By Michael Moynihan, Walsh Park
Waterford 0-19 Wexford 2-20
This NHL 1A clash went to the visitors Wexford in front of a crowd of 7,567.
The winners were aided by a strong breeze coming from the Keane’s Road entrance in the first half and opened with Paudie Foley and keeper Mark Fanning (two frees) points from long range.
The visitors showed the benefits of a tough Walsh Cup final last week against Kilkenny - they were quicker to the pace of the game and led 0-7 to 0-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Jake Dillon got Waterford’s first point, on 19 minutes, and Paraic Mahony added a free three minutes later, but Lee Chin made it 0-9 to 0-2 on 23 minutes.
Stephen Bennett came close to a Waterford goal on 27 minutes but Fanning turned the shot away; Mahony pointed the 65.
Wexford continued to shoot from range with success, pushing the score to 0-11 to 0-4.
A close-range Aidan Nolan shot was stopped well by Ian O’Regan in the Waterford goal, and the sides then swapped points again.
In injury time Wexford hit their first wide; before the teams went in another Mahony free made it 0-12 to 0-6.
Waterford had the breeze in the second half but a Chin free opened the scoring. However, Waterford then hit four points on the bounce, Tadhg de Burca’s long-range effort the pick of them.
By the 43rd minute Waterford were only three adrift, 0-13 to 0-10.
Wexford’s David Dunne then struck, however, fielding well, rounding his man and batting home a clever goal, restoring their six-point advantage.
Barron pointed a sideline but Waterford’s discipline began to fray, and Chin converted two frees, leaving the score 1-15 to 0-11 going into the final quarter.
Wexford had scores from Dunne and Chin to stretch their lead to eight points before Dunne struck again with a terrific solo goal on 60 minutes: 2-18 to 0-13, ending the game as a contest.
Scorers for Waterford: P. Mahony (9 frees, 1 65)(0-12); J. Barron (1 sideline)(0-2); J. Dillon, T. Ryan, T. de Burca, A. Gleeson, D. Fives (0-1 each).
Scorers for Wexford: L. Chin (6 frees)(0-8), D. Dunne (2-2); M. Fanning (frees)(0-3); K. Foley, D. O’Keeffe (0-2 each); P. Foley, A. Nolan, P. Morris (0-1 each).
WATERFORD: I. O’Regan, C. Gleeson, B. Coughlan, S. McNulty, T. de Burca, A. Gleeson, P. Mahony, J. Barron, D. Fives, K. Moran, P. Mahony, J. Dillon, S. Bennett, M. Shanahan, T. Ryan.
WEXFORD: M. Fanning, D. Reck, L. Ryan, S. Murphy (c), P. Foley, M. O’Hanlon S. Donohue, K. Foley, D. O’Keeffe, A. Nolan, L. Chin, J. O’Connor, P. Morris, D. Dunne, C. McDonald.
Subs: E. Moore for P. Foley (blood 12-15); J. Guiney for K. Foley (61); C. Dunbar for P. Morris (66); H. Kehoe for J. O’Connor (70); A. Maddock for Nolan (71).
Referee: S. Cleere (Kilkenny)