Galway 2-10 Wexford 2-13
Wexford pulled off a well deserved win in what was the most intensely contested senior hurling championship match this season. Galway lined out with Dubliner, Liam Rushe, at corner forward and would have been considered the slight favourites to take the points. Wexford worked very hard for the 60 minutes and got break of sorts for a late first half goal, but had to stand firm to hold out Galway in the final minutes and preserve the victory.
|Galway's Brian Watkins Pursued by Jamie Kehoe|
and Michael Maloney.
At the end of the first half Wexford surprisingly held an eight point lead. Galway conceded two goals, both from dead balls. On the first occasion Paudie Kehoe fired the ball into the corner of the net from inside the 45. The second was a dropping ball into the box delivered from the opposite side of the field that seemed to slip past a clash of hurls and into the net. Wexford were the more fired up of the teams and played with that bit more intensity than their opponents. Michael Moloney, Eoghan Kavanagh, and Kehoe all found the mark while for Galway Kevin Canty put a couple of neat scores over the bar. Liam Rush and Gunian also pointed for Galway. Galway switched Barry McNamara from midfield for Cian McBride late in the half in an effort to sway the game to their advantage,and McBride did reasonably well. The question at the break was whether Wexford could keep it going for another 30 minutes.
|Barry McNamara and Paudie Keogh Clash for the High Ball|
Wexford continued to work hard in the second half, especially when the Galway back line were trying to clear the ball. Paudie Kehoe took advantage on one occasion and what looked initially like a Galway clearance ended up a Wexford point. Galway, however, got right back into the game with two goals in the space of 5 minutes. The first came from Stephen Brown who fired in from the 14 yard line. The second was the result of some perceptive play by Cian McBride. The Dubliner got free on the far side of the field and had a go from long range. The shot was saved by Spruhan, but Moylan was on had at the far post to put the ball away. Wexford found the going tougher as Galway stepped up the tempo. Brown, Watkins, and Cian Kelly at the back cleared their lines well, while Seamus Corry kept it going in the middle of the field. Guinan popped over a couple of frees as Wexford were forced to foul on occasion with the backs under pressure. The Slaneysiders did manage to keep their noses in front as they capitalized on the chances they had. Paudie Kehoe pointed three times from frees down the stretch and with time almost up there was still a three point difference, and a hugely exciting finish was setup. Galway won a 21 yard free as John Moylan was fouled, and Michael Walsh received a yellow card. Guinan went for goal and the ball was stopped, but then a schmozzle ensued in which Walsh received a second yellow and Wexford were a man down. There was more dramatics as Galway were hell bent on getting the equalizing goal, and at least three times there were goalmouth dramatics as the Wexford men held firm on the line. Ed Spruhan kept his composure on a couple of occasions to save well from goalbound shots, during all of which Liam Rushe received his marching orders for a dangerous pull. Wexford managed to hold out and judging by the reaction at the final whistle, were very satisfied following the win over their Brighton rivals.
Referee: Jason Long (Corcaigh)
Man of the Match: Ed Spruhan (Wexford)
Galway: M. Mulrooney, D. Shaw, C. Kelly, B. Watkins, S. Nolan, J. Kinsella, S. Corry, B. McNamara, E. Guinan, J. Moylan, S. Brown, L. Rush, K. Canty. Wexford: E. Spruhan, M. Walsh, D. Redmond, B. O’Connor, P. Nolan, B. Dalton, T. Moloney, J. O’Neill, J. Kehoe, E. Kavanagh, P. Kehoe, P. Cody, M. Moloney.
By Rory O'Donnell