Donoghue: I never give out about refs but reds were harsh
It is much too early to summon the town crier with news of Galway's rude health, but this was an impressive dispatch of an oddly leaden Wexford in Bellefield.
Under the shadow of Vinegar Hill, the markedly under-strength visitors put in a spirited second half despite a numerical deficit after three hurlers were red-carded in first-half injury time.
Micheál Donoghue acknowledged the character shown.
"You have to be really happy with the performance, particularly the workman-like performance of the lads," he said.
"The young fellas that came in really stood up really well. We were reduced to 13 for the second half and it was a massive challenge and in fairness to our boys they stuck to the task, got some great scores and saw the game out."
Galway were leading 1-8 to 0-9 nearing the interval, helped by Aidan Harte's goal in the 28th minute, when a row broke out near the sideline which was out of tune with the friendly tenor of proceedings up to then.
Referee Sean Cleere consulted with his linesman and sent Wexford's Liam Ryan and Galway's Padraic Mannion off.
A minute later, Jarlath Mannion was ordered off for interfering with opponent Shane Reck's helmet.
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Cathal Dunbar became the fourth player dismissed near the end of the match, but by then Galway's first Walsh Cup in four years was secure. Wexford, with a man extra for most of the second half, could not repeat last year's triumph.
Donoghue wasn't happy with some of the red cards.
"I didn't think a whole lot of them. I'm going into my fourth year, I have never given out about officials but I thought they were harsh. You can always tell by the crowd, obviously it's a tight ground, supporters are close to the pitch, and I just think everybody was bemused with them."
His point that the high red-card count did not reflect the game's temperament was hard to dispute. For much of the first half it lacked intensity and was certainly free of rancour.
"I don't think there was any mean stroke, there was nothing in it," he said.
"They make those decisions and then the game turns out 14 versus 13, crazy."
Galway started just four of last year's All-Ireland final side and one of those, Padraic Mannion, lasted only half the match.
But Harte was outstanding and Joe Canning, looking lean and hungry, gave an exhibition of shooting from placed balls.
His final tally of 13 points included two from play and he forced a fine save from Mark Fanning in the first half with a shot that looked destined for the top corner of the Wexford goal.
Cathal Mannion was exceptional and he finished with four scores as well as assisting in a few more. And when needed, Fergal Flannery frustrated Wexford with first-class saves, notably two in the second half from Aidan Nolan and sub Seamus Casey.
Wexford looked in a promising position heading in at half-time, just two points adrift.
Instead Galway appeared the more piqued and upped the tempo with three quick scores from Cathal Mannion, Canning and Sean Kilduff.
Paudie Foley, one of Wexford's subs who made a difference, responded but two more from Canning opened a six-point lead.
Poor finishing and indiscipline cost Wexford, with Canning knocking over frees from all angles.
Goalkeeper Mark Fanning fluffed their best chance when he shot a penalty over the bar with 10 minutes left after Conor McDonald was fouled. A goal then would have left Galway leading by just one point.
Galway showed admirable resistance in holding out as Wexford made a final heave in the closing stages.
Subs Sean Linnane and Tadhg Haran scored late points to relieve the pressure and in injury time Dunbar picked up a second yellow card after recklessly catching Canning high with his hurl. Canning punished the foul with his last score of the day.
Galway head into next weekend's National League tie at home to Laois in excellent spirits. Wexford need improvement when they face Limerick in Wexford Park on the same day. But this will serve as useful preparation.
"Look, it's not even about silverware," said Donoghue.
"I think the last two weekends for us have given the extended panel a run and we're in the depths of preparation for the league. The boys' attitude and application to everything we've asked has gone really well."
SCORERS - Galway: J Canning 0-13 (10fs, 1 65); C Mannion 0-4 each; A Harte 1-0; J Coyne, D Glennon, S Kilduff, S Bleahene, S Linnane, T Haran 0-1. Wexford: I Byrne 0-5 (5f); P Foley (1f, 1 65), D Dunne, C McDonald, M O'Hanlon, P Morris 0-2 each; K Foley, C Dunbar, D O'Keeffe, M Fanning (pen), H Kehoe 0-1.
Galway - F Flannery; J Grealish, R Burke, A Harte; K Hussey, P Mannion, J Mooney; C Mannion, S Kilduff; R O'Meara, J Canning, J Coyne; J Mannion, S Bleahene, D Glennon. Subs: J Coen for Mooney (44), J Flynn for Coyne (45), K Cooney for O'Meara (56), S Linnane for Kilduff (57), T Haran for Bleahene (68).
Wexford - M Fanning; S Reck, L Ryan, C Firman; S Donohoe, M O'Hanlon, S Murphy; A Nolan, D O'Keeffe; D Dunne, K Foley, I Byrne; C Dunbar, C McDonald, L McGovern. Subs: D Reck for Firman (27), P Foley for Byrne & P Morris for S Reck (h-t), S Casey for McGovern, R Higgins for Nolan & H Kehoe for Dunne (55).
Ref - S Cleere (Kilkenny).