A 64th minute goal from full-forward, Jack Doyle, finally sealed Kilkenny’s second victory in the Leinster minor hurling championship in sunny Enniscorthy today when they slayed somewhat unlucky Wexford.
A rush of three goals, two for Kilkenny, during the closing minutes saw the issue sway this way and then that, but Doyle’s late, late strike decided it as the Cats took a giant step towards the quarter-finals.
Kilkenny play Offaly in Nowlan Park next Saturday in the curtain-raiser to the Leinster senior clash between the Cats and Dublin, and if they win there it would boost their chances of getting a favourable draw for the Leinster semi-finals.
Wind backed Wexford looked the better team during most of the opening half, but when they had a defender sent off in the 23rd minute for interfering with an opponent’s helmet the game swung against them.
With AJ Redmond scoring well, they were good value for a lead of 0-9 to 0-5 at that stage. However, after the sending off Kilkenny bagged a goal through Billy Drennan which brought them right back into the match.
At half-time Wexford led by 0-12 to 1-6, when easily their advantage might have been greater.
The visitors laboured to get back level, eventually earning parity in the 48th minute when the deadly finishing Billy Drennan pointed a free (0-13 to 1-10).
When Kilkenny won the puck-out and Colman O’Sullivan fired over a point, the game appeared to be swinging their way. Not so!
Wexford rallied and got back level. When Timmy Clifford netted for Kilkenny in the 53rd minute after two defenders collided and he had a clear path to goal, the home side looked in a spot of bother (2-11 to 0-14).
When they conceded two of the next three points to Doyle and Drennan to leave four between them three minutes off the finish Kilkenny looked well placed.
Then came the explosive finish; Kileknny having a defender dismissed and an exchange of goals between Cian Molloy (W) and Doyle to leave the visitors just ahead in the end.
SCORERS: Kilkenny - Billy Drennan (1-8); Jack Doyle (1-1); Timmy Clifford (1-0); Peter McDonald, Liam Moore, Aidan Tallis, Colman O’Sullivan (0-1 each). Wexford - AJ Redmond (0-7); Richie Lawlor (1-2); Cian Molloy (1-1); Cian Byrne (0-2); Luke Kavanagh, Conor Foley, Dylan O’Neill (0-1 each).