Waterford secure place in All-Ireland SHC semi-final after dramatic win over Wexford

Waterford 1-23

Wexford 1-19

Wexford were outwitted and outworked by a Waterford team who will feel there is still plenty in them after this handsome win, writes John Fogarty.

It was workmanlike at times but Kevin Moran in the first half and Austin Gleeson in the second were in mean form to guide their county to a third consecutive All-Ireland semi-final.

However, the loss of Tadhg de Burca to a late red card will cost them dearly when they return to Croke Park.

Waterford's Tadhg de Búrca gets away from Wexford's Podge Doran
Waterford's Tadhg de Búrca gets away from Wexford's Podge Doran

This affair, witnessed by 31,753 in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, was slightly more exciting than yesterday’s other quarter-final although that wouldn’t have been difficult.

However, the result seemed sealed from a long way out, Waterford leading by six in the 54th minute.

Teenager Rory O’Connor had impressed in the early stages of the second half but Gleeson took over thereafter and in the end it was comfortable for Derek McGrath’s side, who conceded an additional time goal to Jack O’Connor.

Waterford, who led never went behind in the first half, opening up with a Pauric Mahony free and while a similar score by Lee Chin cancelled it out Waterford led by 0-5 to 0-2 before Conor McDonald and Jack Guiney (free) brought Wexford closer.

Kevin Moran and Michael Walsh were immense in the opening period, Moran scoring 1-2 and Walsh winning three frees, two of them converted by Mahony, and taking a point.

Neither full-forward line were making any inroads as the play concentrated on the middle third where the Déise were marginally get the better of their rivals.

Two Mahony frees, preceded by a Jake Dillon point, pushed them 0-8 to 0-4 ahead and they regained that advantage when Darragh Fives answered a Jack Guiney free.

Waterford's Michael Walsh challenges Wexford's Willie Devereux
Waterford's Michael Walsh challenges Wexford's Willie Devereux

Three consecutive Wexford scores warmed up the contest although Mahony (free), Conor Gleeson and a terrific effort by Austin Gleeson had Waterford four up again.

Wexford were not finding their range, either putting balls wide or short, and while the margin was two going in the first minute of additional time they lost focus in clearing their lines, Shane Bennett putting through Moran who kept cool to ground stroke the ball past an advancing Mark Fanning.

Scorers for Waterford: Pauric Mahony (0-9, frees); K. Moran (1-3); A. Gleeson (0-3, 1 free); M. Shanahan, B. O’Halloran (0-2 each); J. Dillon, M. Walsh, D. Fives, C. Gleeson (0-1 each).

Scorers for Wexford: J. Guiney (0-6, frees); J. O’Connor (1-2); L. Chin (0-3, 2 frees); D. O’Keeffe (0-2); E. Moore, C. McDonald, P. Morris, A. Nolan, L. Ryan, R. O’Connor (0-1 each).

WATERFORD: S. O’Keeffe; B. Coughlan, N. Connors; T. de Burca; D. Fives, S. Fives, C. Gleeson, Philip Mahony; J Barron, K. Moran (c); M. Walsh, A. Gleeson, Pauric Mahony; J. Dillon, Shane Bennett.

Subs for Waterford: M. Shanahan for J. Dillon (45); B. O’Halloran for Shane Bennett (46); Stephen Bennett for M. Walsh (54); C. Dunford for J. Barron (62); T. Ryan for Pauric Mahony (70+1).

Red card: T. de Burca (red, 67).

WEXFORD: M. Fanning; J. Breen, L. Ryan; S. Murphy; E. Moore, M. O’Hanlon, W Devereux; L. Chin, D. Redmond; P. Morris, R. O’Connor, C. McDonald, D. O’Keeffe; P. Doran, J. Guiney.

Subs for Wexford: A. Nolan for D. Redmond (28); H. Kehoe for C. McDonald (59); S. Tomkins for P. Doran (64).

Referee: F. Horgan (Tipperary).

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