynn gave them a valuable puck-out target and they looked to be easing to a humdrum victory when leading 0-14 to 0-8 with twenty minutes of normal time remaining.

But Wexford came storming back with that late surge and will regret their massive accumulation of sixteen wides on a day the Westerners were undoubtedly there for the taking.

SCORERS: Galway - J Flynn 0-6 (0-3 frees, 0-1 '65'), N Burke 0-4 (0-3 frees, 0-1 '65'), C Whelan 0-3, David Burke, C Mannion and C Cooney 0-1 each.

Wexford - L Chin 0-7 (0-6 frees, 0-1 '65'), R O'Connor and C Dunbar 0-2 each, S Murphy, A Nolan, C McDonald, D O'Keeffe and L Og McGovern 0-1 each.

GALWAY: C Callanan, P Mannion, Daithi Burke, A Harte, S Loftus, G McInerney, J Cooney, J Coen, David Burke, C Mannion, N Burke, J Flynn, C Whelan, C Cooney, B Concannon. Subs - J Glynn for N Burke (41 mins), K Hussey for Coen (50 mins), J Hanbury for J Cooney (59 mins), D Glennon for Concannon (66 mins).

WEXFORD: M Fanning, D Reck, L Ryan, S Donohue, P Foley, M O'Hanlon, S Murphy, K Foley, D O'Keeffe, L Chin, A Nolan, C Dunbar, C McDonald, R O'Connor, L Og McGovern. Subs - P Morris for Nolan (49 mins), J O'Connor for P Foley (49 mins).

J Murphy (Limerick).

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