Kilkenny claimed manager Brian Cody’s first Walsh Cup success in his seventh year in charge as they ran out 1-13 to 0-10 winners at Wexford Park today.
The Cats – 2-16 to 0-05 losers to UCD in last year’s decider - wrestled their first Walsh win since 1992 away from the Leinster champions as they built on John Maher's eighth-minute goal.
Eddie Brennan's languid 40-yard run ended with a Matty White save in the Wexford goalmouth, but corner forward Maher was on hand to bat home the loose ball.
Wexford had little in reply, playing into a teeth of a gale in the first half, as Barry Lambert and Dessie Mythen bagged their only points of a disappointing first half. Cody's charges led 1-09 to 0-02 by the break as Henry Shefflin (0-03), John Hoyne (0-02), Brennan (0-02), Conor Phelan and JJ Delaney - with a nifty 90-yard strike - saw them sail clear.
Of course Wexford's six wides helped and a further ten in the second half, even backed by the breeze, saw their challenge peter out.
Kilkenny - who started with ten of last year's beaten All-Ireland finalists - pulled through, despite leaking points to Lambert (0-03 (3f)), Nigel Higgins (0-02), Declan Ruth, Paul Carley (1 '65) and Dessie Lyng, won out as Shefflin and impressive second half substitute Willie O'Dwyer saw them home.