Wexford’s substitutes were key to Davy Fitzgerald’s men extending their unbeaten run against Kilkenny to six games.
Lee Chin, Rory O’Connor, and Diarmuid O’Keeffe were to the fore in guiding the home side to this Division 1, Group B victory watched by a 7,200 crowd in Chadwicks Wexford Park.
In almost unplayable conditions, Kilkenny had swallowed Wexford’s seven-point half-time lead in 13 minutes, Billy Ryan’s goal three minutes into the half being the chief score.
Kilkenny went a point up in the 51st minute when John Donnelly added his second but the next three points came from Wexford, two of them from Paul Morris. An Alan Murphy free followed a Paddy Deegan long-range point and Kilkenny were back on level terms but Wexford’s finish was emphatic, O’Keeffe pointing from play and Morris sending over his sixth free of the game.
With the gale at their backs, Wexford were expected to lead at the break although such was the advantage, they wouldn’t have been too pleased with the seven-point difference, 1-10 to 0-6.
Although Kilkenny had only a point to their names up to the 21st minute, by which time Wexford had put up 1-7, they shot eight first-half wides and Kilkenny were full value in outscoring them in the second quarter.
Kilkenny had a couple of sniffs at goal too but were thwarted either by some fine last-gasp defending or in the case of Simon Donohue’s foul on Walter Walsh, cynical. In desperate conditions where Darren Brennan struggled to clear his own 45m line with fully struck puck-outs, captain for the day Walsh was impressive in leading the Cats’ defiance of the elements.
Wexford’s first goal came in the sixth minute as Conor McDonald gathered a sideline cut and despite being held up by a couple of defenders showed some dexterity and ingenuity to finish with his back to the goal.
The refereeing of Fergal Horgan at times infuriated the home crowd although Aidan Nolan and Deegan was rightly booked for an altercation in the 35th minute that had been brewing for a number of minutes.
Scorers for Wexford: P. Morris (0-7, 6 frees); C. McDonald (1-1); J. O’Connor (0-3); A. Nolan (0-2); D. Reck, P Foley (free), D. O’Keeffe (0-1 each).
Scorers for Kilkenny: B. Ryan (1-0); A, Murphy (0-4, frees); R. Hogan (0-3); J. Donnelly (0-2); J. Maher, W. Walsh, D. Brennan (free), M. Keoghan, P. Deegan (0-1 each).
WEXFORD: M. Fanning; J. O’Connor, L. Ryan (j-c), S. Donohoe; K. Foley; S. Murphy, P. Foley, D. Reck; A. Rochford, L. Óg McGovern; J. O’Connor, A. Nolan, P. Morris; C. McDonald (j-c), C. Dunbar.
Subs for Wexford: R. O’Connor for C. Dunbar, L. Chin for L. Óg McGovern (both 45); D. O’Keeffe for A. Nolan (50); M. O’Hanlon for D. Reck (66); M. Dwyer for J. O’Connor (67).
KILKENNY: D. Brennan; C. Browne, H. Lawlor, C. Wallace; C. Delaney, P. Deegan, C. Buckley; J. Maher, M. Carey; J. Donnelly, A. Murphy, M. Keoghan; B. Ryan, R. Hogan, W. Walsh (c).
Subs for Kilkenny: D. Mullen for M. Carey (54); B. Sheehan for R. Hogan (58); M. Cody for J. Maher (64);
Referee: F. Horgan (Tipperary).