Kilkenny hold off Wexford to clinch place in quarter finals
Kilkenny 0-22 Wexford 0-19
Kilkenny’s Allianz League season started poorly with defeats against Cork and Clare but three successive wins have steered them back on track and building impressive momentum.
They had two powerful motivations to win this Round 5 clash in Nowlan Park: firstly to ensure that they secured a place in the League quarter-finals and secondly to end Wexford’s winning run against them.
Three successive Wexford victories over the last eleven months left them seeking their first four-timer over their great rivals since 1955-56, but it didn’t materialise against opposition that were very determined to end that run.
They were pressed all the way but, having led from early on, they saw it through to the end of an excellent contest.
They led by six points after 58 minutes before Wexford cut the deficit to two points late on. Walter Walsh closed out the scoring in stoppage time, ensuring a precious win for Kilkenny on a day when TJ Reid scored twelve points, 0-10 of which came from placed balls.
Kilkenny led by 0-14 to 0-9 at half-time, with Reid (0-7, 0-6 frees) and Richie Leahy (0-3) their main marksmen. Ger Aylward did too, winning three frees, which Reid scored and also picking off an excellent point.
Wexford, set up in their usual format with Shaun Murphy playing as sweeper, leaving five forwards to take on a Kilkenny defence where Padraig Walsh not only made a number of fine catches but also drove forward at every opportunity.
Kilkenny led by 0-12 to 0-5 after 28 minutes before Wexford enjoyed a productive period which yielded four unanswered points.
Reid (free) and Leahy added two late points, taking Kilkenny’s advantage out to five points at the interval.
Kilkenny: D Brennan; J Holden, P Walsh, P Deegan; C Delaney, C Buckley (0-1), E Morrissey; J Maher (0-2), R Leahy (0-3); M Keoghan, TJ Reid (0-12, 0-9f, 0-1 ‘65’), P Lyng; J Donnelly (0-1), W Walsh (0-2), G Aylward (0-1).
Subs: L Scanlon for Keoghan (50), L Blanchfield for Lyng (50), L Ryan for Maher (63), A Murphy for Donnelly (67) O Walsh for Leahy (70).
Wexford: C O’Leary; C Firman, L Ryan, W Devereux; P Foley (0-5, 4f), M O’Hanlon, D O’Keeffe (0-1); K Foley (0-3), S Murphy; A Maddock, H Kehoe, J O’Connor; C Dunbar (0-2), C McDonald (0-1), R O’Connor (0-7, 4f, 1’65’))
Subs: P Morris for Kehoe (47), D Reck for Maddock (53), A Nolan for O’Keeffe (57), S Donohue for Firman (61),E Martin for K Foley (65).
Ref - J McGrath (Westmeath)