In the buildup to this weekend’s U-21 All Ireland Hurling Final, we look back at Clare and Wexford’s first clash at senior level int his year’s championship.
Clare vs Wexford face off in the Under-21 All Ireland final this weekend, and many of the players on show will have contested that thrilling two part special at senior level this summer. How could we forget?
The first day ended up in a draw then went to extra time which meant a replay was in the cards, that same replay went to extra time and eventually ended with Clare giving up their All Ireland title.
These Clare u-21 boys are no strangers to hype, having already secured the previous two All Ireland titles but will have to more cautious approaching this Wexford side, who are capable of spoiling the party just like they did in July.
That match was just what you’d expect from championship hurling. Neither sides giving an inch. Penalties, unlikely heroes, and a Wexford side emerging as serious All Ireland contenders once again.
Let us cast our minds back to the first game. Wexford had a monster start, putting 2-7 on the scoreboard in the first 17 minutes, Clare, however remained composed and sliced into the lead, Conor McGrath and Colin Ryan both took plaudits for the fightback.
Drama followed however, as Podge Collins was handed a red card for pulling the helmet off David Redmond; a hammer blow for Clare.
After the break, Clare seemed undeterred by having 14 men and continued to gain momentum. Wexford, however killed themselves with wides and in a way let Clare back into the game, which Clare took full advantage of.
Wexford eventually got a chance to put the game away when a penalty was awarded, however Paul Morris decided to tap it over the bar.
More drama ensued as Clare went straight back up the pitch and were awarded a penalty. Tony Kelly decided to take a shot at goal but his effort was saved, only for hero of the hour Seadna Morey to blast the ball to the net to leave Wexford in front by a point.
Colin Ryan then leveled it up with a free and the game was sent to extra time.
Extra time was just as intense as both teams had purple patches. Conor McGrath scored a fine goal and the Wexford duo of Lee Chin and Paul Morris kept Wexford hopes high. Pa Kelly was performing heroics in goal aswell. The second half left nothing between the teams and the final whistle was blown.
A 2-25 to 2-25 draw and a replay was the outcome.
Wexford would go on to claim a memorable victory and knock the reigning All Ireland champions out of the championship.
It was a tremendous game. Let’s hope the Under-21s can give us more of the same on Saturday.
Ashling Dalton, Pundit Arena.