Leinster SHC Final: Galway blitz Wexford
Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Final GALWAY 0-29 WEXFORD 1-17 By Paul Keane at Croke Park
Conor Cooney's exhibition of high fielding and score-taking propelled All-Ireland favourites Galway to Leinster SHC title success at Croke Park, just the county's second provincial win.
Cooney was terrific and finished up with a tremendous eight points, seven of which came from play, while free-taker Joe Canning converted 10 placed balls on the afternoon.
Joseph Cooney and Niall Burke picked off some excellent scores too as Galway, who led by three points at half-time, burned off Wexford in the second-half with their greater physical conditioning and attacking nous.
The Allianz league winners will move on to the All-Ireland semi-finals as favourites for the title outright with their big players once again coming up trumps on the big stage.
Wexford had hoped to cap a fairytale few months that saw them earn promotion to Division 1A and reach a rare provincial final with a precious piece of silverware but couldn't match Galway in a feverish second-half.
It's not the end of the line for Davy Fitzgerald's men though as they have an All-Ireland quarter-final at the redeveloped Pairc Ui Chaoimh to look forward to later this month.
The Model County started well and gave as good as they got in the first 30 minutes or so, retaining a slender 0-11 to 0-10 advantage at that stage.
Captain Lee Chin was a totemic figure for them, winning one hard fought free before drilling it over from a huge distance out to roars of approval from the large Wexford crowd.
Moments earlier, Jack O'Connor had performed a courageous block on Padraic Mannion that left him with a bloodied hand but summed up Wexford's immense desire.
The league semi-finalists seemed to come out on top in much of the early loose ball and picked off points from some outrageous angles.
Conor McDonald scored two beauties from long range and Diarmuid O'Keeffe cut in between two Galway defenders on the left before splitting the posts from a tight angle.
Matthew O'Hanlon marked Galway centre-forward Canning and outscored him from play.
Galway got most joy out of Cooney who scored four first-half points, the first three of which came off Willie Devereux before Simon Donohoe was moved onto him.
Cooney's fourth of the half in the 30th minute began a burst of four Galway points in a row that nudged them 0-14 to 0-11 clear at the break.
Wexford ultimately lost the game in the 15 minutes after the restart when everything went against them.
A McDonald point that was initially awarded by the umpire was ruled out by Hawk-Eye. Then McDonald's tame shot from a 40th minute penalty was turned around the post by Galway 'keeper Colm Callanan.
Galway's response was emphatic; seven unanswered points and an exhibition of high fielding from Niall Burke and Conor and Joseph Cooney who all picked off great scores.
Suddenly, Galway led 0-21 to 0-12 and even a 1-1 blast form Wexford, including a 53rd minute O'Keeffe goal, only briefly halted their momentum.
Five more Galway points without response from a besieged Wexford put the result beyond doubt.
By now, Niall Burke had emerged as a prominent forward for Galway though Joseph Cooney picked off the best of the late scores, a terrific effort from a tight angle out on the right wing.
*Scorers for Galway: *Joe Canning 0-10 (0-8f, 0-1 65, 0-1 s/l), Conor Cooney 0-8 (0-01f), Joseph Cooney 0-5, Niall Burke 0-2, Padraic Mannion 0-1, David Burke 0-1, Shane Maloney 0-1, Thomas Monaghan 0-1.
Scorers for Wexford: Conor McDonald 0-5 (0-3f), Diarmuid O'Keeffe 1-1, Lee Chin 0-4 (0-2f, 1 65), Paul Morris 0-2, Matthew O'Hanlon 0-2, Jack O'Connor 0-1, Willie Devereux 0-1, Cathal Dunbar 0-1.
*GALWAY: *Colm Callanan; Adrian Tuohy, Daithi Burke, Aidan Harte; Padraic Mannion, Gearoid McInerney, John Hanbury; Johnny Coen, David Burke; Joseph Cooney, Joe Canning, Jason Flynn; Conor Whelan, Conor Cooney, Niall Burke
Subs: Thomas Monaghan for Flynn (31), Shane Maloney for Canning 67, Greg Lally for J Cooney 68, Sean Loftus for P Mannion (72).
WEXFORD: Mark Fanning; Liam Ryan, Willie Devereux, James Breen; Simon Donohoe, Matthew O'Hanlon, Diarmuid O'Keeffe; Lee Chin, Jack O'Connor; Paul Morris, Aidan Nolan, Conor McDonald; Shaun Murphy, Jack Guiney, Harry Kehoe.
Subs: David Redmond for O'Connor (h/t), Eoin Moore for Donohoe (47), Cathal Dunbar for Kehoe (53), Shane Tomkins for Nolan (63).
Ref: Colm Lyons (Cork).