Galway's brave bid for five All-Ireland hurling titles in one season fell at the first hurdle in Portlaoise today as Wexford claimed a 1-15 to 0-16 win in the Intermediate decider.
Wexford had a distinct advantage in that they could select players from senior clubs, and Seamus Murphy's side duly overcame a gallant Galway outfit, backboned by six of their Under-21 squad.
The result leave Galway gunning for a 2005 four-timer with All-Ireland finals to come at minor, senior, Under-21 and masters' levels in the next three weeks.
Aided by the wind and Paul Roche's fifth-minute penalty for a foul on MJ Furlong, Wexford raced into a 1-10 to 0-8 half-time lead. Free-taker Stephen Doyle was central to their early dominance as he racked up four first half points.
Although Doyle tagged on two early frees in the second half to hand the Model men a seven-point buffer, the Tribesmen managed to score seven of the next eight points to roar back to a 0-15 to 1-13 deficit.
Former minor star Kenneth Burke hit three of those, but Wexford steadied themselves with points from Doyle and substitute Marty Kelly to confirm their first Intermediate title since 1964, and third in all.