Both the Wexford Senior hurlers and the Kilkenny Senior hurlers could not be separated at the full-time whistle today…
The game, which took place on Saturday in front of a large Wexford crowd at Chadwicks Wexford Park, was a thriller. The game ended as a draw, with both teams matching each other on the scoresheet 2-25 – 2-25.
For a Walsh Cup clash in January, the numbers in attendance today must be applauded. The two sides were almost at full capacity in the stadium. It was Wexford’s first match against Kilkenny this year and under their new Senior hurling manager Darragh Egan.
Combined with the Government announcing an almost end to the Covid-19 restrictions on Friday night, there was a buzz around the stadium once again and it was great to see and feel a sense of normality resuming. After the national anthem rang out, one Wexford hurling supporter noted that he waited two years to do that when he shouted ‘Up Wexford’ at the top of his voice. The buzz is back.
A lot of Wexford fans were delighted to hear that Paudie Foley was returning to the Darragh Egan’s Wexford Senior hurling panel. While Paudie played well today in the centre-back position today against the Cats, his younger brother Oisin is fully deserving of all the plaudits.
Any time he had the ball in his hands, it looked like it was going over the bar, as he slotted over a cool 0-05 from play. He looked relaxed on the ball in the half-forward position and it looks like he could be a real asset to the Wexford Senior hurling team should he continue to perform like he did today.
Mc Donald’s magic:
Throughout the game, Naomh Eanna man Conor McDonald stole the show. He was placed in the full-forward position for most of the game and balls were placed directly onto him, reminiscent of some great times during the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
Players looked up when they had the ball and a lot of the time, they were trying to find McDonald in the inside forward line. Give him the ball, and he’ll do the business and that was quite clear today as he racked up a personal tally of 0-06 from play.
Even though he slotted over some excellent points beforehand, one moment of pure magic came in the dying seconds of the game. With Wexford down by a point in the remaining few seconds, McDonald jumped the highest to pluck the ball from the sky before turning sharply and sticking the ball over the bar.
The only negative:
While it’s easy to remain upbeat and positive, it’s important to note that this game against Kilkenny today should have been dead and buried. Up by seven points at one stage of the game, Wexford allowed Kilkenny to claw their way back and even into the lead.
For Wexford supporters though, the positives certainly do outweigh the negatives here. They played without a sweeper, some new additions to the panel stood up, they looked comfortable on the ball, we didn’t lose, and we’re in a Walsh Cup final next weekend.
At the end of the game, not many supporters knew what was happening. Talks of extra time were muttered around the stadium before the Wexford GAA stadium announcer said that Wexford will be through to the Walsh Cup final next weekend. Unsurprisingly, a loud cheer could then be heard from the stands from the Wexford fans. Wexford made it through to the final on scoring difference, and we’ll take it. Our first trip to Croke Park for the 2022 season now awaits us and it offers a great opportunity for Darragh Egan and his Wexford team to get their hands on their first piece of silverware of the year.
While some could argue that it was only a Walsh Cup match in January, it’s better to be going home looking forward to another game supporting the Yellowebllies as opposed to going home talking about how they should have won and how the League will not be long coming around.
Wexford will now be looking forward to a Walsh Cup final clash against Dublin next weekend, pencilled in to take place on Saturday in Croke Park. On that same day, Dublin will play host to Armagh.
Featured Image Credit: Maria Nolan
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