A seven point personal tally from Kevin Foley and two second half goals from Cathal Dunbar and Conor McDonald secured a Leinster final position for ‘The Yellow Bellies’ after a 2-16 to 1-12 victory over Offaly in O’Connor Park Tullamore.
Wing back Jack O’Connor opened Wexford’s scoring account after the wing back broke forward for Wexford’s opening score. Three quick fire points from the home side, two free’s from Dylan Murray and a point from Emmet Nolan put the Offaly side ahead in the opening five minutes. It was then Man of the Match Kevin Foley got his first of his seven points to narrow the gap back to a single point in what became a tight first half between the sides.
Emmet Nolan ran riot in the first half creating and scoring most of Offaly’s first half scores, Nolan also had a near goal chance which unfortunately for the Faithful men rolled wide. Offaly dominated the first half although they struggled to win high ball in the air from their own puck outs as Wexford’s half back line Padraig Foley and O’Connor had an easy time picking ball from the air. On the other end of the feild full-back Cillian Kiely kept fellow senior player Conor McDonald scoreless until he eventually hit the net late in the second half and he also hit Wexford’s final score while his marker Kiely was given his marching orders for a second yellow.
The second half saw a more determined Wexford side return to the feild. Substitute Cathal Dunbar hit 1-1 after being introduced in the second half along with Kevin Foley’s four points ended Offaly’s dreams of progression very rapidly. Kevin O’Connor kept the Wexford forwards hunting for the back of the net making a number of crucial save during the game at number 1. As the end concluded replacement Shane Guinan and wing-forward Matthew Maloney did their best to put the Wexford defense under pressure in the final minutes. Their hard work finally paid off after Matthew Maloney ended the game with a late consolation goal for Offaly.
Wexford now march on to play Kilkenny in the U21 Leinster final as they defeated Carlow by just two points.
Offaly: K O’Connor; D Corbett, C Kiely, P Rigney; G Crowe, C Doughan (0-01, free), D Doughan; C Mahon (0-01), P Guinan; M Maloney (1-00), J O’Toole Greene, E Nolan (0-04); A Cleary, J Maher, D Murray (0-05, 0-04 frees, 0-01 ’65). S Guinan (0-01)
Wexford: O O’Leary; S Donohoe, L Ryan, E Conroy; J White, P Foley, J O’Connor (0-01); C Devitt, G Bailey (0-01); A Kenny, K Foley (0-07), J Cash; S Murphy, C McDonald (1-05, 0-02 frees, 0-02 ‘65s), P Sutton. Subs: C Dunbar (1-01) T French (0-01).