Wexford defeat Kilkenny in the O’Neills Leinster U20 Hurling Championship on Saturday last in Chadwicks Wexford Park
Mark Dowling took his side to take on the yellow bellies on Saturday last in Chadwick’s Wexford Park in round one of the Leinster Championship. The provincial and All-Ireland champions went into the game missing some key players. Senior players Billy Drennan, Timmy Clifford and Gearóid Dunne were unavailable due to a change in the 7 day window rule by the GAA which those Senior players couldn’t play and on top of other injuries his side was missing six to seven of the team that started last years All-Ireland final.
Kilkenny started brightly scoring six unanswered points in the first eight minutes of the game. Wexford were slow to start but by half time they had managed to claw their way back and the teams went in level at the break 0-9 each. Wexford’s first goal came twelve minutes into the second half which put the yellowbellies three points to the good. The cats tried but could never reduce that margin any smaller then three points and Wexford put the game to bed in the 56th minute of the game when they scored they’re second goal and, they went seven points clear by the 59th minute. Kilkenny pressed for the last 5-8 minutes of the game and at the end the margin was reduced to three points but it was defeat as the home side ran out 2-17 to 0-20 winners. The Leinster Championship is a round robin series and while Dowling was disappointed his team are still in the competition with a trip to Tullamore to take on Galway at the weekend.
Speaking to KCLR after the game, Dowling was very disappointed with how his team performed:- “We completely went out of it to be honest, I thought we had a very good opening say 8, 9, 10 minutes and a very strong 8-10 minutes finishing”.
“In between we completely fell away, what happened I don’t know, I was disappointed with the lack of intensity in that period between the first ten and the last ten minutes, and Wexford bossed it between then, we had some very poor errors, poor handling errors, poor passes and ultimately we gave away two goals from two bad errors”.
“When a team is on top regardless of the scoreline everything looks really good for them and they look really sharp, ultimately we were on the back foot at that stage we were struggling to gain back momentum after the first ten minutes and unfortunately we didn’t”.
When put to Dowling that many a manager had come to Wexford Park and failed his team did show character and did come back near the end getting some scores that he would leave a little happier than midway through the second half:-
“I’m not happy I’m not gonna lie, fifteen minutes of hurling out of sixty five is not enough. You train for a number of months to prepare for this for a sixty three, sixty four minute battle, I’m just really disappointed that we didn’t perform for a longer period of the match, Your not going to have sixty minutes of dominance but I felt we were capable of longer spells of dominance than we showed today, bit of character at the end but as I said a little too late”.
Speaking on his sides lack of goal chances “We threatened on a few occasions that we were going to create a goal chance but the last pass left us down so many times be it near the goal or out the field, we weren’t clinical enough and no we didn’t work the Wexford goalie enough and we all know goals win matches and they won it today”.