By Brendan Furlong
Wexford 0-14 Offaly 0-06
Wexford manager Liam Dunne admitted conditions were difficult but was happy with his side's eventual eight-point victory over Offaly in their Walsh Cup senior hurling semi-final played in O’Kennedy Park, New Ross.
“I spoke with the referee before the game and told him I would have no difficulty should he have to call off the game," said Dunne.
“The conditions were horrendous for hurling but we executed our game plan well.
"We got a firm grip in midfield through Harry Kehoe and Lee Chin, with Harry in sparkling form both from frees and placed balls.
“Really we always had control of the game. Now we look forward to Dublin and Croke Park this Saturday evening.”
The urgency in Wexford’s play was evident from the opening exchanges when, backed by a strong breeze, they hit three points inside the opening seven minutes through Kehoe, from two frees, and Shane Tomkins.
But then they hit three consecutive wides, while a mis-hit Shane Dooley free was clawed away from under the crossbar by home keeper Mark Fanning.
Kehoe was having a huge impact in midfield, striking over two excellent long-range points from play, while in between corner-forward David Dunne knifed his way through the defence but keeper James Dempsey managed to affect a superb save to keep his goal intact.
The scoreline was not really reflecting Wexford’s dominance as they only managed to lead by 0-08 to 0-00 after 20 minutes, with Kehoe, Aidan Nolan, Lee Chin and David Dunne on target.
With the Offaly attack struggling in general play they had to wait until the 29th minute for their opening score, a Colin Egan point, which turned out their only score from general play for the entire game.
Wexford managed to finish the half with a Kehoe pointed free, while Dooley followed with two frees, but it was the home side who led 0-10 to 0-03 at the interval.
Dooley struck two pointed frees inside 12 minutes of the restart reducing the deficit to five point, 0-10 to 0-05.
However, Wexford’s response was positive responding with points from Tomkins, who was hugely impressive, and two Kehoe frees.
Offaly needed scores but all they could manage was two Dooley pointed frees, while Kehoe fired over the closing score through a 60-meter free off the wing.
Wexford scorers: H Kehoe (7f) 0-9, S Tomkins 0-2, L Chin, A Nolan, D Dunne 0-1 each.
Offaly: S Dooley 0-5 frees, C Egan 0-1.
Wexford: M Fanning; J Breen, M O’Hanlon, A Kenny; A Shore, L Ryan, D O’Keeffe; L Chin, H Kehoe; J O’Connor, A Nplan, S Tomkins; C Dunbar, L Og McGovern, D Dunne. Subs: B Carton for Nolan (inj. 26); A Maddock for O’Hanlon (inj. 40); O’Hanlon for Maddock (55); P Kenny for O’Connor (61); S O’Gorman for Carton (61).
Offaly: J Dempsey; N Wynne, C McDonald, P Rigney; J Bergin, C Doughan, P Camon; S Kinsella, J O’Connor; S Ryan, C Egan, S Dooley; J Mulrooney, J Gorman, S Quirke. Subs: J Sampson for Bergin (29); B Conneely for Ryan (inj. 30); S Cleary for Gorman (48); R Hughes for Quirke (60); G Conneely for O’Connor (61).
Referee: P Burke (Kilkenny).