Kilkenny will face Clare and a well-known Kilkenny hurling man when they bid to get their All-Ireland minor championship hopes back on track next Saturday.
Defeat against Wexford in today’s Leinster minor final pitted the Cats against Clare in the All-Ireland quarter-finals. The Banner County are coached by former Kilkenny GAA coach, Jimmy Maher, from Freshford.
Wexford produced a stunning finish, during which they out-gunned Kilkenny by 1-5 to 1-0, to win their first Leinster minor championship since 1985.
The scoring fireworks during the closing six minutes or so were led by match star, AJ Redmond, who hit five points on the trot before Cian Byrne gift wrapped the win with a 62nd minute goal.
Kilkenny had a late consolation goal from Pierce Blanchfield, but by that time Wexford were into the All-Ireland semi-finals and the Cats were diverted into the quarter-finals.
“It will be hard to pick ourselves up in such a short time, but that is the challenge now,” admitted Kilkenny manager, Richie Mulrooney afterwards.
Wexford looked the more forceful outfit from early on, getting 1-4 to 0-2 in front by the 16th minute. In fairness, Kilkenny had a goal chance that wasn't taken during that time, and a second chance was lost too, but the winners always looked the sharper outfit.
Kilkenny, with the help of a Jack Doyle goal in the 24th minute, did get back on terms (1-5 each), but two late points from the deadly Redmond left Wexford 1-7 to 1-5 in front at the break.
The losers looked sharper and more dangerous after the turn, and for a short while they bossed the match. They got back level and when sub Ian Byrne pointed in the 54th minute they were in front for the first time - 2-10 to 2-9.
Then Redmond and his gifted colleagues let rip. They were worthy winners at the finish, ending a sequence of 11 defeats in finals during the 34 barren years.
SCORERS - Wexford: AJ Redmond (1-11); David Cantwell (1-1); Cian Byrne (1-0); Jack Kirwan, Paddy Whitty (0-1 each). Kilkenny: Billy Drennan (0-5); Timmy Clifford, Jack Doyle, Piercee Blanchfield (1-1 each); Liam Moore, Ian Byrne (0-1 each).
WEXFORD - C. Byrne; D. Whelan, K. Scallan, J. Conroy; J. Moran, C. Molloy, D. Codd; J. Kirwan, L. Kavanagh; J. Shiel, D. O’Neill, P. Whitty; AJ Redmond, R. Lawlor, D. Cantwell.
Subs: C. Foley for Whitty 39th min; D. O’Leary for D O’Neill 39th min; C. Byrne for Cantwell 50th min; O. Pepper for J Shiel 61st min; E. Cullen for Lawlor 63rd min.
Kilkenny - Aidan Tallis; Billy Reid, William Halpin, Tristan Roche; Peter McDonald, Padraic Moylan, James Aylward; Andy Hickey, Denis Walsh; Pierce Blanchfield, Colman O’Sullivan, Liam Moore; Billy Drennan, Timmy Clifford, Jack Doyle.
Subs: Ian Byrne for O’Sullivan 42nd min; Aran Murphy for A Hickey 57th min; Zach Bay Hammon 63rd min.
Referee - Chris Mooney (Dublin).
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