Leinster MHC Quarter Final
WEXFORD 3-7, KILKENNY 1-10
Photos: PJ Howlin Coiste Pro
The Wexford Minor Hurlers produced a superb performance yesterday, including a 3 goal haul from Gorey’s Conor McDonald, in a sun kissed Nowlan Park to beat the Cats. This is the first time Wexford have beaten Kilkenny at this grade since 1985, a team that featured current senior manager Liam Dunne…
Michael Dwyer reports on the game.
A personal tally of 3-4 for Conor McDonald powered Wexford to a memorable victory over Kilkenny yesterday in the Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Hurling Championship.
Typically the home side started aggressively, attacking the Wexford goal, but the Wexford back line stood strong with Michael O’Brien and the excellent Liam Ryan repulsing the Kilkenny attack. The scoring opened with Donal Shanley and Eoin Kenny trading points. A critical moment came on the 10 minute mark, when the hardworking Conor Devitt plucked a ball from the sky in the centre of the field and delivered a high ball into the Wexford forward line which Conor McDonald batted to the goal in a remarkable fashion.
Kilkenny responded with points from Ciaran Ryan, Alan Murphy and John Walsh but it was obvious the Noresiders were rattled by the direct and powerful Wexford play. With Cathal Dunbar excelling for the Slaneysiders the momentuem was with Wexford. The pressure began to tell and after some cynical fouling by the Kilkenny full-back line a penalty was awarded to Wexford. Conor McDonald stepped up and dispatched a rocket to the net on 22 minutes. At this point Wexford were in control but were guilty of striking a number of potentially costly wides allowing the the Cat’s, who were now in disarray, to stay in touch.
Kilkenny lifted their spirits with a Kevin Kenny point, Padraig Foley struck back with one for Wexford. Then on the stroke of half time, Kilkenny’s Stephen Farrell capitalised on some sloppy Wexford play to claim a goal leaving them just a goal in arrears at half time, 2-4 to 1-4. Wexford had dominated the opening 30 minutes but Kilkenny were just 3 points behind, it really all was still to play for.
The Yellow-Bellies showed true grit and class after the resumption and a Conor McDonald point on 31 minutes showed their intent. Kilkenny popped over 3 points of their own but once again up stepped Conor McDonald who showing his class delivered a rasper of a goal to the Kilkenny net, it had the feeling that this would be Wexford’s day.
Black-and-amber points from Alan Murphy and John Walsh were negated by points from impact sub’ James Cash and McDonald on 58 minutes dampening any chance of a Kilkenny revival. Wexford were simply irresistible on the day with Conor McDonald embodying the flair and passion that Wexford brought to the game . The work of Willie Cleary and his management team was clearly on display, their emphasis on hard work, on hooking, blocking, chasing was evident from 1 -15. In the aftermath a business like Cleary warned the lads that this was just one game and nothing had been won yet, reminding them that while they’d beaten Dublin at this stage last year, it was Dublin who took the Leinster title.
Wexford now progress to Leinster semi-final to be played on June 22nd where they could meet Kilkenny again…
SCORERS: Wexford: Conor McDonald 3-4 (1-2 from placed ball), Donal Shanley, Padraig Foley and James Cash 0-1 each.
The team is as follows – photos below team line up