By Dan Walsh
History was made at Chadwicks Wexford Park yesterday (Saturday) with the first ever hurling match held under floodlights and the festive occasion was even more special for the almost 13,000 in attendance as Wexford defeated Kilkenny, 1-25 to 2-18, in a Walsh Cup tie.
It cost slightly less than €1 million to erect the floodlights, a massive achievement by Wexford GAA County Board and other stakeholders, a welcome development that will enhance the stadium and make it a more attractive venue to host more inter-county games.
Last night’s ceremony was a ticket sell-out, the anticipation of a special occasion was palpable, fireworks lit up the town, Cllr. George Lawlor, Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council put his lungs to the maximum as be belted out Cuchulain’s Song, Mick D’Arcy from Corner Boy sang Amhrán na bhFiann, and with the flick of a switch and a cheerful round of applause Wexford Park was illuminated like never before.
The game itself had a 6 o’clock throw-in. Conor McDonald wrote himself into the history books – the first point under lights in Wexford Park. Ther was only a point between the teams at half-time. A goal in injury time from Richie Lawlor sealed a Wexford victory and Conor Hearne added a point.
WEXFORD 1-25 KILKENNY 2-18 the final score.
WEXFORD: James Lawlor; Shane Reck, Liam Ryan, Conor Devitt; Simon Donohoe, Damien Reck (0-01), Ian Carty (0-01); Diarmuid O’Keeffe (0-02), Richie Lawlor (1-01); Mikie Dwyer (0-01), Conor Hearne (0-03), Charlie McGuckin (0-01); Oisín Pepper (0-02), Conor McDonald (0-05), Lee Chin (0-03, 0-01 free, 0-01 ’65). Subs: Ross Banville (0-3fs) for Chin (ht), Conor Foley for Donohoe (44), Kevin Foley for Dwyer (49), Corey Byrne-Dunbar (0-01) for Pepper (49), Conall Clancy (0-01) for O’Keeffe (54), David Clarke for Carty (69), Kyle Scallan for Damien Reck (72).
KILKENNY: Aidan Tallis; Mikey Butler, Evan Cody, Niall Rowe; David Blanchfield, Pádraic Moylan, Pádraig Walsh; Paddy Deegan (0-02), Shane Murphy (0-01); Paul Cody (0-02), Cian Kenny (0-02), Tom Phelan (1-03); Gearóid Dunne, John Donnelly (0-01), Niall Brassil (0-05, 0-05fs). Subs: Cillian Buckley for Blanchfield (41), Cillian Doyle for Murphy (43), Shane Walsh (0-01, 0-01f) for Dunne (49), Niall Brennan for Kenny (52), Des Dunne for Moylan (54), Ian Byrne (0-1) for Phelan (58), Billy Sheehan (1-0) for Brassil (59), Colum Prendiville for P. Cody (66), Niall Mullins for Donnelly (68).
Referee: Seán Stack (Dublin).