Allianz HL D1: Impressive Galway triumph
Allianz Hurling League Division One Group A/Walsh Cup Final
Galway 0-23 Wexford 0-15
By Ronan Fagan at Chadwicks Wexford Park
Galway produced an impressive second half display to secure the Walsh Cup and Allianz Hurling League spoils.
Despite striking 10 first-half wides, Wexford seemed in rude health although Galway hauled the game back to parity at half-time (0-10 apiece).
But the introduction of Brian Concannon for the second-half was a masterstroke by Galway manager Henry Shefflin, as Concannon inspired an unanswered 10 point burst between the 48th and 63rd minutes which defined the game (0-20 to 0-11).
And Wexford raised little real threat thereafter on a dispiriting night for Darragh Egan’s charges as the Model County fell to their first home league defeat in eight games – the last coming against Clare in 2020.
Wexford erred upfront amid misty conditions early on, striking six wides – four more than Galway in that time – before a monstrous opener from a Damien Reck free was matched on seven minutes by Donal O’Shea.
But home supporters amongst the 8,200 attendance thrilled as Conor McDonald (free), Mikie Dwyer and Charlie McGuckin (two) shot Wexford 0-5 to 0-2 clear just before Kevin Foley was nudged out after breaking through on goal in the 13th minute.
Ten minutes later Galway had a cracking goaling chance as, with Conor Whelan and Evan Niland (free) shaving the gap to 0-6 to 0-4, the latter was impeded at the expense of a rather harsh penalty.
However, Niland’s low drive was met by a full-length intervention from Wexford stopper Mark Fanning.
Nevertheless, with Conor Whelan lending support to the visitors’ defence, the Tribesmen curbed Wexford while hauling themselves on terms at half-time at 0-10 apiece, with four more Niland placed-balls being added to by Seán Linnane and Jarlath Mannion.
But Wexford were pained having out-shot their rivals by six wides across that opening period.
And Galway boss Henry Shefflin demonstrated some displeasure with his charges as he summoned Ronan Murphy, Brian Concannon and Oisín Salmon from the ‘bench, with Concannon making his presence felt on the inside-line.
Indeed, he teed-up Jason Flynn for a gilt-edged goaling opportunity on 39 minutes only to be thwarted by advancing Wexford ‘keeper Fanning.
And Concannon generated a further goaling chance on 43 minutes when he put Ronan Murphy racing through into space only to meet Wexford’s defiant ‘keeper and earning a booking for a frustrated challenge.
Regardless, Galway were hitting high tempo, and 10 unanswered points shifted them clear by 0-20 to 0-11 after 63 minutes, with Evan Niland asserting the maroon and whites with four pointed frees, while Concannon weighed in with a kicked score.
Wexford were mustering little resistance, with Galway content to spurn further goal chances as Jason Flynn and Ronan Murphy picked off points, while the crossbar kept out a flicked attempt from Liam Collins a minute into added-time.
Wexford sourced scores of little real consolation from Naomh Eanna trio Charlie McGuckin, Conor McDonald (two frees) and Cathal Dunbar, leaving them looking for a marked response away to Westmeath in round two.
Scorers for Galway: Evan Niland 0-10 (9 frees, 1 ’65), Conor Whelan, Liam Collins 0-2 each, Donal O’Shea, Jarlath Mannion, Darren Morrissey, Tiernan Killeen, Tom Monaghan, Brian Concannon, Seán Linnane, Jason Flynn, Ronan Murphy 0-1 each.
Scorers for Wexford: Conor McDonald 0-4 (3 frees), Charlie McGuckin 0-3, Damien Reck, Cathal Dunbar 0-2 each, Mikie Dwyer, Liam Ryan, Simon Donohoe, Kevin Foley 0-1 each.
Galway: Eanna Murphy; Jack Grealish, Gearóid McInerney, Darren Morrissey; Eoin Lawless, Pádraic Mannion, TJ Brennan; Tiernan Killeen, Seán Linnane; Tom Monaghan, Conor Whelan, Donal O’Shea; Evan Niland, Jarlath Mannion, Jason Flynn.
Subs: Martin McManus for Flynn, temp. 27-28; Ronan Murphy for Killeen (HT), Brian Concannon for J. Mannion (HT), Oisín Salmon for Brennan (HT), Liam Collins for O’Shea (60), Jack Fitzpatrick for McInerney (67).
Wexford: Mark Fanning; Shane Reck, Liam Ryan, Conor Devitt; Conor Foley, Damien Reck, Simon Donohoe; Diarmuid O’Keeffe, Kevin Foley; Conor Hearne, Liam Óg McGovern, Charlie McGuckin; Cathal Dunbar, Conor McDonald, Mikie Dwyer.
Subs: Corey Byrne-Dunbar for McGovern (50), Jack Doran for Foley (54), Rory Higgins for Dwyer (54), Connal Flood for Hearne (61), David Clarke for S. Reck (66).
Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow).