Under-strength Cats edged out by Wexford in fiery Walsh Cup semi-final
Wexford 0-16 Kilkenny 0-13
AN under-strength Kilkenny side were edged out by Davy Fitzgerald’s Wexford in a fiery Walsh Cup senior hurling semi-final.
Sharpshooter Paudie Foley proved to be the difference between the sides as Wexford overturned a 0-10 to 0-9 deficit after 44 minutes to secure a home-date against Galway in next weekend’s tournament-decider.
Overall it was a poor game from start to finish with the first half played at a pedestrian pace as Wexford continued to utilise an extra defender, with sweeper Kevin Foley seeing plenty of possession.
Kilkenny slowly got to grips after the first quarter and two Kevin Kelly frees saw Brian Cody’s side hold a two-point lead going into the break.
A skirmish just after the whistle blew on the second half saw Kilkenny’s Liam Blanchfield and Wexford’s Jack O’Connor 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.
Wexford: Eanna Martin; Shane Reck, Liam Ryan, Conor Firman; Simon Donohoe, Pádraig Foley (0-7, 6 frees), Shaun Murphy; Aidan Nolan (0-1), Diarmuid O’Keeffe (0-1); Harry Kehoe (0-3 frees), Kevin Foley, Ian Byrne (0-1); David Dunne, Cathal Dunbar, Conor McDonald (0-1 free).
Subs: Liam Óg McGovern (St Anne’s) for Byrne (ht); Jack O’Connor (0-1 free) for Kehoe (ht); Seamus Casey (0-1 free) for Nolan (temp., 49); S Casey for Dunne (51); Darren Byrne (Blackwater) for S Murphy (63).
Kilkenny: Darren Brennan, Robert Lennon, Huw Lawlor, Tommy Walsh; Conor Delaney (0-1), Paddy Deegan (0-1), Enda Morrissey; Jason Cleere, Conor Fogarty (0-1); Ger Malone (0-1), Martin Keoghan (0-1), Liam Blanchfield; Kevin Kelly (0-5, 4 frees), John Donnelly, Luke Scanlon (0-1).
Subs: Paul Murphy for Cleere (ht); Richie Hogan (0-1 free) for Kelly (46); Niall Brassil for Scanlon (65).