Hard to believe it, but 10 years ago this month, Wexford and Cork played out what must surely be one of the greatest games of all time when they met in a sweltering Croke Park in the All Ireland Hurling Semi Final in 2003.
It was a game which had it all, but which will be best remembered for its grandstand finish when Rory McCarthy crashed the ball home to secure a memorable draw for Wexford.
Wexford came into the game on the back of a 11 point loss to Kilkenny in the Leinster Final, followed by an epic encounter with Waterford and a faltering performance against Antrim.
The game was from the off a pulsating encounter, with current Wexford Senior hurling manager, Liam Dunne majestic at the back, no more so than when with just a few minutes on the clock he delivered an inch perfect 90 meter clearance to Paul Codd who coolly slotted the ball past Donal Óg Cusack. Adrian Fenlon added two majestic points from sideline cuts, while Michael Jacob ended as top scorer for Wexford.
Mid-way through the second half, Wexford lead by 5 points and the dream looked on, however it was then that the ever tricky Joe Deane popped up with a Cork goal turning the game on its head.
As the game ticked into injury time, Cork had affected an 8 point turnaround, leading Wexford by 3 (2-20 to 2-17 )and it looked as though despite Wexford’s brave efforts we would fall short.
With the last play of the game, Damian Fitzhenry launched Wexford on one last attack, Mitch Jordan won the ball offloading to Rory McCarthy and the Martin’s man made no mistake shooting past Donal Óg from the tightest of angles.
The referee blew the whistle, Wexford supporters erupted in delight and relief, Wexford would live to fight another day. Unfortunately the replay the following week ended in a disappointing defeat but no one who was present in Croke Park for the drawn game was in any doubt that they had witnessed one of the game’s greatest games…
Video from 2003 All Ireland Semi Final