Moment of genius

Chin’s point made huge statement

Brendna Furlong

David Redmond celebrates after forcing the ball into the net at the Clonard end early in the second-half
David Redmond celebrates after forcing the ball into the net at the Clonard end early in the second-half

One moment of genius in the 56th minute from outstanding midfielder Lee Chin just about summed up that marvellous Wexford display of character and quality on Saturday.

Wexford looked in control when Kilkenny bounced back for two quickfire goals to close within one point, and they appeared to have taken the momentum away from the home side. But when Wexford needed it most, Chin stepped forward to show an inspirational moment of leadership.

Mark Fanning drove a high puck-out to the seated terrace sideline, where Chin stretched into the area amidst a forest of hurleys to pluck the ball from the air.

He turned and settled to shoot over an inspirational point that lifted the Wexford challenge once again, bringing the crowd to its feet.

After the game an exhausted Chin said: 'There's an element of leadership that's needed every day. Look, today it was me and the next day it could be another guy. I knew when we got hit with a couple of goals it was going to take a certain moment to really get everyone going again.

'Luckily Mark Fanning pucked the ball down my way and I caught it and put it over the bar. Another day it could have been someone else, there's a lot of leaders in this team.'

Chin was prominent through the game but his display through the closing 15 minutes was the best seen at the county venue for many a year.

'I think the catch he made on the far side of the field will probably live long in the memory,' said Wexford selector J.J. Doyle.

'No one knew he had it. I was talking to Matthew O'Hanlon and he said he didn't know he had it until he saw him running forward with it in his hand because no one expected it, but that's Lee Chin.

'I mean he's a phenomenal athlete but it's not a fluke either. The work he puts in, he's completely and utterly dedicated to it and he stood up.

'A lot of players, Jack Guiney for his first start of the year, Matthew O'Hanlon there are the end, Shaun Murphy there at the end. There was a lot of talk about what Kilkenny were going to do to negate Shaun Murphy but, in fairness to him, he got some amount of ball.'

Doyle added: 'We waited a long time for this, 13 years since the last victory over Kilkenny at Croke Park.

'That was one we probably stole with a goal in the last minute. A lot of the lads have worked so hard for this and for so many years.

'Thankfully we got over the line tonight and I think we deserved it - there was no fluke about it. Kilkenny got probably a couple of soft goals, turnovers on our behalf. But I suppose the most important thing was that they just kept responding, the heads never dropped.

'We were eight points up, they got two goals, and the next ball we get it and go up and score a point. That just shows the character that's in the squad.

'It's something we've spoken to the lads about, no matter what happens the referee doesn't add up the score until the 70th minute, so you are always in the game if you keep trying and keep working and keep driving on.

'We have worked very hard on the fitness levels over the last number of years and particularly since last November, and you could see it there is the second-half, we just kept running.

'And we needed to run because of the wind that was out there. If you pucked the ball into it then it would just keep coming back to you. The lads just stuck to the process and stuck to the gameplan.

'At times they could have maybe dropped the heads and given up on it, and that's probably what would have happened in the past, but the lads just kept going and going.

'Listen, I thought what has happened in the past, where Kilkenny got the goal in the last minute, was going to happen only for the save that Mark Fanning made.

'Days like this will live long in the memory because we haven't had too many of them.'

Wexford People