Kerry 0-8 Wexford 2-25
Wexford put a losing start to the Allianz League behind them by hammering 13-man Kerry in front of a large crowd at Austin Stack Park.
Given a big stage as a warm-up act to Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s footballers and in front of TG4 cameras, Kerry deeply disappointed and the 23-point margin of defeat reflected their drop in standards from their opening two games.
Conor McDonald’s 14th-minute goal was the key moment as a wind-assisted Wexford built a 12-point half-time lead. Andrew Shore, who ended with 1-7 from play, capped the win with a fine late goal.
The main stand in the revamped Austin Stack Park was full by the start of hurling portion of the double-header in Tralee.
However, the home fans were left with little to cheer as Shane Tomkins scored good points either side of an Andrew Shore effort to give Wexford a quick three-point lead.
A superb interception by Bryan Murphy prevented a likely Wexford goal and Shane Nolan and Mikey Boyle points got the Western End umpires in action for the first time.
However, Shore picked off two scores from a distance of 65 metres to cancel each of those out, before Kerry made things worse for themselves.
A Kerry giveaway allowed Aidan Nolan a point before similar defensive blundering from a short puck-out gave Wexford a run on goal – Shore won the ball and Podge Doran provided the assist for the overlapping Conor McDonald to score. That was the Model county’s first goal from play in the League on McDonald’s first start of the year.
John Egan worked a superb one-two to set up a goal chance for himself but, having rounded the goalie, a miraculous diving block from Paudie Foley prevented the three-pointer. Egan settled for a point from the rebound.
McDonald threatened a second goal at the other end – his acute-angled shot whistling across the goal – but further points from Nolan, Liam Óg McGovern, Lee Chin and a trio of Harry Kehoe frees, all from overcarrying calls, gave Wexford a 1-13 to 0-4 half-time cushion.
Wexford added three of the next four scores after the break, from Shore and Kehoe (two frees), ending hopes that Kerry could use that wind advantage to contest the victory.
Still, Nolan did utilise the conditions to slot a free from close to Kerry’s own 45, but that was one of only four second-half points for the hosts and Tom Murnane’s 56th-minute dismissal for a second yellow was the salt in the wound.
For Wexford Shore’s 63rd-minute brilliantly clinical catch and finish for a goal added decoration to the victory, which ended with Kerry full-back Murphy conceding a penalty and receiving a straight red in injury-time.
Ian Byrne blasted the one-on-one attempt over to complete Wexford’s tally of 2-25.
Scorers for Kerry: S Nolan (0-5, 4 frees); M Boyle, J Egan, C Harty (0-1 each).
Scorers for Wexford: A Shore (1-7); H Kehoe (0-6 frees); C McDonald (1-2); S Tomkins, I Byrne (pen), A Nolan (0-2 each); L Óg McGovern, L Chin, E Moore, D O’Keeffe (0-1 each).
KERRY: M Stackpoole; S Weir, B Murphy, K Carmody; D Collins, T Casey, T Murnane; P Kelly, J Griffin; S Nolan, M O’Leary, C Harty; J Egan, M Boyle, J Goulding.
Subs: D Fitzell for Weir (ht), J Diggins for Casey (45), P Lucid for O’Leary (46), J Conway for Goulding (65),
WEXFORD: C O’Leary; L Ryan, M O’ Hanlon, A Kenny; E Conroy, P Foley, E Moore; L Chin, H Kehoe; S Tompkins, A Shore, A Nolan; C McDonald, P Doran, L Óg McGovern.
Subs: D O’Keeffe for Doran (49), I Byrne for Nolan (58), J O’Connor for Chin (63), A Maddock for Ryan, K Sheridan for Moore (both 65),
Referee: J O'Brien (Tipperary).