Kilkenny 3-19, Wexford 1-12
Kilkenny turned Wexford’s dream All-Ireland quarter-final day into a nightmare, as the Cats delivered a harsh lesson with a ruthless first-half exhibition.
The All-Ireland champs were fantastic into a very strong wind and there was no doubt about the result as Kilkenny led 2-13 to 0-6 at the break..
Wexford manager Kevin Tattan will be delighted with how his charges improved in the third quarter, a period in which they outscored Kilkenny by six points to five.
Cat’s supremo Brian Dowling was hardly happy and one imagines he made that known at the second water break, after which the Walsh sisters Grace and Miriam sent over brilliant points.
Wexford stuck to their task, Leah Walsh pointing from wide on the left within seconds of coming on and the deadly accurate Foxe converting her seventh placed ball.
GAME ENDED ON LOW NOTE
But a goal from distance by Denise Gaule followed an error by goalkeeper Laura Brennan, who had made one splendid save from Steffi Fitzgerald in the first half.
Aoife Norris made a smart stop from Ciara O’Connor but then sub Katrina Parrock, a four-time All-Ireland winner from Wexford’s halcyon days, got the final touch to a Walsh delivery for a goal that Wexford’s second-half efforts deserved.
The game ended on a low note for Kilkenny, when Miriam Bambrick was sent off following an apparent off-the-ball incident.
Wexford needed to avail of every goal opportunity and they did create a couple of half chances in the first half, but the marvellous Davina Tobin snuffed both out, blocking one shot and then getting in a tremendous hook on Chloe Foxe.
It was far too easy for Kilkenny though, as even though Wexford were able to start Sarah O’Connor after a long absence through a knee injury and attempted to provide extra defensive cover, the Noresiders found space with ease.
ACCURATE AND SHARP
Kilkenny players were accurate and sharp with their passing and with runners arriving from everywhere, created countless opportunities.
Wexford didn’t help themselves though, conceding a third minute goal to Aoife Doyle, after Brennan had batted out a Gaule free.
Katie Nolan hit three points in that opening period. Mary O’Connell 1-2, taking a pass from Katie Power, held off a Sarah Harding Kenny challenge and drove to the roof of the net.
The loss of Kellyann Doyle with a shoulder injury will be a concern for the semi-final against Cork as the Piltown speedster looked in a lot of pain.
Ciara and Sarah O’Connor fired over two outstanding points for Wexford while Foxe was unerring from placed balls.
Scorers for Kilkenny: D Gaule 1-6 (3fs, 1 45); M O’Connell 1-3; K Nolan 0-3, M Walsh 0-3 each; A Doyle 1-0; K Power, G Walsh 0-2 each
Scorers for Wexford : C Foxe 0-7(6fs, 1 45); K Parrock 1-0; J Quigley, Linda Bolger, C O’Connor, S O’Connor, L Walsh 0-1
KILKENNY: A Norris, C Dormer, D Tobin, M Teehan, C Phelan, M Farrell, K Doyle, G Walsh, D Gaule, M Walsh, K Nolan, M O’Connell, S Fitzgerald, K Power, A Doyle. Subs: N Deely for K Doyle inj (21), M Kenneally for Fitzgerald (47), L Murphy for Nolan (50), M Bambrick for Teehan (55)
WEXFORD: L Brennan, S Harding Kenny, Á Lacey, M Sinnott, L O’Leary, S O’Connor, E Walsh, A Cardiff, O Sinnott, A Curran, C O’Connor, J Quigley, K Kirwan, C Foxe, J Dillon. Subs: Linda Bolger for O Sinnott (20), K Parrock for Kirwan (37), M Byrne for Curran (47), L Walsh for Cardiff (47), A Guiney for Quigley (52)
REFEREE: Andrew Larkin (Cork)