Wexford get to the pitch of it

When the going gets tough, the tough get going, but what happens when the going is as soft as in Páirc Uí Chaoimh?

Wexford get to the pitch of it

[team1]CORK[/team1][score1]0-17[/score1][team2]WEXFORD[/team2][score2]1-18[/score2][/score]

When the going gets tough, the tough get going, but what happens when the going is as soft as in Páirc Uí Chaoimh?

Racing aficionados can grade the turf as they wish, but the underfoot conditions on Leeside yesterday had a material effect on the proceedings, with players losing their footing and having to deal with a sliotar getting stuck in the turf time and again.

The torn surface was a key conversation topic among the 6,897 in attendance.

As for the Division 1A League tie itself, in a competition which doesn’t have the threat of relegation hanging over teams, there’s always a danger of games becoming less than savage competitions, and that danger hardened into reality yesterday with a dull encounter.

Wexford, however, outfought and outmuscled the home side in the words of Cork selector Donal O’Mahony.

“We’d like to have won the game but we’re at a stage where we’re learning things, the Fitzgibbon is one - that’s not an excuse but those are the kinds of things. We’re disappointed with the result and we have to learn from it quickly.”

Winning manager Davy Fitzgerald was understandably happier: “I thought we worked extremely hard and were happy enough for Cork to have the ball back in their own 45, or deeper. Both teams were guilty of bad wides today, but it was the same last night in Limerick. You’re going to get that at this time of the year.

“We’re working on different things but victory was nice for us today. We felt we weren’t one hundred miles away from Limerick last week, we got a shot at the posts with the last play of the game last week and Limerick were really up for it.

"So two games, one win, we can’t complain.”

From the off the game suffered as players struggled to deal with the surface, which cut up badly and wasn’t helped by the football game which had been played earlier.

Wexford struggled to find their range and relied on Jack O’Connor’s accuracy from frees, with Cork similarly dependent on Patrick Horgan.

The game swung, in essence, on the only goal of the afternoon. A long delivery from Paudie Foley broke kindly in the Cork goalmouth and David Dunne was on hand to nudge it home.

Cork hit four wides after that before Aidan Walsh’s injury-time point made it 1-7 to 0-10 at the half.

Wexford had two quick points on the resumption and though Cork stayed in touch, their wides tally began to mount. Still, when Daniel Kearney landed a long-range point entering the final quarter to level the game, the home support might have expected a kick for home from the Rebels.

The visitors knuckled down, however, and with Jack O’Connor showing the way, they outscored Cork 0-7 to 0-3 in the final stages. Cork came looking for a goal late on but couldn’t make the break - through that would have ensured a storming finish, and Wexford emerged as deserving winners.

“You can talk about relegation or no relegation, but when you get out on the field you want to win the game,” said Fitzgerald.

“No matter what any manager says, you don’t want to lose games. I didn’t want to lose last week and Cork, no matter what they said, didn’t want to lose this week.

“It helps to build confidence and character, every game you win, that’s very important.”

In the Cork corner Donal O’Mahony added: “We don’t look for excuses. It’s not an excuse (the surface) why we lost the game. They were better than us on the day, they outworked us and they outfought us.

The pitch was as bad for them as it was for us. They are physically stronger than us, it became a dogfight there in the middle third, the two halfback lines, they came out on top and that’s more the reason why we lost the game rather than the pitch.

Cork can console themselves with the displays of Aidan Walsh and Tim O’Mahony, but it was Wexford’s day.

They were able to make space to shoot when they wanted to, which might not be as easy an option later in the year but, as Fitzgerald said, their confidence was boosted by a bright, purposeful display and the game time enjoyed by some returning players.

Scorers for Cork: P. Horgan (0-5, frees); A. Walsh (0-4); T. O’Mahony, B. Cooper (0-2 each); C. Murphy, C. Lehane, D. Kearney, S. Kingston (0-1 each).

Scorers for Wexford: J. O’Connor (0-6, 5 frees); D. Dunne (1-0), C. Dunbar (0-3); R. O’Connor, D. O’Keeffe, P. Foley (1 free)(0-2 each); S. Murphy, C. McDonald (free), S. Donohue (0-1 each).

CORK: A. Nash, S. O’Donoghue, D. Cahalane, C. O’Sullivan, C. Joyce, T. O’Mahony, M. Coleman, B. Cooper, C. Murphy, C. Cahalane, M. O’Halloran, D. Kearney, C. Lehane, A. Walsh, P. Horgan.

Subs: L. Meade for C. Cahalane (25); D. Dalton for Lehane (63); G. Millerick for O’Sullivan (68).

WEXFORD: M. Fanning, D. Reck, M. O’Hanlon, D. Byrne, S. Donohue, P. Foley, S. Murphy, D. O’Keeffe, K. Foley, P. Morris, D. Dunne, J. O’Connor, C. Dunbar, C. McDonald, L. Og McGovern.

Subs: R. O’Connor for Dunne (HT); L. Chin for McGovern (46); A. Byrne for Morris (63); H. Kehoe for McDonald (68).

Referee: J. Murphy (Limerick)

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.