Leinster SHC: Niland inspires Galway

Leinster Senior Hurling Championship

Galway 0-24 Wexford 2-12

By Cian O’Connell at Pearse Stadium

Despite conceding two goals in the first four minutes, Galway still cruised to a convincing win over Wexford in Salthill.

Prompted by the splendid Evan Niland, who rifled over seven sweet points from play, Galway dictated the third quarter to seize control.

Level at the interval, 0-11 to 2-5, Galway dominated after the restart with Niland an influential figure.

Either side of half-time Galway, came from three behind, to score 12 out of 13 points. That was when the damage happened with Wexford unable to recover.

In that spell, though, Wexford did miss an opportunity when trailing by 0-17 to 2-6, but Conor McDonald’s 45th minute penalty was saved by Eanna Murphy.

That was a crucial moment in a game that commenced with Wexford plundering two goals initially.

TJ Brennan thundered forward to mine a point for the locals, but then Darragh Egan’s outfit pounced.

Conor McDonald appeared to get a deft touch following a Liam Óg McGovern delivery in the second minute.

McGovern was causing Galway some bother adding a second goal almost immediately as Wexford edged five ahead.

Under duress Galway did manage to nail five of the next six points as the gap was trimmed significantly, 2-1 to 0-6.

Subsequently couple of frees from Rory O’Connor and two Cathal Dunbar efforts ensured Wexford were 2-5 to 0-8 ahead as the interval approached.

Crucially Henry Shefflin’s team struck three on the spin before the break courtesy of Niland (two frees) and Conor Cooney to level.

With the issue delicately poised, Galway pulled clear impressively when the action recommenced.

Niland was outstanding, while at the opposite end of the field Pádraic Mannion supplied leadership and class defensively.

Conor Whelan, Conor Cooney, and Brian Concannon contributed scores in Galway’s spell of supremacy.

When McDonald’s penalty was thwarted hope drained from Wexford’s challenge. Late on Galway’s conversion rate dipped dramatically illustrated by 0-24 from 41 attempts.

It didn’t matter too much, though, because a victory was secured ahead of next weekend’s intriguing trip to UPMC Nowlan Park.

Scorers for Galway: Evan Niland 0-13 (5fs, 165), Brian Concannon, Conor Whelan, and Conor Cooney 0-2 each, TJ Brennan, Cathal Mannion, Liam Collins, Ronan Glennon, and Kevin Cooney 0-1 each.

Scorers for Wexford: Rory O’Connor 0-5 (5fs), Liam Óg McGovern 1-2, Conor McDonald 1-0, Cathal Dunbar 0-2, Matthew O’Hanlon, Conor Hearne, and Jack O’Connor 0-1 each.

Galway: Eanna Murphy; TJ Brennan, Gearóid McInerney, Jack Grealish; Padraic Mannion, Daithí Burke, Joseph Cooney; Ronan Glennon, Cathal Mannion; Tom Monaghan, Conor Cooney, Brian Concannon; Evan Niland, Conor Whelan, Kevin Cooney.

Subs: Cianan Fahy for Concannon (56-58, temporary), Fintan Burke for J Cooney (58), Cianan Fahy for Glennon (61), Jason Flynn for Concannon (63), Liam Collins for Mannion (68), Darren Morrissey for Brennan (69).

Wexford: James Lawlor; Matthew O’Hanlon, Liam Ryan, Conor Devitt; Simon Donohoe, Conor Foley, Shane Reck; Diarmuid O’Keeffe, Conor Hearne; Oisín Foley, Rory O’Connor, Charlie McGuckin; Liam Óg McGovern, Conor McDonald, Cathal Dunbar.

Subs: Jack O’Connor for O Foley (22-26, temporary), Jack O’Connor for McGuckin (44), Mikie Dwyer for O’Keeffe (47), Richie Lawlor for O Foley (56), Kevin Foley for Hearne (61), Joe O’Connor for C Foley (70).

Referee: Seán Stack (Dublin).