South end group on high note with Waterford win
South Wexford burst away from the Waterford City challenge in the final Group A game in the Celtic Challenge Under-17 hurling tournament in Carriganore on Wednesday.
South Wexford 2-17 Waterford City 2-9
The result, coupled with South Tipperary's surprise victory over South Kilkenny, left Martin Lynch's side sitting in third in the table at the conclusion of the round-robin stage, despite losing just once and finishing on the same points as the top two.
This was South Wexford's third win in a row but they were given a stern test by the hosts. The teams exchanged points in the opening quarter (0-3 each), but a mini-burst from the visitors, with Seán Nolan, Sam Wall and Jack O'Leary on target, gave them their first break.
There was still three points in the game heading into the last few minutes of the half but, when Brian Cooke claimed a throw-ball on the right wing and darted in to net from close range, Waterford City were level.
Niall Dunphy's late point gave his side a 1-7 to 0-9 lead at the break. The Slaneysiders, who had six points from their half-forward line at the interval, got another when James Kelly levelled shortly after the re-start.
The hosts were a non-factor in the third quarter as the defensive positional changes made at half-time paid dividends. South Wexford went ahead when Sam Wall's searching ball was somehow pulled to the rigging from the acutest of angles by Philip Rawson.
The Wexford team further extended their advantage through the third quarter and led by 1-13 to 1-7 after 47 minutes. However, Waterford hit back when Jack Troy's ball found its way to Evan McGrath and he darted in to net past Fionn Slattery.
That was as close as the home county got. After Jamie Myler's second successful '65, Ben Maddock's long ball was collected by Seán Nolan.
The Horeswood attacker hared away, only to see his shot blocked, but Sam Wall was on hand to pull the rebound past Donal Carey.
South Wexford played out the final ten minutes without too much drama to take the win. A strong third spot in the group matches was enough to see them into the Corn John Scott where they faced Dublin Clarke in the quarter-finals on Saturday.
Wexford South: Fionn Slattery; Adam Hearne, Ricky McGrath (capt.), Darragh Cooper; Gavin Sheehan, Jamie Myler (0-3, 2 '65s), Ben Maddock; Chris Cowman (0-1), Eoin O'Neill; Philip Rawson (1-0), James Kelly (0-3), Seán Nolan (0-6, 1 free); Adam Cantwell, Jack O'Leary (0-1), Sam Wall (1-3, 0-1 free). Subs. - James Doyle for Hearne (31), Seán Banville for Cooper (31), Alex Gondard for Rawson (53), Daire Reville for O'Leary (58), Mark Murphy for Kelly (60).
Waterford City: Donal Carey; Tadgh Foley, Peter Grogan, David Jordan; Peter Boylan (joint capt.), Luke O'Brien, Daire O'Keeffe; Niall Dunphy (0-5, 3 frees), Seán Carton; Niall O'Keeffe, Luke Flynn, Ed Cullen; Evan McGrath (joint capt., 1-1), Brian Cooke (1-2), Jack Troy. Subs. - Johnny Flynn for N. O'Keeffe (36), Ian Condon for J. Flynn (49), Sam Robinson (0-1) for Troy (51), Matthew O'Connor for McGrath (53), Paul Flanagan for Cullen (55).
Referee: John McCormack (Kilkenny).