Leinster SHC Round-Robin: Galway 1-23, Wexford 0-17
by Ronan Fagan
Reigning All-Ireland champions Galway confirmed their passage through to a fourth successive Leinster final after Joe Canning’s match-winning tally of 0-12 broke Wexford in Saturday’s round-robin encounter at sunny Innovate Wexford Park.
Canning was celebrating his 50th championship appearance for the Tribesmen and marked it glorious fashion before sparking concerns after the Portumna ace was forced off late on with a knee injury.
Wexford, meanwhile, are away to Kilkenny next Saturday in a straight shoot-out for the other ticket to the Leinster final, although a draw would suffice for Wexford as they enjoy a 14 point advantage over the black-and-amber in score-difference.
Galway hurled Wexford with vigour from the outset to charge clear by 1-1 to 0-0 within 90 seconds before an attendance of 14,500. Conor Cooney pointed before Conor Whelan hammered a rebound to the net after wing-back Pádraic Mannion broke through only to be denied by ‘keeper Mark Fanning.
The margin extended to five points before Rory O’Connor get Wexford off the mark from a free on seven minutes. And although losing out physically, Wexford endeavoured hard as they shared the next 12 points to be adrift by 1-8 to 0-6 after 24 minutes, with Rory O’Connor hitting three scores for Wexford.
The gap extended to 1-10 to 0-6 after 28 minutes through Conor Cooney and captain David Burke. But while Joe Canning added a sideline-cut, Wexford got to half-time retaining some hope as they broke within 1-12 to 0-9 courtesy of late incisions from Rory O’Connor (2) and Paul Morris.
But Galway demonstrated no intention of easing off Canning went inches wide with a gilt-edged goaling chance shortly after the restart.
The sharpshooter made amends when adding six points – including another sideline cut – as the All-Ireland champions established a solid 1-19 to 0-12 advantage after 58 minutes.
Rory O’Connor again proved his reliability for Wexford with a tally of 0-12.
But Davy Fitzgerald’s men could never find the necessary punch to force their way back into contention as Galway, despite losing defender Adrian Tuohey to a straight red-card late on, emerged with plenty in hand.
Galway – James Skehill; Aidan Harte, Daithi Burke, John Hanbury; Pádraic Mannion, Gearóid McInerney, Adrian Tuohy; Johnny Coen, David Burke (0-2); Joseph Cooney (0-1), Joe Canning (0-12, 8 frees, 2 line-balls), Cathal Mannion; Conor Whelan (1-2), Jonathan Glynn, Conor Cooney (0-4).
Subs: Paul Killeen for McInerney (temp., 45); Jason Flynn (0-1 free) for Glynn (54); Niall Burke (0-1) for J Cooney (58); Brian Concannon for C Mannion (66); Seán Linnane for Hanbury (68); Davy Glennon for Canning (69 inj).
Wexford – Mark Fanning; Simon Donohoe, Liam Ryan, Damien Reck; Diarmuid O’Keeffe, Matthew O’Hanlon, Pádraig Foley (0-1); Kevin Foley, Shaun Murphy; Jack O’Connor, Rory O’Connor (0-12, 10 frees), Lee Chin; Aidan Nolan (0-2), Conor McDonald, Paul Morris (0-2).
Subs: Conor Firman for Donohoe (half-time); Liam Óg McGovern for J O’Connor (48); Harry Kehoe for K Foley (51).
Referee – Johnny Murphy (Limerick).