Friday 19 January 2018

Jacob drags sluggish Model through

Wexford 4-12 Carlow 0-14

Dermot Crowe at Wexford Park

ODDS of 20/1 on a Carlow victory might appear generous given that these counties will be playing in the same league division next spring.

But there are layers upon layers when it comes to categorising hurling teams and Wexford were expected to dismiss a county whose form seemed to have dissipated. They did, but you'd love to have been the fly on Wexford's dressing-room wall at half-time when they led by just a goal having played with the wind.

In the Leinster Championship, Carlow showed little teeth in losing by seven points to Laois; the grisly dismemberments of Laois that followed set that performance in bleak relief. Throw in a few absentees through injury and emigration, and a recent hefty loss to the Kilkenny intermediates, and you will appreciate that Carlow's prospects didn't seem terribly bright.

They didn't read that particular script though and by half-time they were in contention. The goal dividing the teams was whipped home by Rory Jacob, one of the few Wexford hurlers to shine up to then, when Carlow should have cleared. They led for much of the half, reliant on frees by Marty Kavanagh, but they also picked off a few from play and should have had a goal when Kavanagh was clean through with just Eanna Martin to beat.

The favourites were not helped by poor shooting -- 11 first-half wides to Carlow's one, six more thereafter -- and while they tried to use the handpass and stitch together neat tapestries, often the fabric was lacking. There was no tempo or dander to their hurling. The exception was Jacob when moved to full-forward, where he immediately tested Shane Kavanagh for pace. Jacob was policed later by Killian McCabe, a more compact opponent, and he did reasonably well, but the Wexford sniper finished top scorer with 2-2 from play. Wexford didn't go in front until Jacob's goal four minutes from the interval. With the wind Carlow landed long balls into the Wexford full-back line after the interval but Matthew O'Hanlon dealt confidently with the aerial threat. A goal never looked likely.

Any prevailing notions of an upset soon ended. Jack Guiney had a goal after 42 minutes, taking a pass from Eoin Quigley, both introduced around half-time along with Gary Moore. Five minutes later Moore banged in a third and within a minute Jacob raced through for a fourth. There was no way back. Wexford go forward to the third phase knowing that this level of performance simply won't do.

Scorers -- Wexford: R Jacob 2-3, D Lyng 0-5 (0-4f), J Guiney, G Moore 1-0, D Redmond, H Kehoe, R Kehoe, G Sinnott 0-1 each. Carlow: M Kavanagh 0-8 (0-7f, 0-1 '65'), A Gaule 0-2, M Brennan, R Coady (f), D English, A McDonald 0-1.

Wexford: E Martin; E Moore, M O'Hanlon, K Rossiter; D Stamp, C Kenny, R Kehoe; D Redmond, H Kehoe; PJ Nolan, D Lyng, D O'Keeffe; P Morris, G Sinnott, R Jacob. Subs: J Guiney for Morris (29), E Quigley for Nolan (h-t) and G Moore for O'Keeffe (h-t), S Banville for H Kehoe (66), L McGovern for Redmond (67).

Carlow: F Foley; K McCabe, S Kavanagh, H P O'Byrne; J Corcoran, R Coady, E Coady; D English, JM Nolan; J Kavanagh, A Gaule, M Brennan; D Roberts, C Doyle, M Kavanagh.

Subs: R Smithers for Gaule (inj 49), A McDonald for Doyle (56), J Kane for J Kavanagh (59), B Tracey for Foley (63).

Referee: A Stapleton (Laois).

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