Wexford 2-18 Kilkenny 0-19
The Davy Fitzgerald magic is at work again. He won the Allianz Hurling League from Division 1B with Clare last year and now he is on course to help Wexford do the same after his side beat Kilkenny 2-18 to 0-19 at Nowlan Park.
The Slaneysiders caught Kilkenny in a tight tactical net in this quarter-final as they slowly but surely squeezed the life out of the Cats to earn the ticket into the semi-finals and a clash with All-Ireland champions, Tipperary in two weeks time.
The deal was sealed in the 70th minute when a long free from his own '40' by Wexford goalie, Mark Fanning went all the way to the Kilkenny net, when Jack Guiney put hardship on the home defence.
Wexford played with an extra defender, Shaun Murphy, dropping back from midfield to play between the two lines of defence. The tactic was nothing new, but Wexford's ability to play this new game was superb and they had the opposition on the backfoot throughout.
Kilkenny opened backed by the wind, but with Wexford attacking them at every point of the field, they couldn't make much gains. Indeed, were it not for the brilliance of home goalie, Eoin Murphy, who pulled off two wonder saved, the Cats would have been in trouble early on.
The scores were level five times before Daniel Dunne, following a powerful run by Aidan Nolan, cracked home Wexford's first goal in the 30th minute. The losers hit back for a hat-trick of points to get back level, and that was the way it was at half-time: Kilkenny 0-10, Wexford 1-7.
Points were swapped twice early in the new half before the deadly Conor McDonald converted a 42nd-minute free to put Wexford ahead (1-0 to 0-12). The Slaneysiders led all the way home from there, the lead varying from one to four points before Fanning's late goal buried the home side.
SCORERS: Wexford - C. McDonald (0-8, four frees); M. Fanning (1-2, frees); Paul Morris (0-3); L. Chin (0-3, one free); D. Dunne (1-0); D. O'Keeffe, D. Redmond (0-1 each). Kilkenny - T.J. Reid (0-10, nine frees); L. Blanchfield (0-3); O. Walsh (0-2); P. Deegan, W. Walsh, R. Hogan, C. Buckley (0-1 each).
Wexford - M. Fanning; W. Devereux, L. Ryan, J. Breen; D. Reck, M. O'Hanlon, D. O'Keeffe; A. Nolan, S. Murphy; C. McDonald, D. Redmond, J. O'Connor; P. Morris, L. Chin, D. Dunne.
Subs - J. Guiney for D. Redmond 52nd min; H. Kehoe for J. O'Connor 59th min; B. Carton for P. Morris 69th min; A. Maddock for A. Nolan 71st min.
Kilkenny - E. Murphy; P. Murphy, P. Walsh, S. Prendergast; L. Ryan, J. Cleere, P. Deegan; O. Walsh, C. Buckley; C. Fennelly, W. Walsh, T.J. Reid; L. Blanchfield, R. Hogan, C. Martin. Sub - J. Farrell for L. Ryan 49th min.
Referee - A. Kelly (Galway).