Bril­liant 14-man Mi­nors held on in spine-tin­gling fi­nale

Enniscorthy Guardian - - SPORT -

WEX­FORD’S BRIL­LIANT 14 men held on for the last spine-tin­gling min­utes to lift the Ir­ish Press Cup and All-Ire­land Minor hurl­ing ti­tle with a 2-13 to 3-7 vic­tory over Cork.

And pe­cu­liarly enough, the hurler who played such a ma­jor part in his side’s suc­cess didn’t know Wex­ford had won un­til ten min­utes af­ter the game.

Four min­utes from the end, cen­tre-back Larry Byrne, who had played the game of his life, was felled by a Cork for­ward. He was at­tended to, car­ried off, but he never heard the Wex­ford vic­tory shouts as the full-time whis­tle sounded.

Hav­ing used their three sub­sti­tutes, Wex­ford could not bring in a re­place­ment for Byrne, but as Cork at­tacked strongly and anx­iously in those few ex­cit­ing mo­ments, the de­fence held out.

Wex­ford richly de­served their vic­tory, and were it not for some slow­ness in the for­ward line es­pe­cially in the first-half, when they con­tin­u­ally tried to lift the ball rather than pull first time, they might not have been four points (3-2 to 0-7) be­hind at half-time.

Byrne brought his side back into the game in the first minute of the sec­ond-half when his drop­ping 70-yard free found its way to the Cork net.

In that sec­ond-half Wex­ford were by far the bet­ter side, with Mick But­ler grasp­ing the game in the 19th minute, grab­bing a ball 50 yards from the Cork goal and solo­ing to within 30, be­fore dis­patch­ing a great shot to the corner of the net.

Larry Byrne, Liam Ben­nett and ‘keeper Pat Cox were ex­cel­lent in de­fence, but with the score­line as it was at the fi­nal whis­tle with four min­utes re­main­ing, al­most the full Cork side moved up­field in an ef­fort to re­duce the lead.

The crowd­ing around the goal­mouth plus Cork’s ex­tra anx­i­ety led to the Rebels be­ing un­able to break down the Wex­ford rear­guard.

Martin Qu­g­ley, Mick But­ler and Jame­sie Mur­phy were out­stand­ing in the Wex­ford at­tack, caus­ing con­stant worry to the Cork de­fence and prov­ing par­tic­u­larly in­spi­ra­tional through the sec­ond 30 min­utes.

Wex­ford: Pat Cox (En­nis­cor­thy St. Ai­dan’s); Jack Rus­sell (Geral­dine O’Hanrahans), Ge­orge O’Con­nor (Faythe Har­ri­ers), Peter O’Brien (Ferns St. Ai­dan’s); Ai­dan Ker­ri­gan (St. Pa­trick’s, Bal­ly­oughter), Larry Byrne (Kil­more-Rathangan, 1-0 free), Liam Ben­nett (Faythe Har­ri­ers); Philip Kennedy (St. James’), Tom Byrne (Ou­lart-The Bal­lagh, capt.); Martin Quigley (Rath­nure, 0-4), Pat ‘Kenny’ Walsh (Faythe Har­ri­ers, 0-1), Jame­sie Mur­phy (Faythe Har­ri­ers, 0-1); Mick But­ler (Buf­fers Al­ley, 1-6), Martin Casey (Buf­fers Al­ley, 0-1), Martin Byrne (Askamore). Subs. - Larry Kin­sella (HWH-Bun­clody) for Ben­nett, Tom ‘Gawny’ Walsh (Faythe Har­ri­ers) for P. Walsh, Ben­nett for Byrne, also De­nis Kin­sella (Ferns St. Ai­dan’s), Paddy Breen (Horeswood), Matt Wick­ham (St. Mary’s, Ross­lare), Larry Doyle (En­nis­cor­thy St. Ai­dan’s), Paddy O’Con­nor (Ou­lart-The Bal­lagh).

The All-Ire­land win­ning Wex­ford Minor hurlers of 1968.

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