The Wexford Senior Hurlers will be back in action on Saturday evening…
It was a historic night for Wexford GAA, as it marked the launch of the new floodlights at Chadwicks Wexford Park.
There was a serious buzz around Wexford leading up to this game. It was mainly because people were excited to see Wexford perform under the new floodlights in their home stadium. Wexford GAA teased that the Wexford Park floodlights were like no other in any GAA ground. The people at the game were treated to a fireworks display directly before the Senior hurling Walsh Cup game, along with a light show via the new floodlights.
13,000 people attended the Walsh Cup clash to mark the historic occasion. With such a big crowd, it is also notable to mention how brilliant it was to see so many people on the pitch at half-time, soaking in the atmosphere. Besides the hurling, it was a great occasion overall which we are sure will live long in the memories of those in attendance.
Conor McDonald’s performance was one of the highlights of the night. He scored the first point for Wexford, and he scored another four from play throughout the game. He got on a lot of balls, hassled the Kilkenny defenders, and acted as an ariel threat throughout the game in the full-forward line. McDonald’s distribution from open play is also not talked about enough. Alongside McDonald, Richie Lawlor, who is beginning to lay down a marker on the Senior hurling team, played well again, scoring 1-1 from play.
A winning habit:
Over the last few years, Wexford has developed a habit of beating Kilkenny – and if not, they’ve built a habit of performing against them. For years, this wasn’t the case, but it’s clear that Wexford never fears Kilkenny anymore and that they often have the better of them. Even though it was only a Walsh Cup clash and with very little on the line, it’s still nice to emerge victorious in a local derby clash. A Wexford spectator in the crowd said “you couldn’t beat them Kilkenny lads enough in the one year” and it feels accurate after countless years of hurt to some of their ruthless teams.
The back pass:
It’s probably one of the biggest killers when something like this happens. Wexford’s full-back, Liam Ryan, was in possession of the ball on his own 21. Instead of going up the field, he opted to hit the ball back to the keeper, James Lawlor. The pass was intercepted by Billy Sheehan who stuck the ball past the Wexford keeper. While it was a sucker punch at the time, Ryan’s performance for the following fifteen minutes that followed was exceptional. Though it’s natural to concede goals in games, it’s important that the goals we concede aren’t gifted to them.
Through to the final:
The win against Kilkenny meant that Wexford gave themselves the best opportunity to go through to the Walsh Cup final. Their place in the final, however, was pending an Offaly win against Laois. Very few were expecting Offaly to win this game. Despite being eight points down and with a man down at half-time, Offaly came back and defeated Laois. Their dramatic comeback result saw Wexford go through to the final.
Wexford will now take on Galway in Croke Park in the Walsh Cup final, with the hope of attaining their first piece of silverware for 2023. Some have suggested that there could be some ‘shadow boxing’ at play next weekend, given the fact that booth teams will play each other in the opening round of the Allianz Hurling League the following week.
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