Leinster SHC: Wexford claim big win over Galway

Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Round 3


By Ronan Fagan at Chadwicks Wexford Park

Wexford gave their Leinster Senior hurling qualification hopes a much needed shot in the arm with victory over Galway at sunny Chadwicks Wexford Park.

Defeat to Antrim had left the purple and gold vulnerable to dropping out of the race and into the relegation decider.

But with Liam Ryan bolstering a formidable defence in his first appearance of the season, Keith Rossiter’s charges delivered the goods.

In fact, this was Wexford’s first championship victory over Galway in the province since the Tribesmen entered the Leinster championship in 2009 – Galway having won five and drawn two of the previous seven meetings.

Wexford had accounted for Henry Shefflin’s men earlier in the year in the Walsh Cup decider, and before a crowd just in excess of 6,000 the purple and gold produced a perfectly balanced display to again deny Galway.

But Wexford know they still have work to do ahead of back-to-back away games – Carlow on May 19th and Kilkenny a week later.

Galway loom large in the chase for the Leinster final with fixtures away to Antrim on May 18th before hosting Dublin.

But they must attend to some attacking shortcomings having seen their forwards well contained by Wexford’s resolute defence.

While free-taker Evan Niland pointed Galway into a quick-fire lead, Wexford almost stung the Tribesmen for a goal when midfielder Conor Hearne was sent haring through by Cian Byrne only to flash across the face of the town-end goal.

The sides were tied on four occasions inside the first fourteen minutes, with Galway appearing to gain an edge when leading 0-4 to 0-2 through defender Cianan Fahy and Conor Cooney.

But the imperious Lee Chin together with Conor Hearne and ‘keeper Mark Fanning (free) had Wexford on terms on 0-5 apiece.

And Wexford had bridged the gap while without Chin for a few minutes – as he received attention for a facial injury – before the talismanic Faythe Harrier returned to contribute towards extending Wexford’s surge.

They stretched ahead by 0-9 to 0-5 after 21 minutes as Conor McDonald, Chin (free), centre-back Damien Reck and Rory O’Connor amplified their vibrant display.

But Galway were mixing things up too as they reclaimed parity after 26 minutes (0-9 apiece) through Ronan Glennon, free-taker Niland, Conor Whelan and Gavin Lee.

Chin (two) and Rory O’Connor – the latter a particular thorn in Galway’s side – boosted home ambitions as Wexford extended clear by 0-13 to 0-11.

But three closing Evan Niland frees helped Galway maintain considerable interest when breaking in arrears by just 0-15 to 0-13.

Wexford darted into a 1-15 to 0-13 lead five minutes after the resumption when Rory O’Connor claimed an assist from midfielder Richie Lawlor before driving a low shot to the net off the ‘keeper’s hurl.

While Wexford misfired somewhat – with ten of the game’s fourteen wides at this stage – they delivered sufficiently, and ‘keeper Fanning (free), Liam Óg McGovern, Cian Byrne, Chin (free) and Rory O’Connor swelled their lead to 1-20 to 0-16 after 49 minutes.

Alarm was sparked though for Wexford when Cian Byrne’s high challenge on newly introduced Galway sub Donal O’Shea yielded a straight red-card on 51 minutes.

However, after an exchange of scores, Wexford went close to a second goal when sub Cathal Dunbar’s initial effort was blocked by Daithí Burke before Rory O’Connor’s follow-up ground stroke was deflected for a ‘65 pointed by Chin (1-22 to 0-18).

Galway hung on to hope when closing to within 1-23 to 0-21 with scores from Tom Monaghan, Gavin Lee and Niland (free).

But there was a defiance about Wexford combined with dashes of real quality upfront, Rory O’Connor chief among those as he added two closing gems to complete a potentially significant result for the Model County.

Scorers for Wexford: Lee Chin 0-11 (7 frees, 1 ’65), Rory O’Connor 1-6, Mark Fanning (frees), Conor McDonald, Cian Byrne 0-2 each, Conor Hearne, Damien Reck, Liam Óg McGovern, Conor Foley, Cathal Dunbar 0-1 each

Scorers for Galway: 0-11 (10 frees), Conor Cooney (one free), Gavin Lee, Tom Monaghan 0-2 each, Brian Concannon, Cianan Fahy, Conor Whelan, Ronan Glennon, Padraic Mannion, Declan McLoughlin 0-1 each

Wexford: Mark Fanning; Matthew O’Hanlon, Liam Ryan, Shane Reck; Conor Foley, Damien Reck, Eoin Ryan; Conor Hearne, Richie Lawlor; Jack O’Connor, Rory O’Connor, Cian Byrne; Liam Óg McGovern, Lee Chin, Conor McDonald. Subs: Mikie Dwyer for Chin (temp. 13-16), Cathal Dunbar for J. O’Connor (38), Mikie Dwyer for McDonald (69).

Galway: Darach Fahy; Padraic Mannion, Fintan Burke, Jack Grealish; Gearóid McInerney, Cianan Fahy, Daithí Burke; Tom Monaghan, Ronan Glennon; Gavin Lee, Evan Niland, Joseph Cooney; Conor Whelan, Conor Cooney, Brian Concannon. Subs: Donal O’Shea for Glennon (48), Adrian Tuohey for Grealish (48), Jonathan Glynn for O’Shea, inj. (51), Jason Flynn for McInerney (65), Declan McLoughlin for Concannon (69).

Referee: Seán Stack (Dublin).