So hello from Thurles, it’s time for hurling and where better to operate than Semple Stadium. First thing’s first, the pitch looks impeccable and the teams have no excuses for not entertaining us here at the home of hurling. Or as they call it themselves, the Field of Legends.
It’s been a season of change for both Cork and Wexford but the leaves will fall off the tree for one of these sides today; the other will find their way into an All-Ireland quarter-final with plenty of colour in their cheeks. A quick look at our match guide will get you up to speed on today’s clash.
16.53 – 16:47 — Cork are easily the favourites here but there are reasons to bellow caveat emptor at anyone thinking of rushing to the bookies. Firstly and most notably, Jimmy Barry-Murphy hasn’t yet discovered what his first 15 is and while that does not prevent a team from winning an All-Ireland (Liam Sheedy found his as 2010 progressed), it leaves them open to ambush.
Not that Liam Dunne can claim to possess the finish article with his Wexford side either. His side are certainly underdogs but he can console himself with the fact that his is not the only team with plenty of youth on board.
Indeed some might see the positioning of Cork debutant Damian Cahalane as something of an opportunity for Wexford, and the powerful Stephen Banville; that is, if emerging star Jack Guiney is not at 14. But Cork’s forward line looks more potent so it’s hard to look past the Rebels. Despite the Model County’s decent record against Cork in championship action.
17.10 – Cork are missing chances here (Pa Cronin and Cian McCarthy) but Wexford aren’t letting them settle either. As I say that the Models blast a wide from near the sideline through Eoin Quigley. Rebel youngster . Conor Lehane keeps the run of poor shooting going after a lovely turn initially. 10 mins gone
17.29 – Paul Morris sets up Harry Kehoe for another score for Wexford but Lorcán McLoughlin sees his point with one of his own after good work from Pebbles. Lyng, the maestro, puts over a sideline from distance to draw the sides closer again. Cork 3-4 Wexford 1-7
17.32 – Jack Guiney gets himself isolated with Damien Cahalane but drops the ball with the goal at his mercy and out it runs out wide. Luke O’Farrell, who is having a joke of a game (in a good way), finds the posts and so too does Horgan to extend Cork’s advantage. In between, Eoin Quigley had a shot saved by Nash when he could and should have shovelled it off to Guiney. Big mistake. Guiney then puts over a free from out the country, which Niall Mc quickly responds to Cork 3-07 Wexford 1-08
17.37 – Ah Guiney is a joke too (again, praise of the highest order)! What a turn by Harry Kehoe, as he turns and rises the ball in one go and accelerates away from Niall McCarthy into the Cork penalty area. The big Rebel makes an intervention allowing Guiney to point a ’65, though it could so easily have been a goal before that. Off his left, Rathnure man Guiney again splits the sticks before Garrett Sinnott says “I’ll have me one of them too”. Cork 3-7 Wexford 1-11 at half-time
17.58 – Cian McCarthy slings a third wide amid a succession of them before Harry Kehoe pulls one back for Wexford. Guiney will been disgusted at missing a sitter of a point before Paul Morris is fouled in prime real estate. Guiney taps it over Cork 3-09 Wexford 1-13 on 42 mins
18.08 – Pebbles turned on a sixpence and cashes it in for a point after Pa Cronin feeds him. Jack Guiney then pins back his ears (which were of course safely tucked inside his helmet anyway) and wins a free but Lyng will take it because the Rathnure man is being taken off temporarily. Lyng converts in any case. Wexford then gift Niall McCarthy an easy point — they’re hanging in but need a goal to rattle the Rebels. Cork 3-14 Wexford 1-15
18.15 – Guiney again finds the posts but Wexford aren’t helping themselves now as they gift possession to O’Farrell to score from the ’21. Rory Jacob snaps and drives to leave six in them with 14 remaining after Horgan adds another free. Cork 3-17 Wexford 1-17. The Models just seem to be kept at arm’s reach — goal badly needed.
18.20 – Goalmouth incidents ago-go. David Redmond and Cian McCarthy put tame shots at the opposition keepers at either end and then Pebbles puts it over when he might have goaled. Seán Óg Ó hAilpín comes on to a rapturous Cork recpetion with Egan making way. And then Cathal Naughton puts seven between them. The jig looks to be up and the “Hon Wexford” lady looks forlorn. Cork 3-19 Wexford 1-17 on 64 mins
18.24 – GOAL! Therefore, “Hon Wexfordddddd”! Garrett Sinnott snaps one in the Cork area and roofs it with authority. But Naughton is quickly fouled, allowing Horgan to dull the green flag’s effect Cork 3-21 Wexford 2-17 with a couple of minutes to go