Kilkenny hold off Wexford to retain Leinster MHC crown

Defending champions withstand a late rally to complete a quickfire minor double

Kilkenny celebrate after their minor hurling final win over Wexford. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Kilkenny celebrate after their minor hurling final win over Wexford. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

 

Kilkenny 1-15 Wexford 2-10

Reigning champions Kilkenny had to survive a stern Wexford challenge before emerging with a two-point victory in an exciting Leinster Minor Hurling Championship final at Cullen Park.

Kilkenny had five survivors from the side that lost the recent 2020 All-Ireland final to Galway and it was this experience that helped them survive a stiff second half test, particularly as Wexford laid siege to their goal in the closing minutes as they sought what would have been a winning goal.

The opening 30 minutes saw both sides finding it difficult to settle, and as a result scoring was quite limited. Infact Wexford could only manage a single first half score from play - an Adam O’Grady goal on the stroke of half-time.

Kilkenny led 0-4 to 0-2 at the end of the opening quarter, their points coming rough Harry Shine, Killian Doyle and Danny Glennon, while two Luke Roche frees kept the Model County in touch.

Both goals arrived in the closing minutes of the half, with Ted Dunne finishing to the net for Kilkenny from close range, before O’Grady’s late strike sent the sides in level 1-5 each at the interval.

Wexford showed far greater urgency on the resumption, getting a major break on 33 minutes. A Luke Roche free dropped short, but Simon Roche was on hand to send the breaking ball to the net, giving his side a 2-5 to 1-5 lead.

Kilkenny responded through Harry Shine and Killian Carey points, but it was Wexford who still led 2-8 to 1-9 at the second water break on 43 minutes.

Immediately on the restart Kilkenny added quickfire points points through Shine and Glennon to bring the sides level. When the defending champions stretched into a 1-15 to 2-9 lead with five minutes remaining they looked secure but they still had much defending to do.

A tremendous Alan Dunphy save on full-time from Simon Roche at the expense of a ’65, that Luke Roche dropped into the goalmouth with Luke Murphy getting his hurley to point.

But the drama was by no means over for ’keeper Dunphy came to his side’s rescue deep into additional time with a save from a Luke Roche 21-metre free, to see his side through to a dramatic victory.

Kilkenny: A Dunphy; E Rudkins, B Hughes, S Moore; J Fitzpatrick, G Dunne, E Lyng; J Neary, K Doyle (0-1); T Dunne (1-1), H Shine (0-6, 0-5 frees), K Carey (0-2); D Glennon (0-3), K Hackett, D Queally (0-2). Subs: B Whitty for Neary (45), J Walsh for Queally (50).

Wexford: T Doyle; C O Tuama, E Whelan, R Chapman; D Purcell, S Cooney, P Doyle; S Rowley, C Byrne; D Purcell, A O’Grady (1-1), F Walsh; S Roche (1-1), L Roche (0-7 frees), L Murphy (0-1). Subs: C Doyle for Walsh (18).

Referee: T Gleeson (Kildare).

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