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Tuesday 17 October 2017

Purple reigns

Wexford Purple 4-18 Wexford Gold 1-6

Alan Aherne

Jack Fortune (Wexford Gold) tries to hook Conall O Crualaoich (Wexford Purple)
Jack Fortune (Wexford Gold) tries to hook Conall O Crualaoich (Wexford Purple)

The result went along expected lines in Innovate Wexford Park on Wednesday when the stronger Wexford Purple squad eased well clear of their Gold counterparts despite initial stiff resistance in this Bank of Ireland Celtic Challenge Under-17 hurling second round derby.

The panel which will face Dublin in the Leinster championship semi-final next weekend is drawn exclusively from the Purple ranks, so it would have been a major surprise if they failed here.

However, their Gold rivals must be credited with putting it up to them in the opening quarter, as they led by 1-2 to 0-2 at the 15-minute mark.

The goal arrived after captain Jake Nobbs directed a free into the danger zone where Ben O'Connor was bottled up, but the pulled clearance only went as far as Niall Murphy who directed his shot into the top corner of the net past unsighted netminder Ben Walsh.

The Purple crew seemed somewhat surprised by the tenacity of the challenge presented to them early on, but the game turned rapidly in their favour after Seán O'Connor availed of a glorious pass into space by Seán Delaney to drill home the levelling goal in the 17th minute.

It was 3-6 to 1-3 in Purple's favour by half-time, with O'Connor adding a second goal from a Conall Clancy delivery before captain Cathal Doyle took off on a blistering solo run after a fine catch and hammered the ball to the net.

The other big talking point of that first-half was the straight red cards dished out by referee Gearóid McGrath to Jake Nobbs (Gold) and Diarmuid Kehoe (Purple) after the rival midfielders let off a bit of steam under the stand in the 27th minute.

Even allowing for the strong ethos of sportsmanship that governs the Celtic Challenge, it seemed to be excessively harsh punishment when two yellow cards and a stern talking to would have sufficed.

The substitutes arrived in force throughout the second-half, making it difficult for any pattern to be established in the game.

However, Purple outscored Gold comfortably by 1-12 to 0-3, with the goal coming from Micheál O'Connor after an initial effort from David Pettit was saved in the 41st minute.

That made it 4-12 to 1-3, and the leaders remained comfortable although Gold substitute Anthony Murphy caught the eye with a couple of points from play after his introduction.

Both teams will be on the road this Wednesday, with Purple playing Meath Royals in Abbotstown at 7.30 p.m. while Gold take on Kilkenny Amber in Dunmore at the same time.

Wexford's championship semi-final versus Dublin will then take place in Parnell Park on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Wexford Purple: Ben Walsh (Geraldine O'Hanrahans); Cillian Gahan (Faythe Harriers), Tommy Ryan (Gusserane), Sam Audsley (St. Martin's); Eoin Doyle (Craanford), Micheál Gahan (Monageer-Boolavogue), Conall O Crualaoich (Faythe Harriers); Diarmuid Kehoe (Geraldine O'Hanrahans, 0-1), Ben Stafford (St. Martin's); Liam Coleman (Liam Mellows), Seán Delaney (Naomh Eanna, 0-2, 1 free), Micheál O'Connor (Rathnure, 1-0); Cathal Doyle (Taghmon-Camross, capt., 1-1), Seán O'Connor (Rathnure, 2-4, 0-2 frees), Rees Broaders (St. Mary's, Rosslare, 0-2). Subs. - Conall Clancy (Faythe Harriers, 0-3) for Broaders (21), David Pettit (Our Lady's Island/St. Fintan's, 0-2, 1 free) for C. Doyle (28), Seán Cooper (Davidstown-Courtnacuddy) for Walsh (HT), Conor Nolan (Oylegate-Glenbrien) for Delaney (33), Patrick O'Hagan (Ferns St. Aidan's) for Audsley (34), Peter Rowley (Oylegate-Glenbrien) for Gahan (36), Chris Callanan (Liam Mellows, 0-3, 1 '65) for Stafford (37).

Wexford Gold: Kevin Cosgrave (Oylegate-Glenbrien); Cameron O'Leary (Rathnure), Jake Clancy (Faythe Harriers), Robert McGuinness (Blackwater); Conor Morris (St. Patrick's), Glen Carton (St. Patrick's), Alex Sludds (Crossabeg-Ballymurn); Seamus Doyle (Duffry Rovers), Jake Nobbs (Blackwater, capt., 0-3 frees); Jack Fortune (Crossabeg-Ballymurn), Ethan Freeman (Oulart-The Ballagh), Tomás Cosgrave (Oylegate-Glenbrien); Ben O'Connor (Tara Rocks, 0-1), Niall Murphy (Ferns St. Aidan's, 1-0), David Mernagh (Monageer-Boolavogue). Subs. - Evan O'Dwyer (Naomh Eanna) for T. Cosgrave, temp. (12-14), Paudie Bailey (Geraldine O'Hanrahans) for Carton (21), O'Dwyer for Doyle (26), Art Sinnott (Monageer-Boolavogue) for K. Cosgrave (HT), Jamie Doyle (Blackwater) for Fortune (HT), Tadhg Kelly (HWH-Bunclody) for Murphy (HT), Philip Redmond (Rathnure) for Sludds (34), Seán O'Neill (Adamstown) for McGuinness (34), Nathan Byrne (Naomh Eanna) for Morris (36), Aaron Byrne (Naomh Eanna) for Mernagh (39), John Murphy (Rapparees) for Clancy (39), Anthony Murphy (Rapparees, 0-2) for T. Cosgrave (44), Aaron Doyle (Shelmaliers) for O'Leary (44), Carton for Bailey (44), Clancy for Freeman (54).

Referee: Gearóid McGrath (St. James').

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