Tuesday 24 April 2018

Wexford rock the Rebels for first win over Cork in 60 years

Wexford 0-23 Cork 1-17

John Brennan

What a win for Wexford. From the gloom of a hammering by Dublin in May to this fine win over Cork in Thurles that sends them to an All-Ireland quarter-final against Galway or the losers of tomorrow’s Munster Final in a fortnight’s time.

They were brilliant all through, hurling hard and working for each other with Conor McDonald in superb form as he scored a total of 13 points.

Lee Chin and Paudie Foley gave McDonald great support as the team rose to the challenge of putting their summer on track.

When the game was there to be won, Liam McGovern came up with two superb points to seal the win.

Wexford’s supporters didn’t expect much from their team, that was evident too in the paltry Wexford support in Semple Stadium this evening.

Normally Wexford hurling people are among the finest attendees in the land.

For this game, they voted with their feet and stayed away and how they will regret missing this sterling effort from their boys.

Cork were second best all through.

Clearly the lack of success at under-age level, evident again this year, is pulling the Red Rebels down.

Even if they had somehow pulled this out of the fire there was the awful sense that they would have been living on borrowed time.

They beat Dublin last weekend, but would they have done so if Dublin had not had to play with 14 men for 40 minutes?

There was so much not to like about what the men in red produced today.

Their passing and 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 as Cork had been in big trouble as half-time neared and they trailed by six points.

Wexford were doing nothing special, just hurling hard and to a game plan.

They were also capitalising on indiscipline in the Rebels’ back-line with the magnificent McDonald converting six frees in all, some of them rashly conceded by Cork backs when there was no danger at all to their goal.

But 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 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 no. Wexford stuck to their men like leeches 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 chance wide but the goal eventually came - at the other end.

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, on this evening, 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.

Cork- A. Nash; S. McDonnell, D. Cahalane, C. O’Sullivan; M. Ellis, C. Joyce, A. Walsh; B. Cooper (0-1), W. Egan (0-1); L. O’Farrell (0-3), J. Cronin, C. Lehane (0-3); A. Cadogan (0-1), S. Harnedy (0-1), P. Horgan (0-7). Subs- D. Kearney (1-0) for Cronin 31mins B. Lawton for Cooper 54mins S. Kingston for Harnedy 60mins C. Murphy for Joyce 63mins


Wexford- M. Fanning (0-1); E. Moore (0-1), M. O’Hanlon, J. Breen; D. O’Keeffe, P. Foley, E. Martin; J. O’Connor (0-1), E. Conroy; L. McGovern (0-2), L. Chin (0-4), P. Doran; P. Morris (0-1), C. McDonald (0-12), D. Dunne. Subs- H. Kehoe for Doran 34mins A. Kenny for Martin 43mins S. Donohoe for O’Connor 64mins


Referee- B. Kelly (Westmeath)

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