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Friday 23 August 2019

No test for minors

Wexford ease into league semi-final

Ciaran O' Connor about to strike the ball downfield
Ciaran O' Connor about to strike the ball downfield
The Wexord Minor hurling team before the easy win over Antrim

Brendan Furlong

Wexford completed their group games with a comprehensive 23- point victory over a poor Antrim outfit in this Leinster Minor hurling league tie in Páirc Uí Shíocháin, Gorey, on Saturday.

Wexford 4-21 Antrim 1-9

Wexford mentors must have been left frustrated at the lack of a challenge as they now enter the semi-final stages having won both of their games by comprehensive margins.

As a result, they will still be left pondering on the merits of their players with the championship just around the corner.

It wasn't surprising to see the frustration at the lack of a true test set in from early on as the Model county players were able to pick off scores without any real challenge, and such was their dominance that they utilised their full bench through the second period, yet their control of the game never weakened.

Only on the pitch nine minutes, Wexford had swept into a 0-7 to nil lead with points from Seamus Casey, inside 30 seconds, Ciarán O'Connor (two frees), Casey again, Conor Coleman, Bob Whitty and another O'Connor free from midfield.

Such was the weakness of the Antrim challenge that there was never a chance they would close the gap despite a Ciarán Leech point after twelve minutes. Wexford continued to pick off points at will to add to a Seamus Casey 28th-minute goal which left them with a 1-13 to 0-4 interval lead.

The second-half was to prove no different as the Wexford dominance continued. By the tenth minute they had stretched into a 1-18 to 0-4 lead through points from Conor Coleman, Jack Pettit, Conor Hearne, Rory O'Connor and substitute Caolán Carty.

After Jody Donohoe had fired over a further point, the Glensmen had their first second-half score - a Christy McNaughton pointed free - at the end of the third quarter. Wexford continued to post scores before they had their second goal seven minutes from the end when Donohoe struck to the net following a high Aaron Maddock free, with the same player showing a clinical piece of finishing to add a third goal two minutes later to push his side into a 3-21 to 0-8 lead.

Antrim were unable to show any reaction as they were hopelessly outplayed, with the home side adding a fourth goal two minutes from the end through substitute Eoin Corcoran.

It wasn't quite what Wexford wanted as it served little purpose in the eyes of the team management, particularly with more testing games ahead.

Wexford will now meet Westmeath in the semi-final on Saturday, with the winners facing Offaly in the decider on April 4. Interestingly, Kilkenny didn't enter the league while Dublin fielded an Under-17 team.

Wexford: Oisín Foley; David Clarke, Brian Quigley (0-1), Gary Molloy; Rowan White, Aaron Maddock, Ciarán Kirwan; Ciarán O'Connor (0-6 frees), Joe O'Connor; Darren Codd, Jack Pettit (0-1), Stephen O'Connor; Seamus Casey (1-2), Bob Whitty (0-2), Conor Coleman (0-4). Subs. - Billy Dunne for Foley, Jody Donohoe (2-1) for Whitty, Johnny Hamilton for Maddock, Conor Hearne (0-1) for C. O'Connor, Eoin Corcoran (1-2) for Pettit, Stephen Kearney for Codd, Rory O'Connor (0-1) for Casey, Murtha Doyle for Coleman.

Antrim: Caolán McCrory; Adam Mullan, Manus Mullan, Conor Carson; Joe Maskey (0-1), Gerard Walsh (0-1 '65), Seán Duffin; Keelan Molloy (0-1), Gregory McGreevy; James McNaughton (0-1), Ciarán Leech (0-1), Jack Daniels; Conan Cunning, Christy McNaughton (0-4 frees), Ryan McKee (0-1). Subs. - Michael McNicholl for Daniels, Matthew Muldoon for Duffin, Seamus McAuley for A. Mullan.

Referee: Killian Jones (Kildare).

Wexford People

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