Wexford 1-19 Galway 1-19
By Ronan Fagan at Chadwicks Wexford Park
Lee Chin starred as Wexford battled back to hold devastated Galway in Saturday’s opening round Leinster SHC group clash at Chadwicks Wexford Park.
Galway appeared set to give new boss Henry Shefflin a winning start in the Championship after crafting a 1-18 to 0-15 lead entering the closing eight minutes of normal time.
But a 63rd minute Conor McDonald goal sparked a stunning Wexford transformation, as Chin then intervened with four unanswered points – three from frees – to rescue a share of the spoils for Darragh Egan’s men ahead of next Saturday’s home date with Dublin.
However, Galway were left cursing some extraordinary wastefulness during the first-half as they only managed to carve out a 1-11 to 0-8 interval advantage while striking 10 wides, and they’ll be expected to take their hurt out on Westmeath.
The Tribesmen exerted early control, and although Conor Cooney struggled from a series of early dead-ball opportunities, they struck the first real blow moments after Rory O’Connor had pointed Wexford in front from a fourth minute free.
Evan Niland effected a turnover around midfield and Conor Cooney charged through with increasing momentum before feeding Brian Concannon to net a 1-0 to 0-1 fifth minute turnaround.
While both goals came under threat, Galway sprinkled enough successful shots around the more wayward ones as Tom Monaghan, Cathal Mannion, Conor Whelan and Conor Cooney (free) directed them clear by 1-4 to 0-2 after 18 minutes.
Concannon went dangerously close to adding a second personal goal only to have to settle for a point as the gap extended to 1-7 to 0-4 with Galway having already tallied their tenth wide by the 29th minute.
Galway stretched clear 1-10 to 0-6 before Wexford gained a glimmer of hope when Conor McDonald forced a penalty.
However, goalie Mark Fanning’s strike flew over the crossbar before Conor Cooney helped Galway gain a 1-11 to 0-8 advantage at the change-of-ends.
Wexford’s effort up to that juncture just wasn’t good enough, and the promptings of manager Darragh Egan roused them into a more cohesive second-half effort.
Rory O’Connor (two frees) and Oisín Foley narrowed the gap to 1-12 to 0-11 after 42 minutes much to the satisfaction of the locals amongst the 10,200 attendance.
But Galway exerted control again as they extended clear by 1-18 to 0-15 after 62 minutes courtesy of Joseph Cooney (two), Tom Monaghan and Conor Cooney (three) as they appeared to have the spoils under their control.
Wexford kept fighting and their effort was galvanised by a 63rd minute goal from Conor McDonald, when he gathered a Damien Reck delivery and lashed a ground shot to the far corner of the net to shave the difference to 1-18 to 1-15.
Tom Monaghan responded with a point. But Lee Chin then commanded centre-stage with a couple of frees before adding one from play after winning a throw-in awarded when Conor Cooney delayed taking a free.
And Chin added the leveller from a long range free seven minutes into added time after Damien Reck was impeded as Wexford celebrated the draw while Galway lamented failing to put them away.
Scorers for Wexford: Rory O’Connor 0-6 (5 frees), Conor McDonald 1-2, Lee Chin 0-5 (1 ’65, 3 frees), Oisín Foley 0-2, Simon Donohoe, Mark Fanning (penalty), Cathal Dunbar, Connal Flood 0-1 each.
Scorers for Galway: Conor Cooney 0-7 (4 frees, 2 ‘65s), Brian Concannon 1-1, Tom Monaghan 0-4, Conor Whelan 0-3, Joseph Cooney 0-2, Cathal Mannion, Darren Morrissey 0-1 each.
Wexford: Mark Fanning; Matthew O’Hanlon, Liam Ryan, Simon Donohoe; Connal Flood, Pádraig Foley, Damien Reck; Kevin Foley, Diarmuid O’Keeffe; Liam Óg McGovern, Oisín Foley, Charlie McGuckin; Rory O’Connor, Conor McDonald, Mikie Dwyer.
Subs: Cathal Dunbar for Dwyer (45), Lee Chin for O Foley (48), Jack O’Connor for McGuckin (53), Oisín Pepper for K Foley (66).
Galway: Éanna Murphy; Jack Grealish, Daithí Burke, Darren Morrissey; Padraic Mannion, Gearóid McInerney, Fintan Burke; Joseph Cooney, Tom Monaghan; Cathal Mannion, Conor Cooney, Cianan Fahy; Evan Niland, Brian Concannon, Conor Whelan.
Subs: Gavin Lee for Niland (54), David Burke for Whelan, inj. (60), Kevin Cooney for Fahy (67), Jack Hastings for Concannon (70+3), Johnny Coen for F Burke (70+6).
Referee: Thomas Walsh (Waterford).