Resurgent Wexford rock Rebels
Wexford 0-23 Cork 1-17
What a win for Wexford. From the gloom of a hammering by Dublin in May to this fine win over Cork in Thurles last night that sends them to an All-Ireland quarter-final against Galway or the losers of today's Munster final.
They were brilliant all through, hurling hard and working for each other with Conor McDonald in superb form as he scored 13 points. Lee Chin and Paudie Foley gave McDonald great support as the team rose to the challenge of putting their summer on track. And when the game was there to be won, Liam McGovern came up with two superb points to seal victory.
Cork were second best all through. Clearly the lack of success at under-age level, evident again this year, is pulling the Rebels down.
Even if they had somehow pulled this out of the fire there was the sense they would have been living on borrowed time. There was so much not to like about what the men in red produced yesterday. Their passing, their shooting for points, were miles off the mark of what would have been needed in the quarter-final.
The writing was on the wall early; Cork had been in big trouble as half-time neared, trailing by six points. Wexford were doing nothing special, just hurling hard and to a game-plan of limiting the space for the speedy Cork forwards to run into. Poor discipline cost the Rebels, as the magnificent McDonald converting six frees in all, some of them rashly conceded.
Two fine points from Conor Lehane and a Patrick Horgan free hauled Cork back into the contest just before the break. But it had been a poor half from Kieran Kingston's team, who went a full 20 minutes without scoring and who were tossing away possession of the sliotar with poor deliveries. They also shot 11 wides, with Wexford proving far more economical, missing just twice when they went for scores.
Everyone in Thurles expected Cork to come out firing for the second period as they would have a decent breeze at their back. But Wexford stuck to their men and wouldn't give Cork any room.
A 52nd-minute chance for Wexford corner-forward David Dunne to get the game's first goal seemed to be a turning point. He shot wide from a tight angle when a first-time swing from in front of goal might have served him better. Dunne kicked another great goal chance wide. Cork looked to make a significant statement when they struck for a goal. Paudie Foley had been superb for Wexford at centre-back, but he let a high delivery slip through his fingers and Lehane put sub Daniel Kearney in for the goal that put Cork ahead.
Yet, Wexford were not for lying down. Chin led his team forward with two great points. And then McGovern came into the match. Usually a livewire wing-forward, he had been quiet. But as the rain tipped down in Tipp, he stepped up with those two fine scores that eased his team into the All-Ireland quarter-final.
Scorers - Wexford: C McDonald 0-13, L Chin 0-4, L McGovern 0-2, E Moore, J O'Connor, P Morris, M Fanning 0-1 each. Cork: P Horgan 0-7, C Lehane, L O'Farrell 0-3 each, D Kearney 1-0, B Cooper, W Egan, A Cadogan, S Harnedy 0-1 each.
Wexford: M Fanning; E Moore, M O'Hanlon, J Breen; D O'Keeffe, P Foley, E Martin; J O'Connor, E Conroy; L McGovern, L Chin, P Doran; P Morris, C McDonald, D Dunne. Subs: H Kehoe for Doran (34), A Kenny for Martin (43), S Donohoe for O'Connor (64).
Cork: A Nash; S McDonnell, D Cahalane, C O'Sullivan; M Ellis, C Joyce, A Walsh; B Cooper, W Egan; L O'Farrell, J Cronin, C Lehane; A Cadogan, S Harnedy, P. Horgan. Subs: D Kearney for Cronin (31), B Lawton for Cooper (54), S Kingston for Harnedy (60), C Murphy for Joyce (63).
Referee: B Kelly (Westmeath).
Sunday Indo Sport