Cats ease into Leinster final

Wexford 1-15 Kilkenny 1-26

Wexford 1-15 Kilkenny 1-26

Kilkenny sent out a message that they are still a major force as they crusied into the Leinster SHC final at Wexford Park.

The Cats were never troubled by a spirited Wexford side as they romped to an 11 points win.

Henry Shefflin made a welcome return to championship action, hitting nine points, all but one of them from placed balls.

Brian Cody’s men will take a close look at next weekend’s semi-final between Dublin and Galway, the winners of which will be their opponents in the decider.

Richie Hogan blasted in a ninth minute goal for the Cats after Garrett Synott had give the home side early hope with a couple of neat points.

Henry Shefflin converted two frees, and Kilkenny were three points clear when Hogan added a point.

Wexford crafted a goal chance 10 minutes before the break when Stephen Banville released Rory Jacob, but he pulled his shot wide of the far post.

Corner back Paul Roche and Banville tagged on points, but Kilkenny enjoyed another productive spell, hitting a volley of points, including a couple of ling range Richie Power gems.

But Kilkenny needed a superb save from goalkeeper David Herity, who turned Jacob’s strike over the bar.

The goal did eventually come in stoppage time, drilled to the net from a 20 metre free by Jim Berry.

Kilkenny led by 1-14 to 1-9 at the break, but with the home crowd getting behind them, Wexford rose to the challenge in the early stages of the second half, with Willie Doran, Berry and Sinnott all finding the range.

But the cool Cats steadied the ship, and steered themselves clear of the danger.

Michael Fennelly, Michael Rice, and Shefflin were all on target as Brian Cody’s men brought their vast experience to bear on the contest.

Larkin saw an angled effort zip just past the butt of a post and Hogan sent a screamer crashing against an upright as the pressure mounted on the Model men.

When Shefflin cantered through for his first point from play, Kilkenny led by nine points, and there seemed no way back into the game for Wexford.

Noel Hickey, Brian Hogan and Paddy Hogan defended with assurance, and Rice’s powerhouse midfield display drove his side on time and again.

And for the second time, Herity produced a wonder save to deny Banville.

Kilkenny finished the job off in style with a couple of long range strikes from TJ Reid

Wexford: N Breen, P Roche (0-2, 1 ’65), M O’Hanlon, K Rossiter, L Prendergast, M Travers (0-1), C Kenny, W Doran (0-1), D Redmond, PJ Nolan, H Kehoe, S Banville (0-1), R Jacob (0-2), G Sinnott (0-4), J Berry (1-4 (1-3f).

Subs: C Farrell for Kenny (12), M Jacob for Doran (29), E Quigleyf or Redmond, B Doyle for Nolan (62), T Waters for Kehoe (66)

Kilkenny: D Herity, P Murphy (0-1), N Hickey, J Tyrrell, P Hogan, B Hogan, JJ Delaney, M Fennelly (0-2), M Rice (0-4), TJ Reid (0-3), R Power (0-4, 1f), E Larkin (0-1), C Fennelly (0-1), H Shefflin (0-9, 6f, 2 ’65)), R Hogan (1-1).

Subs: M Kavanagh for Tyrell (59), E Brennan for C Fennelly (60), J Mulhall for Larkin (63)

Referee: J Ryan (Tipperary).

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