Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Final
Wexford 1-23 Kilkenny 0-23
Davy Fitz has worked his magic in the Model County!
The Clare legend’s latest project produced another thrilling story as Wexford’s hurlers climbed the steps of the Hogan Stand to lift the Bob O’Keeffe Cup for the first time since 2004 on Sunday.
A pulsating contest in front of over 50,000 spectators at CrokePark ebbed and flowed until goalkeeper Mark Fanning fired home an unstoppable penalty in the 64th minute following a foul on man-of-the-match Rory O’Connor.
Liam Og McGovern soon gave Wexford four points breathing space, but still they couldn’t relax as Kilkenny desperately went in search of an equalising goal.
Late points were traded TJ Reid and Lee Chin before the final whistle led to joyous scenes around GAA HQ as joint-captains Matthew O’Hanlon and Lee Chin lifted the cup.
The sides had been deadlocked on ten occasions over the 70 minutes, and by the time the teams returned to the dressing room at half time, Kilkenny had raised 15 white flags, compared to 14 for Wexford.
TJ Reid was, once again, the scorer in chief for Kilkenny, but Lee Chin was equally accurate for Wexford, with the winners hitting eight points before their first wide.
Rory O’Connor, Conor McDonald and Simon Donohue also struck over huge points for Wexford in the opening half while Colin Fennelly was proving a handful for Kilkenny.
There was no let-up after the resumption. Walter Walsh edged Kilkenny two in front, only for Wexford to fire over four in a row, and then Kilkenny to respond with three in quick succession, including a long-range free from net-minder EoinMurphy.
It was nip-and-tuck as the game entered the closing quarter and Kilkenny looked slight favourites when TJ Reid put them 0-22 to 0-21 ahead in the 62nd minute.
But then the all-important goal arrived and with the tension becoming almost unbearable, Wexford stood tall and held out for a deserved triumph.
Wexford scorers: Lee Chin 0-9 (7fs, 1 65’), Rory O’Connor 0-4, Conor McDonald 0-4, Mark Fanning 1-0 (1-0 pen), DiarmuidO’Keefe 0-2, Paul Morris 0-1, Jack O’Connor 0-1, Liam OgMcGovern 0-1, Simon Donoghue 0-1.
Kilkenny scorers: TJ Reid 0-13 (8fs,1 65’), Walter Walsh 0-3, Adrian Mullan 0-3, Colin Fennelly 0-2, James Maher 0-1, Alan Murphy 0-1, Ger Aylward 0-1, Eoin Murphy 0-1 (1f).
WEXFORD: Mark Fanning; Shane Reck, Liam Ryan, Simon Donoghue; Paudie Foley, Matthe O’Hanlon, Shaun Murphy; Kevin Foley, Diarmuid O’Keeffe; Liam Og McGovern; Lee Chin, Conor McDonald; Jack O’Connor, Rory O’Connor, Paul Morris.
SUBS: Ger Aylward for A. Murphy (42), Conor Firman for S. Reck (48), Cathal Dunbar for P. Morris (58), Harry Kehoe for C. McDonald (67).
KILKENNY: Eoin Murphy; Paul Murphy, Huw Lawlor, Joey Holden; Paddy Deegan, Padraig Walsh, Enda Morrissey; James Maher, Conor Fogerty; Richie Leahy, Walter Walsh, TJ Reid; Alan murphy, Colin Fennelly, Adrian Mullin.
SUB: Billy Ryan for W. Walsh (56).
REFEREE: John Keenan (Wicklow).