Leinster SHC: Wexford and Galway battle to draw
Leinster Senior Hurling Championship
GALWAY 0-16 WEXFORD 0-16
By Declan Rooney at Pearse Stadium
Wexford’s comeback fell agonisingly shot at Pearse Stadium as Jason Flynn sealed a share of the spoils for Galway following a hard-fought clash in Salthill.
Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald was sent to the stands early in the second half and after that his side produced a powerful comeback with seven points in a row to take the lead for the first time with seven minutes remaining.
But they were unable to finish the job as Cathal Dunbar’s chance at the death went unclaimed and Galway escaped with a draw they hardly deserved. This was Wexford’s second draw in a week in what’s turning into a very tight Leinster hurling championship.
Having won the toss, Wexford elected to play against the very strong wind at Pearse Stadium, and Galway’s advantage was clear when they raced into a 0-6 to 0-0 lead after 17 minutes. It was an horrendous start from Wexford, pockmarked with some very poor shooting and by half-time they had hit ten wides.
But they were lucky that Galway were also wasteful at the other end. Once again Niall Burke was on free-taking duty for the Tribesmen and he gave them a fourth-minute lead. That advantage was doubled in the seventh minute when Jason Flynn intercepted a Mark Fanning puck-out, but Niall Burke’s third wide of the half in the ninth minute underlined the difficulty both teams had with the conditions. Just after that Conor Cooney had a great goal chance that was well saved by Fanning, but it should have resulted in a goal for Galway.
Lee Chin was most guilty for Wexford and he saw five shots miss the target before the interval – he also had a shot blocked down – but after Conor Whelan added to a couple of Niall Burke points to put Galway six ahead, it was Chin who put Wexford on the board with a brilliant free into the wind from the left wing.
Once they got that score Wexford improved, and their defence began to win their individual and collective duels with the Galway forwards. Aidan Nolan’s point and a couple of frees from Chin made it 0-8 to 0-4 by the 33rd minute, but Galway finished the half well with Conor Cooney and Whelan getting points for their side.
Galway should be disappointed with their use of the ball in the first-half and the six-point lead they held was just about par for the course. When Diarmuid O’Keeffe pointed 15 seconds after the restart, Wexford had the start they needed.
But three of the next four points went to Galway, all of which came from Jason Flynn frees, after he was handed the job when Niall Burke was withdrawn.
Cathal Mannion hit his first point from play after 51 minutes as Galway settled again, but Galway’s challenge fell asunder. Six points in a row between the 52nd and 60th minute drew Wexford level at 0-14 each – two came from Rory O’Connor – and after Flynn and Chin both missed lead frees, Shaun Murphy put Wexford ahead for the first time in the 63rd minute with a point from the left.
Flynn then hit a 65 and a point from play to put Galway one point clear, but Liam Og McGovern levelled it.
Both sides had goal chances to seal it, but in the end a point each was a fitting result.
Scorers for Galway: Jason Flynn 0-6 (3f, 1’65), Niall Burke 0-4 (3f, 1’65), Conor Whelan 0-3, David Burke 0-1, Conor Cooney 0-1, Cathal Mannion 0-1
Scorers for Wexford: Lee Chin 0-7 (6f, 1’65), Cathal Dunbar 0-2, Rory O’Connor 0-2, Diarmuid O’Keeffe 0-1, Aidan Nolan 0-1, Liam Og McGovern 0-1, Conor McDonald 0-1, Shaun Murphy 0-1.
GALWAY: Colm Callanan; Padraic Mannion, Daithí Burke, Aidan Harte; Sean Loftus, Gearóid McInerney, Joseph Cooney; Johnny Coen, David Burke (c; Cathal Mannion, Niall Burke, Jason Flynn; Conor Cooney, Conor Whelan, Brian Concannon. Subs: Jonathan Glynn for N Burke (41), Kevin Hussey for Coen (57), John Hanbury for Joseph Cooney (60), Davy Glennon for Concannon (66)
WEXFORD: Mark Fanning; Simon Donohoe, Liam Ryan, Damien Reck; Paudie Foley, Matthew O’Hanlon (jc), Shaun Murphy; Aidan Nolan, Diarmuid O’Keeffe; Lee Chin (jc), Rory O’Connor, Kevin Foley; Liam Óg McGovern, Cathal Dunbar, Conor McDonald. Subs: Shane Reck for D Reck (9-11, blood), Jack O’Connor for Foley (49), Paul Morris (Ferns St Aidan’s) for Nolan (49).
Referee: Johnny Murphy (Limerick).