ALLIANZ NHL DIVISION 1A
Four wins from four for Cork in the Allianz National Hurling League, but boy did they have to do it the hard was as the Rebels trailed Wexford from the first to the 70th minute of action.
On a day that management will feel showed the never-say-die attitude of the men in red Cork struggled to get anything going for the majority of the fixture relying on two goals in the second half to steal this one from an improving Wexford side that will head back southeast feeling they very much left this one behind them.
Few in Páirc Uí Chaoimh will leave convinced about Cork’s prospects after this one, but the character of the side cannot be questioned as they dug deep to claim victory, very much from the jaws of defeat.
Eoin Downey at full-back, Ciaran Joyce ahead of him at six and Shane Kingston in the corner were standouts on the day for the victors with Shane Barrett at 12 one of the home side’s best performers on what was a tough day for adventurous hurling.
Lee Chin for Wexford was magnificent with Simon Donohoe another that will have done his prospects no hard at all with two massive points from corner back.
Seconds into this one and it Was Wexford that led, a pointed free from Chin got the ball rolling for the visitors. A sign that the away side were up for this one was followed by a bit of handbags after the resulting puck out lifted the gloom somewhat on a rainy day.
Declan Dalton’s brilliant effort saved by Wexford keeper James Lawlor likely did wonders for the keepers confidence – not so much for the ever improving Dalton. A brilliant point from Chin followed as Wexford looked like the side that settle best into this one.
Scrappy play from both sides for the next while as players struggled to find their men heading in both directions. A point from Conor McDonald raised the pressure on a Cork side that just couldn’t get a handle on the pace of the game. Another point followed from McDonald’s replacement Mikie Dwyer with Cork still not of the mark with the game gone past 15 minutes.
Wing back Simon Donohoe added to Cork’s woes with a huge effort on 17 minutes as Cork struggled to get anything against Wexford’s rear-guard. Another from corner-forward Rory Higgins had Cork six down with 20 minutes on the clock.
Cork finally got off the mark soon after with a pointed free from Shane Kingston which was how they bagged their second point three minutes later from the same man. A brilliant point from Shane Barrett had the gap down to three soon after but another classy score from Chin pushed it back to a two score game again moments later.
Cool play from Brian Hayes got his tally off and running before Kingston cut the gap to just two with his third free of the game. A point from Higgins was cancelled out by another Kingston free, but Wexford left the pitch with the final two scores of the half to lead by four at the interval.
Things could have been a lot worse for Cork as Wexford made some poor decisions in front of the posts with five poor efforts also dropping wide in the opening 35 minutes.
Pat Ryan opted not to make sweeping changes at the break but likely to give the starting 15 the chance to redeem themselves but 10 minutes into the second half things had got decidedly worse as a brace of long range efforts from Chin had Wexford humming, but a moment of brilliance from Power, who got on the end of a long range effort from Barrett scored the first goal of the game very much against the run of play.
A Kingston point followed as the game went up a gear with the introduction of players such as Seamus Harnedy, Rob Downey and Jack O’Connor helping lift the home side’s challenge for the final 20.
Points from Kingston and Barrett saw Cork back to within a point, but again Chin was on hand to bag his eight point of the game as Wexford lost their third player to injury, this time it was Mathew O’Hanlon that limped from the field.
Points from Chin and Dwyer again pushed Cork back seventh time Kingston raised white. His eighth followed soon after to again put just one between them. Chin then landed a point for the highlight reel to again edge his side two clear.
A flying save from Patrick Collins kept Cork in the game late on. Chin missed the resultant first and only ‘65 of the game.
A fantastic point from Barrett again had the gap to the minimum before O’Connor finally hit the equalizing point of the game on the stroke of 70 minutes – before Cormac Beausang, with one of his first touches of the game goaled to ultimately steal a win against a crestfallen Wexford side that had thrown everything they had at this one.
CORK: P Collins; N O’Leary, E Downey, E Roche; E Twomey, C Joyce, T O’Connell; B Roche, L Meade; D Dalton, C Cahalane, S Barrett 0-3; S Kingston 0-8 (7f), P Power 1-1, B Hayes 0-1 Subs: S Harnedy for D Dalton and J O’Connor 0-1 for B Hayes (both 46), R Downey for L Meade (48), C Beausang 1-0 for E Twomey (66), A Cadogan for P Power (71)
WEXFORD: J Lawlor; S Donohoe 0-2, M O’Hanlon, S Reck; I Carty, D Reck, C Flood; D O’Keeffe, C Dunbar; C Hearne 0-1, L Og McGovern, C McGuckin 0-1; L Chin 0-9 (5f), C McDonald 0-1, R Higgins 0-2 Subs: M Dwyer 0-2 for C McDonald (inj)(14), K Foley for D Reck (inj)(34), J O’Connor for M Og McGovern (43), R O’Connor for R Higgins (53), D Clarke for M O’Hanlon (inj) (57)
REFEREE: Sean Cleare (Kilkenny)