Paudie Foley led a strong second-half showing from Wexford as Davy Fitzgerald's men edged out an understrength Kilkenny side to book their place in next week’s Walsh Cup final.
t was a lack-lustre affair from start to finish with the first half played at a pedestrian pace in Bellefield as Wexford continued to utilise an extra defender with Kevin Foley getting on plenty of possession as sweeper.
Kilkenny slowly got to grips with his positioning after the first quarter but it was nip and tuck until the closing minutes of the half when two Kevin Kelly frees saw Brian Cody's Cats hold a two-point lead at the break, 0-8 to 0-6.
A skirmish upon the resumption saw Wexford's Jack O’Connor and Kilkenny's Liam Blanchfield both given their marching orders and it looked like Wexford would rue a string of missed frees.
The Model men tried six different free-takers but when they settled on Foley, they began to make hay with the towering centre-back on the mark six times from a variety of distances and also sending over a fine effort from play
Martin Keoghan was the only Kilkenny forward offering any resistance and not even the introduction of former Hurler of the Year Richie Hogan could help their cause against a stubborn Wexford defence.
Diarmuid O'Keeffe and Aidan Nolan fired over good points midway through the half to open up a three-point-lead, 0-14 to 0-11, and it was a lead they would hold until the end with neither side threatening the opposition goalkeeper.
Victory sees Wexford book their Walsh Cup final place against Galway next Sunday at a Wexford venue.
SCORERS – Wexford: P Foley 0-7 (6f), H Kehoe 0-3f, I Byrne, A Nolan J O’Connor (f), C McDonald (f), S Casey (f), D O’Keeffe 0-1 each.
Kilkenny: K Kelly 0-5 (4f), M Keoghan 0-2, C Delaney, C Fogarty, L Scanlon, R Hogan (f), G Malone, P Deegan 0-1 each.
WEXFORD – E Martin; S Reck, L Ryan, C Firman; S Donohoe, P Foley, S Murphy; A Nolan, D O’Keeffe; H Kehoe, K Foley, I Byrne; D Dunne, C Dunbar, C McDonald.
Subs: L Óg McGovern for Kehoe and J O’Connor for Byrne (both half-time), S Casey for Murphy (50 blood), Murphy for Casey (blood 51), Casey for Dunne (59), D Byrne for Murphy (63).
KILKENNY – D Brennan; R Lennon, H Lawlor, T Walsh; C Delaney, P Deega, E Morrissey; J Cleere, C Fogarty; G Malone, M Keoghan, L Blanchfield; K Kelly, J Donnelly, L Scanlon.
Subs: P Murphy for Cleere (half-time), R Hogan for Kelly (46), N Brassil for Scanlon (65).
REF ��� J Keenan (Wicklow)