Allianz HL D1A: Strong Wexford 2nd half sees off Cork
Allianz Hurling League Division 1A
Wexford 0-21 Cork 1-14
By Ronan Fagan at Innovate Wexford Park
Wexford outplayed Cork in the second-half at a raucous Innovate Wexford Park this afternoon to surge to back-to-back wins in Division 1A of the Allianz Hurling League.
Cork packed a serious threat during the first-half, but Wexford battled tenaciously to close to within 1-9 to 0-10 at half-time before producing a teak, tough defensive showing which laid the foundations for Davy Fitzgerald's men to celebrate as Cork boss John Meyler endured a frustrating return to his native-county.
Wexford could have made it easier as they hit eleven wides while asserting control after the break to back up their inspiring opening-round success over Waterford.
Lee Chin was prominent for Wexford with six first-half points, including the ice-breaker after four minutes, before they suffered an immediate sucker-punch when Conor Lehane capitalised upon a defensive slip to dash in from the left and find the net. Robbie O'Flynn and Seamus Harnedy extended the gap to 1-2 to 0-1 as wind-assisted Cork posed serious questions.
However, Conor O'Sullivan had to come to Cork's rescue when clearing off the line when Cathal Dunbar threatened to goal for Wexford, and Lee Chin converted the resultant '65 before flashing over three more scores as Wexford fought-back to within 1-6 to 0-7 after 25 minutes.
But the returning Pa Horgan responded three times – twice from frees – to maintain Cork's slight advantage, which was 1-9 to 0-10 at half-time as Conor McDonald and Kevin Foley kept Wexford hopes alive.
Early second-half scores from Conor Lehane and Alan Cadogan proved a false dawn for Cork as their threat was largely nullified subsequently by an authoritative Wexford rear-guard, which held the opposition scoreless for 23 second-half minutes while the Model County transformed matters when regaining the initiative by 0-16 to 1-11 after 56 minutes. Indeed, a crescendo of cheers amongst the 7,500 crowd greeted a series of scores from goalie Mark Fanning (free) and braces from Morris and nifty midfielder Kevin Foley.
Substitutes commanded attention for a spell as Michael Cahalane and Kingston were sprung from the Cork 'bench to help swing matters back in favour of the Rebels by the 63rd-minute (1-14 to 0-16), before Jack Guiney marked his introduction for Wexford by restoring parity for a third time. And Guiney added a monstrous free along with clinching additions form Aidan Nolan, Harry Kehoe and Diarmuid O'Keeffe.
Scorers for Wexford: Lee Chin 0-6 (2 fs, 1 '65), Kevin Foley, Aidan Nolan, Paul Morris 0-3, Jack Guiney 0-2 (1 f), Mark Fanning, Diarmuid O'Keeffe, Conor McDonald, Harry Kehoe 0-1.
Scorers for Cork: Conor Lehane 1-2 (0-1 f), Patrick Horgan 0-4 (3 fs), Alan Cadogan 0-2, Darragh Fitzgibbon, Robbie O Floinn, Bill Cooper, Seamus Harnedy, Shane Kingston, Michael Cahalane 0-1 each.
WEXFORD: Mark Fanning; Simon Donohoe, Liam Ryan, Damien Reck; Paudie Foley, Shaun Murphy, Diarmuid O’Keeffe; Kevin Foley, Matthew O’Hanlon; Jack O’Connor, Conor McDonald, Aidan Nolan; Paul Morris, Cathal Dunbar, Lee Chin. Subs: Willie Devereux for Damien Reck (28), Jack Guiney for Jack O'Connor (53), Harry Kehoe for Cathal Dunbar (blood-sub 61)
CORK: Patrick Collins; Sean O’Donoghue, Eoin Cadogan, Conor O'Sullivan; Christopher Joyce, Tim O’Mahony, Mark Ellis; Darragh Fitzgibbon, Daniel Kearney; Robbie O’Flynn, Conor Lehane, Bill Cooper; Alan Cadogan, Patrick Horgan, Seamus Harnedy. Subs: Luke Meade for Seamus Harnedy (ht), Brian Lawton for Darragh Fitzgibbon (48), Shane Kingston for Bill Cooper (48), Damien Cahalane for Daniel Kearney (blood-sub 54), Michael Cahalane for Patrick Horgan (60), Jack O'Connor for Alan Cadogan (68)
Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow).