All-Ireland SHC Quarter-Final: Waterford too good for Wexford
All-Ireland SHC Quarter-Final
WATERFORD 1-23 WEXFORD 1-19
By John Harrington at Páirc Uí Chaoimh
It wasn’t the prettiest game of hurling in the world, but Waterford won’t mind, they’re through to the All-Ireland SHC Semi-Final.
After a tight, tactical battle, their greater overall cuteness and cutting edge in attack made them deserving victors over Wexford.
The win came with a cost though. Sweeper Tadhg De Búrca was red-carded in the second-half after an off-the-ball incident and is likely to be suspended for the All-Ireland Semi-Final.
That would be a massive blow for Declan McGrath’s team given how central De Búrca is to how they set up defensively.
He was rock-solid again in this match and Wexford never really managed to find a way to prise open the well organised Waterford defence on a consistent enough basis.
Davy Fitzgerald’s side showed a lot of tenacity to stay in the fight for as long as they did, but they never quite looked capable of finding a way to win it.
Once Waterford moved 0-8 to 0-4 ahead after the 17th minute, Wexford were chasing the game and that’s how it remained all the way to the finish.
They did manage to close the gap to the minimum by the 24th minute after hitting three points in quick succession through Lee Chin, Paul Morris, and Diarmuid O’Keeffe, but that’s the closest they would get.
Waterford upped the ante again after that and struck a really decisive blow just before half-time when the influential Kevin Moran goaled.
It was something of a self-inflicted wound as far as Wexford were concerned.
Eoin Moore’s attempted pass along the ground was miscued and Shane Bennett reacted smartly to intercept the ball and put through Kevin Moran behind the suddenly out of position Wexford defence.
Moran still had a lot to do, but he kept his cool to direct a low ground stroke to the net past the advancing Mark Fanning.
A five-point lead at half-time was a significant one in a game where sweepers and massed defences ensured a claustrophobic sort of contest, littered with rucks and turnovers.
Wexford did start the second-half strongly, scoring the first three points, but after that Waterford reasserted themselves and hit back with three of their own.
After that, no matter how hard they tried, Wexford couldn’t really land a heavy blow on the De Burca marshalled Deise defence, and they also struggled to contain an increasingly influential Austin Gleeson at the other end of the field.
Waterford’s bench also had a major bearing on the contest. Maurice Shanahan gave them a real focal point in attack and two points from him pushed his team six points ahead by the 60th minute.
Wexford never really looked like reeling them in from there, even when De Búrca was red-carded with four minutes of normal time remaining.
Two points from another lively Waterford substitute, Brian O’Halloran, made the game safe, and a late Wexford goal from Jack O’Connor was nothing more than a consolation.
*Scorers for Waterford: *Pauric Mahony 0-9 (0-9f), Kevin Moran 1-3, Austin Gleeson 0-3 (0-1f), Brian O’Halloran, Maurice Shanahan 0-2 each, Conor Gleeson, Jake Dillon, Michael Walsh, Darragh Fives 0-1 each.
*Scorers for Wexford: *Jack Guiney 0-6 (0-6f), Jack O’Connor 1-2, Lee Chin 0-3 (0-2f), Diarmuid O’Keeffe 0-2, Liam Ryan, Aidan Nolan, Conor McDonald, Paul Morris, Eoin Moore, Rory O’Connor 0-1 each.
WATERFORD: Stephen O'Keeffe; Shane Fives, Barry Coughlan, Noel Connors; Darragh Fives, Tadhg De Búrca, Philip Mahony; Jamie Barron, Conor Gleeson; Kevin Moran, Austin Gleeson, Pauric Mahony; Jake Dillon, Michael Walsh, Shane Bennett. Subs: Maurice Shanahan for Jake Dillon (44), Brian O’Halloran for Shane Bennett (46), Stephen Bennett for Michael Walsh (54), Colin Dunford for Jamie Barron (62), Tommy Ryan for Pauric Mahony (71)
*WEXFORD: *Mark Fanning; Willie Devereux, Liam Ryan, James Breen; Eoin Moore, Matthew O'Hanlon, Diarmuid O'Keeffe; Shaun Murphy, David Redmond; Rory O'Connor, Lee Chin, Conor McDonald; Podge Doran, Jack Guiney, Paul Morris. *Subs: *Aidan Nolan for David Redmond (28), Jack O’Connor for Paul Morris (41), Harry Kehoe for Conor McDonald (58), Shane Tomkins for Podge Doran (63)
Referee: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)