Evan Niland hits 13 points as Galway get over early shock to see off Wexford

Wexford caught home team cold and scored two goals inside the first four minutes in Salthill

Galway 0-24 Wexford 2-12

Galway, with Evan Niland outstanding, encountered few problems as they got their Leinster SHC campaign off to a winning start in wet conditions at Pearse Stadium in Salthill.

Niland struck 0-13, seven of which came from play, as Henry Shefflin’s men recovered from a poor start to run out comfortable winners.

Wexford, despite losing captain Lee Chin and vice-captain Damien Reck to injury before the game, got a glorious start with two goals inside four minutes.

A high ball from the right from Liam Óg McGovern got a touch from Conor McDonald as Galway goalkeeper Éanna Murphy advanced to send it to the net.


And then when Rory O’Connor dispossessed Jack Grealish with a hefty shoulder charge, he set up McGovern and the St Anne’s player finished low into the left corner of the net.

But Galway did not panic and got back level by the break at 0-11 to 2-5 before dominating the second half to run out comfortable winners.

Cathal Mannion and Conor Whelan pointed within a minute of the restart for Galway and while Rory O’Connor responded for Wexford, the Tribesmen hit the next four to lead by 0-17 to 2-6 after 43 minutes.

Then Wexford got a lifeline when McGovern was hauled down by Galway captain Daithí Burke but McDonald’s penalty was poorly hit and Galway goalkeeper Murphy saved it with ease.

And then Galway hit back with three rapid points from Brian Concannon, Conor Cooney and Niland, with his sixth from play, to open up a 0-20 to 2-6 lead after 47 minutes.

Wexford never looked like staging a comeback after that as Galway eased their way to victory without ever hitting top gear and Henry Shefflin will now turn his attention to a clash with his native Kilkenny next weekend.

GALWAY: E Murphy; J Grealish, G McInerney, TJ Brennan (0-1); P Mannion, D Burke, J Cooney; C Mannion (0-1), R Glennon (0-1); T Monaghan, B Concannon (0-2), C Cooney (0-2); E Niland (0-13, five frees, one 65), C Whelan (0-2), K Cooney (0-1).

Subs: C Fahy for Concannon (56-58 mins); F Burke for J Cooney (58); C Fahy for Glennon (60); J Flynn for Concannon (63); L Collins (0-1) for C Mannion (67); D Morrissey for Brennan (69).

WEXFORD: J Lawlor; L Ryan, M O’Hanlon (0-1), C Devitt; S Reck, C Foley, S Donohoe; D O’Keeffe, C Hearne (0-1); O Foley, L Óg McGovern (1-2), C McGuckin; R O’Connor (0-5, five frees), C McDonald (1-0), C Dunbar (0-2).

Subs: Jack O’Connor for O Foley (21-26 mins); Jack O’Connor (0-1) for McGuckin (43); M Dwyer for O’Keeffe (46); R Lawlor for O Foley (57); K Foley for Hearne (60); Joe O’Connor for C Foley (70).

Referee: Seán Stack (Dublin)