A sterling second-half comeback from Wexford earned the visitors to Salthill a share of the spoils in this error-ridden Leinster SHC clash.
Having been behind by six at the break, that gap twice stretching out to seven early in the second-half, Wexford struck seven without reply between the 52nd and 64th minute to hit the front, 0-15 to 0-14, for the first time in proceedings.
On target for the Model County during this period of supremacy was Lee Chin (two frees), Rory O’Connor (0-2), Cathal Dunbar, Conor McDonald, and Shaun Murphy, as the challenge of the home side, who looked so heavy of foot, ground to a halt in the face of a stiff wind. A Jason Flynn ‘65 was their first score in 17 minutes and the Tribesmen retook the inside lane when Flynn added another three minutes from time.
Liam Óg McGovern quickly had Wexford back on level footing and it was they who had the best chance to sneak a winner during the four minutes of second-half stoppages as a fine Jack O’Connor fetch put through Cathal Dunbar for a goal, only for Colm Callanan to prove equal to the shot.
Galway, who had the backing of a strong wind in the opening half, led 0-10 to 0-4 at the interval. Far more noteworthy, however, was the half-time wides tally which had Galway at eight and Wexford at 10.
Davy Fitzgerald’s men misfired spectacularly in the opening 20 minutes and had accrued seven wides before Lee Chin, from a free, struck their first point after 23 minutes. Chin was responsible for four of those early misses, two of which were dead-ball efforts, while Liam Óg McGovern was off target on two occasions.
Galway were only marginally less wasteful down the other end, with Niall Burke thrice shooting wide. David Burke was also guilty of squandering two white flag opportunities.
Niall Burke (two frees and a ‘65), Jason Flynn, and two from the impressive Conor Whelan had Galway six in front before Wexford got off the mark. The visitors to Salthill managed only one first-half point from play, that from Aidan Nolan on 24 minutes.
Galway finished the half stronger with scores from Conor Cooney and Whelan, but will have been disappointed not to have taken an earlier goal chance when Brian Concannon intercepted a poor Mark Fanning restart. Fanning, to his credit, redeemed himself when turning away Conor Cooney’s subsequent shot.
Wexford made a fair fist of eating into the Galway lead upon the change of ends and their comeback effort was deserving of something. But how easily they could have bagged the two points on offer.
Game in 60 seconds
Colm Callanan’s injury-time save to deny Cathal Dunbar a Wexford goal and, in the process, stave off a home defeat.
The wide count. Galway finished on 14, Wexford on 16. Neither side scored well under the headings of economy in front of goal and scoring efficiency.
There were absolutely no winners to emerge from this poor, poor contest.
Galway, in their current incarnation, are a shadow of the side which steamrolled through the Leinster round-robin 12 months ago. Based on the form shown in the opening two rounds, the Tribesmen will find it difficult to accumulate the necessary five points to squeeze into the top three. Will need to beat either Dublin or Kilkenny on the road. Easier said than done.
No standout performers in a game riddled with errors. Conor Whelan was the best player on the field in the opening half, Seán Loftus was tidy throughout, while John Hanbury made an impression when introduced. For Wexford, Jack O’Connor was effective upon entering the fray. Lee Chin was busy throughout, even if his shooting let him down.
Galway management was slow to make changes in the second period. Certain players in maroon lasted far longer on the field than should have been the case. Davy Glennon brought verve to the home attack and you’d have to question why it was left until the 66th minute to spring him.
Micheál Donoghue was again coy on Joe Canning’s return date and when we might see him in a maroon shirt this summer. “He is working really hard with the medical team and is making good ground on it,” is all the Galway manager was willing to offer us.
Donoghue was none too pleased with Johnny Murphy’s officiating.
Home comforts for Wexford after a fortnight on the road, they entertain Carlow on Saturday, June 8. Galway travel to Nowlan Park the following day.
J Flynn (0-6, 0-3 frees, 0-1 ‘65), N Burke (0-4, 0-3 frees, 0-1 ‘65); C Whelan (0-3); C Cooney, C Mannion, David Burke (0-1 each).
L Chin (0-7, 0-6 frees, 0-1 ‘65); C Dunbar, R O’Connor (0-2 each); S Murphy, D O’Keeffe, A Nolan, C McDonald, L Óg McGovern (0-1 each)
C Callanan; P Mannion, D Burke, A Harte; S Loftus, G McInerney, J Cooney; J Coen, D Burke; J Flynn, N Burke, C Mannion; C Cooney, C Whelan, B Concannon.
J Glynn for N Burke (41 mins); K Hussey for J Coen (57); J Hanbury for J Cooney (60); D Glennon for Concannon (66)
M Fanning; S Donohue, D Reck, L Ryan; S Murphy, M O’Hanlon, P Foley; A Nolan, D O’Keeffe; R O’Connor, L Chin, K Foley; C Dunbar, L Óg McGovern, C McDonald.
P Morris for Nolan, J O’Connor for P Foley (both 49 mins).
J Murphy (Limerick).