Tuesday 23 October 2018

Wexford earn their first league win over Cork since 2011 in pulsating game

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1A Round 2 match between Wexford and Cork at Innovate Wexford Park, in Wexford. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1A Round 2 match between Wexford and Cork at Innovate Wexford Park, in Wexford. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Vincent Hogan

Vincent Hogan

A defiant Wexford came storming from behind to record their first National League win over Cork in seven years at a pulsating Innovate Wexford Park.

Davy Fitzgerald's men restricted the Munster champions to a paltry three points in the closing half hour to ease away to a victory that almost certainly secures their Division 1A status for another season. It was a magnificent secoind-half display from the Wexford men who trailed by two points at the interval.

Cork were off to a flier inside five minutes when Conor Lehane danced around Matthew O'Hanlon to goal easily and, seconds later, the Midleton man was racing in on an unprotected Wexford 'square' again only for Mark Fanning to intervene with a splendid save.

Fitzgerald could be seen in an animated exchange with 'sweeper', Shaun Murphy, whose job it was to buttress Wexford's defence in the face of precisely these kind of Lehane runs.

The Wexford backs did eventually settle, but they were struggling in midfield and their two man full-forward line of Cathal Dunbar and Paul Morris was getting little change out of the Cork defence.

Lehane, meanwhile, carried a threat whenever in possession and he set up Seamus Harnedy for a 10th minute point that eased Cork into a 1-2 to 0-1 advantage.

Lee Chin was becoming an increasingly influential figure around the middle however and his wonderful fetch and score on 20 minutes narrowed the margin to two points.

If Cork's stickwork was marginally the better, they could not use a distinct wind advantage to pull clear of opponents who were fighting for every ball but, routinely, taking the wrong option with short hand-passes into congested areas of the field.

Another magnificent Chin score on 26 minutes kept Wexford's challenge intact and they finished the half strongest with further points from Conor McDonald and Kevin Foley to reach the interval trailing by just two points, 0-10 to 1-9.

With the wind to come, Davy Fitz would probably have been content with that.

But he would have been perturned by an early accumulation of sides from his team that had reached eight within seventeen minutes of the resumption, allowing Cork stay in a game that their hurling no longer merited.

He needn't have worried though as Wexford reeled off the last five scores of the game to run out deserving four points winners in the end.

SCORERS: Wexford - L Chin 0-6 (0-2 frees, 0-1 65), A Nolan, K Foley and P Morris 0-3 each, J Guiney 0-2 (0-1 free), M Fanning 0-1 free, D O'Keeffe, C McDonald and H Kehoe 0-1 each.

Cork - C Lehan 1-2 (0-1 free), P Horgan 0-4, (0-3 frees), A Cadogan 0-02, D Fitzgibbon, S Kingston, R O'Floinn, B Cooper, S Harnedy and M Cahalane 0-1 each.

WEXFORD: M Fanning, D Reck, L Ryan, S Murphy, P Foley, M O'Hanlon, S Donohoe, K Foley, D O'Keeffe, A Nolan, L Chin, J O'Connor, P Morris, C Dunbar, C McDonald. Subs - W Devereux for Reck (28 mins), J Guiney for O'Connor (53 mins), H Kehoe for Dunbar (61 mins).

CORK: P Collins, S O'Donoghue, E Cadogan, C O'Sullivan, C Joyce, T O'Mahony, M Ellis, D Fitzgibbon, D Kearney, R O'Floinn, C Lehane, B Cooper, A Cadogan, P Horgan, S Harnedy. L Meade for Harnedy (half-time), S Kingston for Cooper (46 mins), B Lawton for Fitzgibbon (46 mins), D Cahalane for Kearney (55 mins), M Cahalane for Horgan (60 mins), J O'Connor for Cadogan (69 mins).

Referee - J Keenan (Wicklow)

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