Reigning Allianz NHL Division 1 champions Kilkenny were sent crashing out of the 2019 race by a second-half transformation from Wexford at a weather-battered Innovate Wexford Park.

Wexford seized the assistance of the gale to outstrip their neighbours by 1-11 to 0-02 in the closing 35 minutes and secure a quarter-final away to Galway, while Kilkenny are doomed to a relegation play-off against Cork.

Torrential rain had forced the postponement of the original Wexford-Kilkenny game, and this re-fixture was struck by strong wintry showers before throw-in.

Kilkenny, with first advantage of the wind, applied a third-minute blow to Wexford prospects when Liam Blanchfield volleyed to the net after Ger Malone had shots cleared by Darren Byrne and Shaun Murphy respectively.

With Wexford struggling to win clean possession, Kilkenny continued to prosper as the Murphy brothers – Alan and keeper Eoin, both frees – joined forces with Pádraig Walsh and Walter Walsh in generating a 1-04 to 0-02 lead on 12 minutes.

Having goaled against Clare in the previous round, Wexford wing-back Shaun Murphy again went close, only to pull his ground-shot wide.

Paul Morris did peg back a pointed free for Wexford, but, as wintry conditions gave way to sunshine, Kilkenny bounced clear by 1-08 to 0-03 on 23 minutes as Eoin (free) and Alan Murphy (2 frees) and Blanchfield created daylight.

But Wexford fought back as Paul Morris (free), Shaun Murphy, Rory O'Connor and Jack O'Connor (free and '65’) found the target to narrow the margin to a manageable 1-10 to 0-08 at half-time.

Substitute Pádraig Foley joined with Rory O'Connor and Liam Óg McGovern in further encouraging locals amongst the 6,000-strong attendance as Wexford closed to within 1-10 to 0-11, before Conor McDonald went agonisingly close to squeezing his shot to the net.

Wexford maintained the thrust when levelling for the first-time after 46 minutes as Lee Chin and the O'Connor brothers, Rory and Jack (free) tied matters, before substitute Diarmuid O'Keeffe seized the initiative with a lengthy 52nd-minute score.

A quick-fire double from Chin had Wexford floating towards this vital victory before it was put beyond doubt when sub Cathal Dunbar forced the ball to the net from an initial attempt by Aidan Nolan.

Jack O'Connor sealed the issue with a sixth point (free) before frustrated Kilkenny finished with 14-men when Conor Delaney was red-carded for a challenge on Dunbar.

Wexford: Mark Fanning; Damien Reck, Darren Byrne, Simon Donohoe; Shaun Murphy (0-1), Matthew O'Hanlon, Liam Ryan; Jack O'Connor (0-6, 4 frees, 1 '65), Kevin Foley (0-1); Liam Óg McGovern (0-1), Rory O'Connor (0-3) Lee Chin (0-3); Paul Morris (0-2 frees), Conor McDonald, Harry Kehoe.

Subs: Pádraig Foley (0-1) for Byrne (HT); Diarmuid O'Keeffe (0-1) for Kehoe (48); Cathal Dunbar (1-0) for Morris (54); Aidan Nolan for McGovern (61); Ian Byrne for Donohoe (70).

Kilkenny: Eoin Murphy (0-3 frees), Paul Murphy, Conor Delaney, Tommy Walsh; Conor Fogarty, Paddy Deegan, Jason Cleere; Pádraig Walsh (0-1), Alan Murphy (0-6, 4 frees); John Donnelly, Walter Walsh (0-1), Ger Malone; Billy Ryan, Liam Blanchfield (1-1), Martin Keoghan.

Subs: Richie Leahy for Malone (27); James Maher for Donnelly (45); Richie Hogan for Ryan (58).

Referee: Alan Kelly (Galway).