Wexford lift off in spectacular style with 26-point win over Carlow

‘We had to work for it today ... we just outworked them,’ says Wexford manager Keith Rossiter

Leinster SHC: Carlow 1-13 Wexford 2-36

This was one of those Alex Ferguson afternoons where you were left scratching your head and thinking: hurling, bloody hell.

A week after drawing with title holders Kilkenny, Carlow were so heavily beaten as to make you wonder if straight lines can be drawn between championship results at all any more.

Wexford won this game by 26 points, though they are clearly not that much a better team than Kilkenny. That will be made crystal clear next weekend when Kilkenny host Wexford at Nowlan Park, a game that is now a de facto Leinster semi-final.

“It is, and today was a Leinster quarter-final,” said Wexford manager Keith Rossiter after watching his team make mush of Carlow. “It’s old-school knockout hurling now and we’ll see where that takes us next weekend.”


Wexford’s task was made a little easier by John Michael Nolan’s 65th-minute dismissal for Carlow, for a second booking.

Not that the result was in doubt at that stage. Wexford, who scored their first point after 17 seconds and their first goal after 90 seconds, led 1-16 to 0-4 points with just 22 minutes on the clock.

Conor McDonald scored that early goal, grabbed another in the second half and finished up with 2-3 from play while talisman and free-taker Lee Chin, the championship’s top scorer, drilled 13 scores and was heavily influential in open play also.

Rory O’Connor showed his quality too, striking five points from play, and was among 14 different players to get on the scoresheet for Wexford.

With a near fully fit panel now, and back-to-back championship wins behind them after beating Galway in Round 3, things finally appear to be lifting off for Wexford this season.

“Well, I thought things were lifting off after we played Dublin in Round 1, to be honest, and then we went up to Corrigan Park and Antrim,” said Rossiter, wincing, in reference to their surprise Round 2 loss.

He said he arrived in Carlow town forewarned. “I was up here last weekend and I saw what they did to Kilkenny. We had the lads well warned because they have six good forwards, decent backs and you get nothing easy up here. We had to work for it today and I thought that was it, we just outworked them.”

Wexford led by 1-21 to 1-7 at half-time, Conor Kehoe clawing back a 26th-minute goal for the hosts.

Carlow needed a strong second half, not to rescue a game that was already beyond them, but to gather some momentum for what will be a relegation play-off with Antrim next weekend. Antrim previously beat Wexford so have two points on the board compared to Carlow’s one. A draw then is all Antrim will need at Corrigan Park in Belfast to send the Joe McDonagh Cup holders back to tier two.

Wexford have loftier ambitions and showed real quality at times, with substitutes Séamus Casey, Kevin Foley, Charlie McGuckin and Tomás Kinsella adding 0-5 between them when they came on.

“I thought between the 20th and 25th minutes we just eased up, which is not acceptable, really,” said Rossiter, struggling to find any stage when they weren’t on top during the rout.

WEXFORD: M Fanning (0-1); L Ryan (0-1), S Reck, M O’Hanlon; E Ryan, D Reck (0-2), C Foley; C Hearne (0-2), R Lawlor (0-1); L Og McGovern (0-1), C Dunbar (0-2), R O’Connor (0-5); C McDonald (2-3), L Chin (0-13, 10f), M Dwyer. Subs: S Casey (0-1) for Dwyer, 43 mins; K Foley (0-1) for Lawlor, 57 mins; C McGuckin (0-1) for McGovern, 61 mins; S Donohoe for L Ryan, 66 mins; T Kinsella (0-2) for Chin, 68 mins.

CARLOW: B Tracey; P Doyle, D Wall, C Lawlor; T Lawlor, K McDonald, N Bolger; R Coady (0-1), J McCullagh; F Fitzpatrick, C Nolan (0-4), C Kehoe (1-2); M Kavanagh (0-5, 5f), JM Nolan, P Boland (0-1). Subs: James Doyle for McCullagh, h/t; J Kavanagh for Fitzpatrick, 44 mins; S Treacy for James Doyle, 61 mins; Jake Doyle for M Kavanagh, 69 mins.

Referee: T Gleeson (Dublin).