WEXFORD 1-21 GALWAY 1-19
Wexford are through to their first Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland Under-21 hurling final since 2001 after defeating Galway by two points, 1-21 to 1-19 at Semple Stadium.
The Slaneysiders lost last year’s semi-final in shock fashion against Antrim but Wexford banished the bitter memories of that defeat as senior star Jack Guiney scored 1-08 en route to victory.
The sides were level ten times in front of 6,853 spectators at Semple Stadium, but late scores from Gary Moore and Guiney edged the Leinster kingpins over the line.
Wexford had scoring contributions from seven players on the night, with Moore, Conor McDonald and Kevin Foley collecting 0-03 each.
Galway’s Pádraic Brehony was desperately unlucky to find himself on the losing side, having contributed 1-05 of his 1-06 tally before half-time.
The sides were level seven times in that opening half but a purple patch of scoring saw Galway reel off seven points before and after the break.
The Tribesmen edged into a one-point interval lead, 1-14 to 1-13, with a run of four points approaching the break.
And when Shane Maloney and Brehony added points after the restart, Galway had four to spare.
But that was Wexford’s cue to respond with a run of five unanswered points to regain the lead.
Cathal Mannion levelled matters again and when wing back Adrian Tuohy launched a monstrous score over the bar, Galway were back in front.
But Wexford would finish strong as Guiney converted an equalising free before Gary Moore edged the Leinster champions ahead again.
And one of the scores of the game was Guiney’s insurance as he improvised superbly to bat Conor McDonald’s clever centre over the bar in the final minute.
In the first half, the sides had racked up 29 scores between them, with Guiney and Brehony trading goals.
With the sides level for the sixth time at 0-09 apiece, Brehony took a pass from Mannion to net in the 20th minute.
But that goal was cancelled out by Guiney four minutes before half-time, after the prolific hit-man collected a Rhys Clarke offload.
Wexford’s win means they are within touching distance of a first All-Ireland Under-21 title since 1965.
But they will have to beat a powerful Clare side chasing three-in-a-row in the final to achieve that feat.
GALWAY: S Mannion; D O’Donoghue, J Hanbury, P Killeen; B Keane, D Higgins, A Tuohy (0-01); C Diviney, E Burke (0-01); P Brehony (1-06), S Maloney (0-06, 3f), C Mannion (0-03); D Dolan, J Glynn (0-01), J Flynn.
Subs: B Molloy (0-01) for Dolan (23), E Brannigan for Diviney (47), J Carr for Flynn (56).
WEXFORD: O O’Leary; G Foley, L Ryan, E Conroy; A Kenny, S O’Gorman, J O’Connor; A Nolan (0-01), C Devitt (0-01); J Guiney (1-08, 0-07f), G Moore (0-03), P Foley (0-02); R Clarke, C McDonald (0-03), K Foley (0-03).
Subs: J White for G Foley (36), P Sutton for Clarke (44), S Cash for Devitt (51), C O’Leary for P Foley (54).
Referee: D Kirwan (Cork).