Allianz HL D1: Kilkenny impress against Wexford
Allianz Hurling League Division 1B
KILKENNY 2-27 WEXFORD 0-23
By Ronan Fagan at UPMC Nowlan Park
Wexford’s Covid-19 disruption was sorely felt as Kilkenny ended a long winless streak against Davy Fitzgerald’s men with Sunday’s clear-cut Allianz Hurling League Division 1, Group B derby triumph at UPMC Nowlan Park.
A draw was the best Kilkenny had mined from the counties’ six previous meetings.
But with TJ Reid in supreme form – accounting for 1-18 – the fact Wexford’s preparations had been hindered by Covid-19 cases in the camp appeared to bite as Brian Cody’s charges lorded matters.
Exchanges were tight early on prior to a TJ Reid pointed free nudging Kilkenny back in front shortly before they embellished their position by 1-3 to 0-2 clear when Billy Ryan angled to the net in the sixth-minute.
Wexford recovered to close to within 1-5 to 0-5 after eleven minutes with the aid of a couple of majestic Rory O’Connor strikes.
But Kilkenny were a stride ahead, and as Wexford endured an 18 minute long scoring drought, the locals eased 1-11 to 0-5 clear by the time Lee Chin ended Wexford’s impasse with a 29th-minute pointed free.
A goaling burst by TJ Reid had been foiled during that spell by a brilliant intervention from Liam Ryan. But the Ballyhale Shamrocks sharpshooter was among the goals on 30 minutes when fastening onto a breaking ball after Wexford ‘keeper James Lawlor had pulled of a fine save from Alan Murphy (2-11 to 0-6).
Kilkenny bolstered their position by 2-15 to 0-7 at the interval with Reid having already posted 1-10.
Wexford introduced Conor McDonald and Kevin Foley for the new half, and they certainly offered a better account of themselves as the purple-and-gold closed to within 2-20 to 0-16 at the last drinks-break.
Lee Chin was to the fore from frees while the Faythe Harriers’ man also went close with a venomous strike on goal.
Kilkenny weren’t conceding much ground though as Reid chipped in with a bunch of gems from play to help the black-and-amber add to Wexford’s woes after a couple of difficult weeks for the Slaneysiders.
Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid 1-18 (0-14 frees, 0-1 ‘65), Billy Ryan 1-4, Alan Murphy 0-3, Eoin O’Shea 0-1, Paddy Deegan 0-1.
Scorers for Wexford: Lee Chin 0-13 (10 frees, 1 ‘65), Rory O’Connor 0-4, Aidan Nolan 0-2, Joe O’Connor, Diarmuid O’Keeffe, Shaun Murphy, Conor McDonald 0-1 each.
KILKENNY: Eoin Murphy; Tommy Walsh, Huw Lawlor, Paddy Deegan; Darragh Corcoran, Pádraig Walsh, Conor Browne; Richie Reid, Cillian Buckley; Adrian Mullen (capt.), John Donnelly, Billy Ryan; James Bergin, TJ Reid, Alan Murphy. Subs: Eoin O’Shea for Bergin (23); Conor Fogarty for Buckley (49); James Maher for Ryan (49); Michael Carey for Reid (64); Liam Blanchfield for Mullen (70+1).
WEXFORD: James Lawlor; Shane Reck, Liam Ryan, Joe O’Connor; Glen Malone, Matthew O’Hanlon (joint-capt.), Jack O’Connor (St. Martin’s); Aidan Nolan, Diarmuid O’Keeffe; Liam Óg McGovern, Rory O’Connor, Conor Devitt; Lee Chin, Mikey Dwyer, Harry Kehoe. Subs: Gavin Bailey for Joe O’Connor, temp. (26); Joe O’Connor for Malone (33); Conor McDonald for Devitt (HT); Kevin Foley for Kehoe (HT); David Dunne for O’Keeffe (53); Connal Flood for Jack O’Connor (53); Paul Morris for Dwyer (55); Shaun Murphy for Dunne, inj. (58)
Referee: Colm Lyons (Cork).