Wexford win Dioralyte Walsh cup final

Dioralyte Walsh Cup final

WEXFORD 1-21 GALWAY 0-16 By Paul Keane at Netwatch Cullen Park, Carlow

Three games into the Keith Rossiter era and Wexford already have a piece of silverware tucked away, the Dioralyte Walsh Cup title.

A terrific individual display from Lee Chin, who struck 0-9, helped the Model County to claim an 18th pre-season title while half-forward colleagues Jack O’Connor and James Byrne stood out too.

In their sixth consecutive pre-season final, Wexford led virtually from pillar to post in Carlow and will head into next weekend’s National League opener against Kilkenny in a confident frame of mind.

Their defence was solid throughout and restricted Henry Shefflin’s Galway to just nine points from open play.

Galway were chasing back to back titles though Shefflin won’t lose too much sleep over the defeat as he was without a host of regulars including his All-Ireland club title winning St Thomas’ players.

The Tribesmen will hope to bounce back with a win in their opening league game against Westmeath next Saturday in Salthill.

Both sides were experimental again with Wexford including only three starters – Jack O’Connor, Kevin Foley and Chin – from last year’s final Leinster championship game against Kilkenny.

Key men like Matthew O’Hanlon, Diarmuid O’Keeffe, Conor McDonald, Rory O’Connor and Liam Og McGovern were notable absentees.

As for Galway, they were still missing the St Thomas’ players, including David Burke, Conor Cooney and Fintan Burke, and there was no Daithi Burke, Joseph Cooney, Conor Whelan, Brian Concannon nor the Mannion brothers either.

It amounted to just five players – Eanna Murphy, Jack Grealish, Ronan Glennon, Gearoid McInerney and Kevin Cooney – that lined out for Galway in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Limerick.

They played second fiddle initially to a Wexfor side boosted by the late addition of Chin, wearing number 17, in attack.

He stroked over five first-half points as the Slaneysiders hit the interval with a 0-11 to 0-8 advantage.

Cian Byrne, returning to the venue where he struck 0-14 for Wexford in the 2023 Leinster U-20 final, oozed quality and struck two cracking points from play.

There were a couple of eye-catching scores from Corey Byrne Dunbar as well, another who played in that underage decider last May.

The crossfield wind appeared to favour Galway in the first-half though Wexford made light of it and Jack O’Connor won three frees that Chin converted.

They would have been further ahead only for a couple of Chin point attempts that struck the woodwork.

Kevin Cooney pulled off two terrific fetches in the air for Galway which led to back-to-back points in the 17th and 18th minutes but the Tribesmen never led.

The third quarter played out upon similar lines with Wexford keeping the throttle down and they extended their lead to six points by the 50th minute.

Chin pulled one puck-out from the air and slotted it over for the pick of the Wexford points. Both wing forwards for Wexford, O’Connor and James Byrne were on song and the team as a whole showed terrific levels of conditioning for January.

Galway needed at least a goal to rescue a result but it never looked like arriving and it was Wexford that finished strongly with Casey grabbing their goal in the 63rd minute. The Oylegate-Glenbrien man shrugged off Eoin Lawless and bore down on goal before finding the net.

Wexford scorers: Lee Chin 0-9 (0-5f), James Byrne 0-3, Seamus Casey 1-0, Corey Byrne Dunbar 0-3, Cian Byrne 0-2, Jack O’Connor 0-2, Richie Lawlor 0-1, Conor Hearne 0-1.

Galway scorers: Kevin Cooney 0-5 (0-4f), Tom Monaghan 0-3, Alex Connaire 0-2, Evan Niland 0-2 (0-2f), Sean O’Hanlon 0-1, Greg Thomas 0-1, Martin McManus 0-1, Donal O’Shea 0-1 (0-1 65).

Wexford: Aaron Duggan; Niall Murphy, Conor Foley, Eoin Ryan; Charlie McGuckin, Damien Reck, Cian Molloy; Conor Hearne, Corey Byrne Dunbar; Jack O’Connor, Lee Chin, James Byrne; Richie Lawlor, Cian Byrne, Kevin Foley.

Subs: Seamus Casey for Cian Byrne 56, Cathal Dunbar for Hearne 58, Simon Donohoe for Molloy 65, Jack Doran for Chin 67-69 blood, Doran for Lawlor 69, Darragh Carley for Kevin Foley 71.

Galway: Eanna Murphy; Jack Grealish, Eoin Lawless, Daniel Loftus; Ronan Glennon, Gearoid McInerney, David Concannon; Tiernan Killeen, Ian McGlynn; John Cooney, Tom Monaghan, Sean O’Hanlon; Alex Connaire, Kevin Cooney, Greg Thomas.

Subs: Gavin Lee for Killeen h/t, Cianan Fahy for Concannon h/t, Evan Niland for Kevin Cooney 46, Sean Linnane for O’Hanlon 49, Darren Morrissey for McGlynn 51, Martin McManus for Thomas 56, Donal O’Shea for Connaire 61,

Referee: Owen Beehan (Kilkenny).