National Hurling League Division 1 Group B Round 2
Wexford 2-19 Clare 1-21
A DRAMATIC late turnaround saw Wexford snatch the spoils and ensure that Clare’s winless start continued in Cusack Park on Sunday, reports Eoin Brennan.
Eight points clear entering the final quarter following strong attacking performances from Aidan McCarthy, Aron Shanagher and Cathal Malone, nothing but a home victory appeared on the cards. However, a straight red card for Liam Corry altered the momentum irrevocably as a buoyant Wexford sprung to life with 2-4 with reply to hit the front for the first time.
To their credit, Clare did regain parity deep into injury-time thanks to a brace of Aidan McCarthy frees. But Wexford would have the final say when Rory O’Connor arrowed over a free in the left corner to secure the points.
Clare will be disappointed to have lost their way, having bounced back from their defeat to Antrim to take the game to their Leinster opponents from the outset. Despite the loss of Éire Óg duo David Reidy and Shane O’Donnell to injury on Friday night, two of Clare’s better performers in Belfast, the hosts would also see talisman Tony Kelly succumb to a dead leg early in the second quarter and still managed to control matters at 0-11 to 0-06 approaching the break.
Wexford hit back with a trio of points, only for Aron Shanagher to be hauled down right on the stroke of half-time by Joe O’Connor who was sinbinned. Up stepped Aidan McCarthy who rifled the resulting free to the net to give Clare a 1-11 to 0-09 interval cushion.
McCarthy, Malone and Shanagher continued that form on the restart against 14 men to move eight clear, a position they would hold right until the final ten minutes when a Rory O’Connor inspired Wexford outscored them by 2-5 to 0-2 to maintain their perfect start to 2021.
Wexford: Mark Fanning (Glynn-Barntown); Shane Reck (Oylegate-Glenbrien), Simon Donohoe (Shelmaliers), Joe O’Connor (St Martin’s); Conal Flood (Cloughbawn), Gavin Bailey (Ferns St Aidan’s), Matthew O’Hanlon (St James’); Diarmuid O’Keeffe (St Anne’s), Kevin Foley (Rapparees); Liam Óg McGovern (St Anne’s), Aidan Nolan (Halfway House Bunclody), Lee Chin (Faythe Harriers); Rory O’Connor (St Martin’s), Mike Dwyer (St Mogue’s Fethard), David Dunne (Davidstown-Courtnacuddy)
Subs: Jack O’Connor (St Martin’s) for Joe O’Connor (45), Conor Hearne (Shelmaliers) for Nolan (50), Conor Devitt (Tara Rocks) for Dwyer (50), Harry Kehoe (Cloughbawn) for Dunne (70)
Scorers: Lee Chin (1-5, 3f, 1’65); Rory O’Connor (0-6, 4f), David Dunne (0-3); Simon Donohoe 1-0); Diarmuid O’Keeffe, Conal Flood, Liam Óg McGovern, Shane Reck, Gavin Bailey (0-1 each)
Clare: Eibhear Quilligan (Feakle); Rory Hayes (Wolfe Tones), Conor Cleary (St Joseph’s Miltown), Liam Corry (Éire Óg); Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe), John Conlon (Clonlara), Jack Browne (Ballyea); Tony Kelly (Ballyea), Paidí Fitzpatrick (Sixmilebridge); Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge), Ian Galvin (Clonlara), David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona); Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones), Aidan McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona), Mark Rodgers (Scariff)
Subs: Shane Meehan (Banner) for Kelly (28, inj), Ryan Taylor (Clooney-Quin) for Rodgers (64), Colin Guilfoyle (Newmarket-on-Fergus) for Galvin (64), Shane Golden (Sixmilebridge) for Fitzpatrick (70)
Scorers: Aidan McCarthy (1-8, 1-0 Pen, 5f, ‘165); Tony Kelly (3f), Cathal Malone, Aron Shanagher (0-3 each), David Fitzgerald, Mark Rodgers, Ian Galvin, Shane Meehan (0-1 each)
Referee: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)