With 13 minutes left to the final whistle, Wexford were two points down. They had the momentum and the legendary Wexford Supporters at their backs. Our Opposition looked to be going through the motions at times and the 19,000-strong crowd began to believe an upset was on the cards.
But we were playing the elite team in the Country All Ireland Champions Tipperary and even with their goal scoring power we rattled them for 60 minutes. Wexford will take many positives from today’s game as they battled tenaciously in positions all over the pitch
Tipp set the tone for the game early on when Stephen O’Brien hit Damien Reck with a strong shoulder and Seamus Callanan pounced on the breaking ball to fire over the opening score. Jack O’Connor settled the Wexford team down after 10 minutes when he used his strength to burst through and fire over a point. Six minutes then passed before the next score as Conor McDonald pointed a straight forward free, but just two minutes later Tip were in for their second goal and controversy followed . Wexford responded with two points as Chin received a pass from Paul Morris and the full forward drilled the ball over the bar, and this was followed by an excellent score by David Redmond who broke down the line and pointed on the run Callanan and Forde responded for Tipp to make it 2-05 to 0-04 after 29 minutes. Wexford were working tirelessly though and McDonald pointed two straight forward frees before a long range effort by Padraic Maher brought an end to the first half scoring as Tipperary went in leading by 2-06 to 0-08.
Wexford hit three out of the first four points of the second half as McDonald’s two frees were sandwiched either side of scores by Brendan Maher and Paul Morris who fired over a fine effort from play.
Tipp had introduced Michael Breen and he make an immediate impression with two excellent scores before John McGrath showed his pace once again by turning smartly and firing over a point.edmond hit his second and third points of the game in quick succession to bring the gap back to 2-10 to 0-13 by the 46th minute, before Breen scored his third point in six minutes.
Chin hit two points either side of a Forde minor, while David Dunne also got on the scoresheet for the Model County. However, in the 59th minute, the game turned on its head, as John McGrath stole in to fire home. His brother Noel added a point before man-of-the-match John was on target again and a fourth goal soon arrived as Noel kept the McGrath scoring spree going. Substitute Bubbles O’Dwyer then scored a point to make it 4-16 to 0-16 by the 64th minute.
Wexford kept battling away and Liam Ryan fired home a goal in the 73rd minute, but it was to be Tipp’s day as they meet Galway in the final next weekend.
Wexford – M Fanning; J Breen, L Ryan (1-0), W Devereux; D Reck, M O’Hanlon, D O’Keeffe (0-1); A Nolan, J O’Connor (0-1); S Murphy, D Redmond (0-3), L Chin (0-4, 1’65); P Morris (0-1), C McDonald (0-7, 6f), D Dunne (0-1). Subs: J Guiney for D Reck, H Kehoe for D Redmond, K Foley (0-1) for P Morris, S Donohoe for A Nolan