Kilkenny produced the upset of the season to date when a 62nd mnute goal from midfielder Michael Malone earned them a dramatic and rare win, 3-5 to 0-13 against Wexford in the Leinster junior football championship at Nowlan Park last night (Wednesday).
Wexford, who had led most of the way, looked to have secured passed through to the next round against either Longford or Cavan when 57th and 60th minute points from Seamus O’Loughlin and Sean O’Neill left them two in front.
However, Kilkenny were not finished. Into injury-time Graham Lawlor pumped a long ball in from near midfield and Malone rose highest in the goal area to punch it into the net.There was barely time for the kick out.
Wexford opened the scoring with a point from James Holmes, but sloppy play in the fifth minute gifted possession to the opposition who grabbed a goal through J.J. Dunphy. The visitors drew level by the eight minute, and Kenneth Cahill shot them in front minutes later.
At the break the losers led by 0-9 to 1-2 after playing with the wind.
Michael O’Regan and Joe Fennelly swopped points in the early stages of the new half before David Prendergast shot Kilkenny’s second goal in the 39th minute.
J.J. Dunphy levelled within a minute. There was an exchange of scores after that before Wexford worked the two point advantage that looked to have earned them the ticket into the next round.
However, Malone had the final, all important say in front of a mere handful of people.
Scorers: Kilkenny - D. Prendergast (1-3, two points free); J.J. Dunphy (1-1); M. Malone (1-0); J. Fennelly (0-1). Wexford - M. O’Regan (0-3, frees); J. Holmes (0-2, one free); S. O’Neill, J. Carty (0-2 each);K.
Gore, S. O’Loughlin, K. Cahill, P. Kelly (0-1 each).
Wexford - T. Hughes; S. Gaule, L. Kent, N. Murphy; D. Gardiner, T.
Wall, S. Culleton; M. O’Regan, S. O’Neill; J. Carty, J. Holmes, K.
Gore; K. O’Grady, S. O’Loughlin, K. Cahill. Sub - P. Kelly for K.
O’Grady;K. Kehoe for J. Caarty; T. Foley for S. O’Loughlin; D. Butler for N. Murphy.
Kilkenny - J.J. O’Sullivan; D. Gannon, T. Kehoe, P. Raftice; S.
Kenny, J. Mackey, D. Fitzpatrick; M. Malone, M. Mahony; E. Vereker, M.
Duggan, J.J. Grace; D. Prendergast, J.J. Dunphy, R. Shore; M. Saunders for E. Vereker; G. Lawlor for M. Duggan; F. McEnroe for M. Mahony Referee - A. Nolan (Wicklow).