Tipperary hurlers too strong for Wexford

Tipperary 3-24 Wexford 0-19

Wexford’s Championship challenge petered out at Semple Stadium this afternoon as hosts Tipperary comfortably took the honours in a one-sided All-Ireland SHC phase 1 qualifier.

Tipperary were allowed to coast into a 0-15 to 0-7 half-time lead, and added second half goals from Lar Corbett (2-3) and substitute Darragh Egan (1-0) to put the result beyond any doubt.

Wexford's marking was lacklustre and they lost the midfield battle, allowing the likes of Eoin Kelly and David Young, who crowned his Championship debut with three points, to push the hosts clear.

The best performers for Wexford were Keith Rossiter, Rory Jacob and substitute Jim Berry, but it was a day to forget for the NHL Division 2 champions who never looked like providing their manager Colm Bonnar with a win over his native county.

Looking to bounce back from losing their Munster title, Tipp manager Liam Sheedy made four changes to the team that was overwhelmed by Cork last time out, with right half-back Young and left half-forward Patrick Maher making their Championship bows.

Gearoid Ryan also made his first Championship start in the half-forwards, with Declan Fanning installed at full-back and Seamus Callanan leading a youthful half-forward line.

Suspended captain Diarmuid ‘Gizzy’ Lyng was Wexford’s most notable absentee and his presence was certainly missed. Tomas Waters took over from him as one of four changes to the Wexford side that suffered Leinster quarter-final defeat to Galway.

Paul Roche and David Redmond, who is back from Australia, returned in the visitors’ defence, and Tomas Mahon also got the nod at top of the left.

The sides’ first Championship meeting since Wexford’s 2007 All-Ireland quarter-final triumph began with an off-the-ball skirmish involving Tipperary full-back Declan Fanning and Wexford full-forward Stephen Banville.

Blood was seen coming from Fanning’s ear after his helmet was ripped off him, with Banville also emerging from the tussle without his headgear. Referee James McGrath brandished a yellow card to both, and the Tipp defender had to be replaced by Paul Curran.

The opening ten minutes were evenly contested before Sheedy's men added some cushion to their lead, without hitting third gear. Corbett pointed the dethroned Munster champions ahead in the first minute, quickly followed by wing back Young's first score at this level.

Good work by Eoin Quigley preceded Colm Farrell's opener for Wexford and as Tipp hit their stride, an athletic catch and point on the turn from Noel McGrath took their tally to 0-3.

The Premier County side were finding scores easier to come by and in between pointed efforts from Banville and Harry Kehoe, Corbett, Ryan and Young fired over at the other end.

An arcing run from Shane McGrath ended with a rising shot which Wexford goalkeeper Noel Carton deflected out for a '65' which Tipp captain Kelly knocked through the posts for a 0-7 to 0-4 scoreline.

Wexford failed to clear their lines, allowing Noel McGrath swoop on the ball and score on the run.

Wexford showed their threat when Rory Jacob darted around Curran and lashed a one-handed shot towards goal. Net minder Brenan Cummins stood up well to force it wide, and Peter Atkinson converted the resulting '65'.

Tipp opened up a six-point gap as Seamus Callanan, Kelly (free) and Corbett collected successive points. Wexford responded through Farrell (free) and Mahon, but they could not prevent Kelly (two frees), Patrick Maher and Young from bolstering the home side's lead to eight by the half-time whistle.

The game was effectively over as a contest, just three minutes into the second half. Kelly grabbed a quick brace of points from play before, in the space of a minute, Corbett cracked home his two goals.

The pacy full-forward flicked home his first after taking a handpass from Noel McGrath and riding two challenges, and followed up by haring onto a through ball to blast home his second with an angled drive to the roof of the net.

Atkinson and the impressive Harry Kehoe reduced the arrears to 2-17 to 0-9 for a demoralised Wexford, and it was target practice thereafter as Tipp were relatively untroubled right to the finish.

The Jacob brothers, Rory and substitute Michael, caused some problems for Cummins and his defenders but they could not get the goals the Model men craved.

Kelly took his haul to 0-8 before being called ashore twelve minutes from the end, and Tomas Waters was fortunate to get away with a stamp on a prone Conor O'Mahony as frustration got the better of Wexford.

Wexford goalkeeper Carton reacted smartly to deny Patrick Maher as he raced through unchallenged and a terrific catch and point from Ryan, following Brendan Maher's diagonal delivery, made it 2-20 to 0-10.

Patrick Maher notched his second point and Ryan added his third as Tipp ticked towards the 30-point mark.

Wexford put in a final spurt, during which Mahon, Rory Jacob, Farrell and substitute Berry landed points, as Tipp switched off slightly.

Ryan registered his fourth point before the winners mustered their final goal. In the 67th minute, Wexford were caught for numbers through the middle and although Noel McGrath's kicked effort bounced back off the bar, substitute Egan finished clinically to the net after a great piece of first time control.

Scorers:

Tipperary: L Corbett 2-3, E Kelly 0-8 (0-3f, 0-2 ‘65’), G Ryan 0-4, D Egan 1-0, D Young, N McGrath (0-1f) 0-3 each, P Maher 0-2, S Callanan 0-1.

Wexford: H Kehoe, R Jacob, J Berry (0-1f), C Farrell (0-1f) 0-3 each, P Atkinson (0-1 ‘65’, 0-1f), S Banville, T Mahon 0-2 each, D Stamp 0-1.

TIPPERARY: B Cummins; M Cahill, D Fanning, C O'Brien; D Young, C O'Mahony, Padraic Maher; B Maher, S McGrath; G Ryan, S Callanan, Patrick Maher; N McGrath, L Corbett, E Kelly.

Subs used: P Curran for Fanning (2 mins, blood sub), J O’Brien for Callanan (50), S Hennessy for Kelly (58), D Egan for S McGrath (64), S Maher for B Maher (68), M Heffernan for Ryan (70).

WEXFORD: N Carton; P Roche, K Rossiter, C Kenny; R Kehoe, D Stamp, D Redmond; C Farrell, H Kehoe; P Atkinson, T Waters, E Quigley; R Jacob, S Banville, T Mahon.

Subs used: L Prendergast for Quigley (half-time), J Berry for Atkinson (42 mins), M Jacob for Banville (45), S Banville for Waters (46-49, blood sub), T Dwyer for Redmond (50), B Kenny for Roche (69).

Referee: James McGrath (Westmeath).

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