Brian Molloy stars as Galway set up final date with Cork

Galway 1-20 Wexford 0-11: Holders Cork will face familiar opposition in next month’s All-Ireland intermediate hurling final after Galway cruised to a maiden Leinster title success last night.

Brian Molloy stars as Galway set up final date with Cork

Anthony Cunningham’s Tribesmen, lining out with seven of their county U21s, built up an early lead in Portlaoise and used the cushion to repel a second-half Wexford revival.

Brian Molloy was ultimately Galway’s game breaker with 1-4 and the westerners finished with seven unanswered points to seal their August 8 decider spot, a repeat of last year’s semi-final, in convincing fashion.

Wexford played most of the second half with 14 men after John Lacey’s 34th minute dismissal for a wild pull on Darragh Burke.

Captain James Skehill is now on the brink of adult All-Ireland success having come agonisingly close with the senior team three years ago when they contested a replay with Kilkenny.

The Cappataggle man was rarely troubled by a Wexford attack that didn’t register their first point from open play until Jim Berry’s 36th minute score.

Galway weren’t exactly prolific at the other end and registered eight first-half wides but still held a commanding 1-9 to 0-3 half-time lead.

Dean Higgins, part of last year’s side that lost to Cork, opened the scoring and they were well in the clear when Molloy netted after eight minutes.

Shane Moloney played him in at the end of a flowing move and Molloy applied a smart finish from close range.

The U21 finished the half with 1-2 while wing back Paul Flaherty drilled three great long-range points.

Wexford improved in the third quarter and were buoyed by the introduction of Tomas Waters. He featured in this year’s Allianz league but hasn’t played senior for Wexford since a horror knee injury against Clare in the 2013 All-Ireland qualifiers.

Free-taker Joe Kelly fired eight points for Wexford who reduced their arrears to six points at 1-13 to 0-10.

But Galway finished strong in the last 10 minutes with some fine scores by Moloney and sub Ronan O’Meara.

Scorers for Galway:

B Molloy (1-4), S Moloney (0-4), P Flaherty (0-3), T Haran and R O’Meara (0-2 each), D Higgins, E Burke, C Whelan, D Nevin and C Whelan (0-1 each).

Scorers for Wexford:

Joe Kelly (0-8, 6 frees), J Berry, T Dwyer and M O’Hanlon (0-1 each).

Galway:

J Skehill; C Flynn, D O’Donoghue, A Tuohy; S Cooney, D Burke, P Flaherty; K McHugo, D Higgins; E Burke, T Haran, E Brannigan; B Molloy, C Whelan, S Moloney.

Subs:

D Nevin for McHugo (39), R O’Meara for Burke and J Kennedy for Brannigan (both 52), E Mahony for Cooney (57), B Keane for O’Donoghue (59).

Wexford:

D Flynn; B Mulligan, J Breen, J Tonks; P Kenny, M O’Regan, P Nolan; T Dwyer, M Moloney; J Lacey, B Carton, J Kelly; T O’Leary, M O’Hanlon, J Berry.

Subs:

T Waters for O’Regan (37), T Mahon for Moloney and J Rack for Carton (both 41), W Furlong for O’Leary (50), J Dwyer for Kelly (60).

Referee:

Peter Burke (Kilkenny).

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