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Electric Ireland MHC: Wexford triumph in Thurles

A general view of FBD Semple Stadium. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

A general view of FBD Semple Stadium. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Electric Ireland Minor Hurling Championship Preliminary Quarter-Final

Wexford 2-16 Cork 1-10

By Stephen Barry at FBD Semple Stadium

Seán O’Brien racked up 1-9 as Wexford overpowered Cork to advance to the Electric Ireland All-Ireland quarter-finals, eliminating the Rebels.

The Model County played into a strong wind in the first half, but with near-perfect shooting, went in with a six-point lead.

That cushion was never closed as Cork trailed by 12 until Joe Twohig’s consolation goal with the final puck.

John Meyler opted for four changes down the spine of his team in goalkeeper Adam Lee (Carrigtwohill), full-back Donagh Fleming, midfielder Oisín O’Connell, and full-forward Eoghan O’Shea. All bar O’Connell were making their first appearances of the campaign and Colm Garde would become their fourth newcomer when introduced at half-time.

Cork played with the wind and they manufactured an early two-point lead with scores from Adam Lee (Cloyne), O’Connell, and a Mark O’Brien free.

But Wexford gained supremacy around the middle and were efficient with their shooting. Their attack revolved around Seán O’Brien as he struck two points and set up Colin Carley for another to lead.

Mark O’Brien levelled with a free, but Wexford got their goal in the 21st minute. Darren Rossiter broke Cathal Sinnott’s delivery down for Seán O’Brien and he took a big hit before offloading for Adam O’Connell Byrne. Lee got his hurley to it but the shot had enough power to roll over the line. 1-4 to 0-4.

After a Mark O’Brien response, Wexford reeled off the next four, including three from Seán O’Brien and one from Carley.

Michael Brosnan and Seán O’Brien traded points to leave it 1-9 to 0-6 at half-time. A model of accurate shooting from Wexford into the wind with a 91% conversion rate from 11 shots.

They carried that momentum and the breeze into the second half with two Seán O’Brien frees and an O’Connell Byrne point. Cork hit back with three of their own, made up of two from play by Mark O’Brien and one from substitute Leo Hennessy.

There was great defending at either end by Sinnott and Liam Kelleher (twice) to prevent goal chances.

The opportunities kept coming for Cork. Paddy Quigley saved a close-range Mark O’Brien free. Peter Barrett flashed a shot wide. Ian Reilly courageously blocked a Brosnan effort with his head.

Wexford almost had one but for an incredible Lee save to redirect Rhys Wickham’s first-touch flick over the bar.

But when Wickham turned over the sliotar and sent Seán O’Brien into space in the first minute of stoppage time, there was no stopping his rocket to the net.

Cork got their consolation with the final play. Hennessy did the hard running, Barrett’s shot was deflected onto the crossbar by Eoin Hughes, but Joe Twohig followed in to finish.

Scorers for Wexford: Seán O’Brien 1-9 (5fs), Adam O’Connell Byrne 1-2, Colin Carley 0-3, Jack Nolan and Rhys Wickham 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cork: Mark O’Brien 0-6 (4fs), Joe Twohig 1-0, Oisín O’Connell, Michael Brosnan, Adam Lee (Cloyne), and Leo Hennessy 0-1 each.

Wexford: Paddy Quigley; Ben Harpur, Eoin Hughes, Ian Reilly; Oisín Moore, Ryan Donohoe, Cathal Sinnott; Jack Nolan, Kevin O’Mahony; Conor Fleming, Jack Dunne, Colin Carley; Darren Rossiter, Adam O’Connell Byrne, Seán O’Brien.

Subs: Jamie Kennedy for Rossiter (36, inj), Seán Hyland for O’Connell Byrne (48), Paddy Keavey for Moore (52), Rhys Wickham for Fanning (57), Peter Wickham for Carley (60+1).

Cork: Adam Lee (Carrigtwohill); Cian Denis O’Connor, Donagh Fleming, Liam Kelleher; Kevin Beechinor, Conor Noonan, John Murphy; Oisín O’Connell, Jack Hegarty; Michael Brosnan, Mark O’Brien, Luke Murphy; Adam Lee (Cloyne), Eoghan O’Shea, Jack O’Brien.

Subs: Colm Garde for Hegarty (HT), Dean Cosgrave for O’Shea (HT), Leo Hennessy for L Murphy (40), Peter Barrett for Lee (Cloyne) (43), Joe Twohig for Brosnan (56).

Referee: Niall Malone (Clare).