Kilkenny overcome Wexford goals to qualify for decider with Tipperary

Kilkenny overcome Wexford goals to qualify for decider with Tipperary
Kilkenny's TJ Reid tackles Wexford's Matthew O'Hanlon. Photo: INPHO/Ken Sutton.

Wexford...2-15

Kilkenny...1-27

Michael Moynihan

Wexford Park

This NHL semi-final went to Kilkenny, who overcame goals early in each half from Wexford to qualify for the decider with Tipperary.

Kilkenny attacked the scoreboard end in the first half and had the breeze behind them, but Wexford were 0-2 to 0-1 up on five minutes when they won a penalty, Rory O’Connor grounded going through: Aidan Nolan buried it.

Kilkenny hit a stunning 1-11 on the bounce, however, to level matters by the 16th minute and then drive past their opponents - their keeper, Eoin Murphy, bombed over the lead point and TJ Reid, inevitably, then extended their lead, which was 0-8 to 1-2 on 22 minutes.

Richie Leahy hit a fine point from range on 24 minutes and another Reid free put Kilkenny five up.

When Walter Walsh tore through on 31 minutes for a well-taken goal it was 1-12 to 1-2, and a Rory O’Connor free finally ended Wexford’s scoreless run. Two more late O’Connor frees made it 1-13 to 1-5 at the half.

Wexford hit two early points on the resumption and then McDonald struck home from close range - 2-8 to 1-14, and game well and truly on.

The home side were far sharper, but Kilkenny still hit scores with more economy, Walter Walsh and Reid (free) nudging them 1-18 to 2-9 ahead on 51 minutes.

Reid pushed Kilkenny further ahead with two more frees, Shaun Murphy and Rory O’Connor replying for Wexford. Every time Kilkenny came downfield they seemed to win frees, and Reid was flawless from placed balls.

Entering the final ten minutes it was 1-21 to 2-12 and Kilkenny seemed to have weathered the storm. So it proved, the Cats running out winners in the end by nine points.

Scorers for Wexford: R. O’Connor (8 frees)(0-12); C. McDonald (1-1); A. Nolan (pen)(1-0); S. Murphy, H. Kehoe (0-1 each).

Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid (12 frees)(0-15); W. Walsh (1-1); J. Donnelly, G. Aylward, R. Leahy (0-2 each); C. Buckley, E. Morrissey, E. Murphy (free), B. Sheehan, M. Keoghan (0-1 each).

WEXFORD: M. Fanning, W. Devereux, L. Ryan, S. Donohue, P. Foley, M. O’Hanlon (jc), D. O’Keeffe, K. Foley, S. Murphy, J. O’Connor, C. McDonald, L. Chin (jc), A. Nolan, R. O’Connor, P. Morris.

Subs: D. Reck for Devereux (inj. 15); H. Kehoe for Morris (49); D. Dunne for Nolan (52); C. Dunbar for J. O’Connor (68).

KILKENNY: E. Murphy, J. Holden, P. Walsh, P. Deegan, C. Delaney, C. Buckley (c), E. Morrissey, R. Leahy, J. Maher, M. Keoghan, TJ Reid, J. Donnelly, G. Aylward, W. Walsh, B. Sheehan.

Subs: C. Fogarty for Maher (48); L. Blanchfield for Donnelly (60); L. Ryan for Leahy (66); L. Scanlon for Sheehan (68); P. Lyng for Keoghan (69).

Referee: C. Lyons (Cork).

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