Length of the pitch score for inspired half back sends Kilkenny to Leinster glory
Kilkenny 1-17 Wexford 0-18
Kilkenny strike back.
After losing minor and senior Leinster finals to Wexford, Kilkenny were out for payback in Wednesday evening's Bord Gais Leinster under-20 final and DJ Carey's men duly obliged with a narrow win in Wexford Park.
With the wind at their backs, it was the home side who started the better. Centre forward Ross Banville hit two early points to lay down an early marker to the Cats and to get the Wexford crowd going.
Kilkenny just like last Sunday, were very quick to respond.
It was the Graigue Ballycallan club men who stood up first. Aaron Brennan, the lively and skilful corner forward struck the first one and this was quickly followed up by a score from Sean Ryan, brother of senior star Billy.
This tit for tat nature continued for a few minutes with the crowd getting very involved in and excited by an entertaining game.
Sean Ryan missed a goal chance but captain Evan Shefflin made no mistake a couple of moments later. An Eoin O'Shea sideline broke kindly to Eoin Cody who crossed a dangerous ball into the Wexford box. The goalie flicked it away but the Ballyhale Shamrocks star Shefflin was onto it like a light, letting fly with a low rasper into the net.
To MJ Reck's side's credit though, they didn't lie down, scoring the next three points of the game. Those scores came from the stick of Eoin Murphy, Jack Reck and that man Banville.
Whenever Wexford hit, Kilkenny hit back with more though. Evan Shefflin hit back while Niall Brassil nailed his frees to send them into the interval with a 1-7 to 0-8 lead.
Niall Brassil and Stephen Donnelly struck for points upon the resumption but Wexford weren't going to go away that easily. They had the scores level after 40 minutes and it would have been easy for Kilkenny to sit back and rue the quad injury that kept their star player Adrian Mullen out of the game.
But as is often the way, they kicked on from adversity. Substitute Ciaran Brennan made a difference while Eoin Cody came roaring into the game.
The main man however, was the tall and rangy half back David Blanchfield. The Bennettsbridge club man and St Kieran's College student was a wall in the half back line and his 50th minute score was a real momentum shifter.
Picking up the ball almost as far back as his own full back line, the youngster sold a lovely dummy before stretching the long legs. He made it to the Wexford 45 before tapping over off the hurl.
Pure and utter class.
Wexford pushed for a late goal, but Shefflin, Brennan and Kilkenny were too good.
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) July 17, 2019