BY NIALL SHERRY
Lyng’s men fall to late Lawlor goal
Walsh Cup Review
Chadwicks Wexford Park
Wexford 1-25 Kilkenny 2-18
An enthralling encounter between local rivals Wexford and Kilkenny was settled late on under the new floodlights at Chadwicks Wexford Park last Saturday evening. An injury-time major from Faythe Harriers Richie Lawlor saw the home side clinch a dramatic victory which meant Galway’s opponents would not be known until Laois faced Offaly a day later. The Faithful County took the win, which meant it is the Yellowbellies that will face-off against Henry’s Tribesmen in an ‘double up’ fixture which will combine the Walsh Cup final and the Allianz league fixture in Wexford next weekend.
Darragh Eagan’s charges started brightly, with the talented Conor McDonald and midfielder Diarmuid O’Keeffe taking early scores before The Village’s Cian Kenny hit two quick-fire points to level matters. Tom Phelan and McDonald swapped scores as the cagey start continued.
Glenmore’s Shane Murphy and Rapparees Oisin Pepper did likewise as the sides couldn’t be separated. Two points in quick succession from Wexford great Lee Chin and the lovely Pepper pushed the home side two points ahead with about 14 minutes played.
Niall Brassil in for a start struck over a free to reduce the deficit and the sides continued to swap scores and another Brassil free left just the bare minimum between the sides after 21 minutes of entertaining action. There was a temporary lull in the scoring until Conahy’s Tom Phelan levelled matters on 28 minutes.
A 3rd Brassil placed ball put the Cats into the lead, but this was short-lived as a string of Wexford scores p including a couple from that man Chin including a ‘65, put the host’s back in command to lead by three points. Derek Lyng’s men hit back with scores from O’Loughlin’s Paddy Deegan and the free-take on duty Niall Brassil.
Dublin whistler Seán Stack then blew for half-time as a lively game of hurling took a well-deserved break. Darragh Eagan will no doubt have been happy to lead by one at the interval, but his side had coughed up seven wides during that opening period. Kilkenny had registered four wides of their own, but this experimental line-up had acquitted themselves well during the first 35 minutes.
Darragh Eagan replaced Lee Chin at the break and replaced the icon with Ross Banville who would go on to notch 0-3 from placed balls during the second period. The Model County men made a fast and clinical start to the second half, hitting 4 four points to Kilkenny’s one, again courtesy of Niall Brassil, to leave Wexford 0-16 to 0-12 ahead. Lyng’s Cats then got themselves back into the game when they hit the first major of the evening. Conahy Shamrocks Tom Phelan netting after great work from The Sash’s Gearoid Dunne. Then Paddy Deegan struck over a nice point to deadlock matters again.
The sides then shared the next six scores, with John Donnelly, Tom Phelan and Clara’s Paul Cody weighing in for the Noresiders. The home side then notched two further points from sub Corey Byrne-Dunbar and Ross Banville, before manager Lyng introduced Ian Byrne and Des Dunne in place of the impressive Tom Phelan and former U20 captain Padraic Moylan.
Then what appeared to be a crucial moment in the game saw Niall Brassil’s replacement Bill Sheehan raised a green flag with virtually his first touch in the game. The alert Dicksboro man read Wexford full-back Liam Ryan’s back-pass to his keeper before finishing to the net. Kilkenny where now in the lead by one. The next score was also a Cats one, this time Glenmore’s Ian Byrne popping over a point to make it a 2-point game. Conor McDonald and Ross Banville replied for Wexford to tie things up again before Tullaroan’s Shane Walsh struck over a free, to the delight of the travelling support.
Wexford substitute Conall Clancy brought the sides level again from distance and it seemed that a share of the spoils was on the cards for the teams. Then well into additional time, a long ball into the Cats defence from Liam Ryan was collected by Charlie McGuckin who slipped the pass to Richie Lawlor who rifled beyond Cats Keeper Aidan Tallis to the net. The noise that erupted from the home support was deafening.
The final score of the game came from Conor Hearne which left the full-time scoreboard reading Wexford 1-25, Kilkenny 2-18.
Wexford: James Lawlor; Shane Reck, Liam Ryan, Conor Devitt; Simon Donohoe, Damien Reck (0-01), Ian Carty (0-01); Diarmuid O’Keeffe (0-02), Richie Lawlor (1-01); Mikie Dwyer (0-01), Conor Hearne (0-03), Charlie McGuckin (0-01); Oisín Pepper (0-02), Conor McDonald (0-05), Lee Chin (0-03, 0-01 free, 0-01 ‘65).
Subs: Ross Banville (0-3fs) for Chin (ht), Conor Foley for Donohoe (44), Kevin Foley for Dwyer (49), Corey Byrne-Dunbar (0-01) for Pepper (49), Conall Clancy (0-01) for O’Keeffe (54), David Clarke for Carty (69), Kyle Scallan for D. Reck (72).
Kilkenny: Aidan Tallis; Mikey Butler, Evan Cody, Niall Rowe; David Blanchfield, Pádraic Moylan, Pádraig Walsh; Paddy Deegan (0-02), Shane Murphy (0-01); Paul Cody (0-02), Cian Kenny (0-02), Tom Phelan (1-03); Gearóid Dunne, John Donnelly (0-01), Niall Brassil (0-05, 0-05fs).
Subs: Cillian Buckley for Blanchfield (41), Cillian Doyle for Murphy (43), Shane Walsh (0-01, 0-01f) for Dunne (49), Niall Brennan for Kenny (52), Des Dunne for Moylan (54), Ian Byrne (0-1) for Phelan (58), Bill Sheehan (1-0) for Brassil (59), Colum Prendiville for P. Cody (66), Niall Mullins for Donnelly (68).
Referee: Seán Stack (Dublin).
>> SHERRY SAYS…
Well, that felt more championship like than Walsh Cup! On a wonderful night for our hosts, Wexford emerged winners after goals, points, fireworks, light shows – you name it this occasion had it all.
Unfortunately, Willie Maher’s Laois couldn’t get a result against Offaly, so its Darragh Eagans men that will face Henry’s Galway in rescheduled final next week.
This was another good run-out for Derek Lyng’s panel and he was able to cast his eye over players including Niall Brassil, Paul Cody, Aidan Tallis amongst others. That’s what this competition is about, trying out different players, systems etc. And I think overall, the new manager will have been reasonably content with the January workout.
It was a shame that due to his Fitzgibbon Cup commitments, rising star Billy Drennan had the day off, considering his impressive start to senior hurling.
There’s not much time to re-group before the league kicks-in. Attention now turns to February 4th’s encounter with Antrim at Corrigan Park. That isn’t an easy place to go and the players that are selected will need to be ready to battle glens man style!
We wish Derek and his panel the very best for their upcoming National League Campaign.