Wexford hurling crisis: Relegation to Joe McDonagh Cup a possibility

Wexford hurling crisis: Relegation to Joe McDonagh Cup a possibility
Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Semi-Final, Croke Park. Wexford's Lee Chin

Chadwicks Wexford Park was the setting for Sunday's clash between Wexford and Westmeath in the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship.

A crowd of 2,500 people were left gobsmacked as the visitors overturned a 17-point lead to solidify their first win in 2023 and arguably their finest outing in Championship history.

The astonishing result presents a precarious situation for next weekend's fixtures. Pending results, we could see Wexford relegated to the Joe McDonagh Cup for 2024.


A shared sense of disbelief was present for those in attendance, with the majority appalled at what they had witnessed on the day. If losing was not enough, elimination from the Championship in round four was another dagger in the hearts of the loyal supporters.

At half time, a scoreline of 2-15 to 0-5 saw the home side make light work of the task, with the visitors yet to register a score from play.


The referee on the day was Chris Mooney, and his signal for the start of the second half will haunt the county for years to come. It took only three minutes after the restart for Niall O’Brien to find the back of the net, accelerating one of the greatest comebacks in the sport's history.


Westmeath would outscore Wexford by 4-13 to 0-7 in the second half, with Niall Mitchell adding two late goals to solidify the remarkable victory. It was the visitor's first win against the Yellowbellies since 1940 in Croke Park.

The results of next weekend's fixtures will ultimately shape the landscape of Wexford hurling for years to come.

If Wexford were to lose to Kilkenny and Antrim were to seal victory against Westmeath, the men from the South East would be relegated to the Joe McDonagh Cup for 2024 on the head-to-head rule.

It is almost unthinkable, even astonishing - that this proud county finds itself in this remarkable position. The discussion before yesterday's clash was that Wexford would seal the victory and head into next weekend's fixture knowing a win would take them to the All-Ireland series.

We now anticipate a far greater task against Kilkenny, with many anticipating Darragh Egan to be replaced by the County Board sooner than expected.

A county in shock and a team in desperate need of salvation. Wexford's 2023 campaign is left in absolute tatters, with considerable worry as we approach a crucial weekend of Championship hurling.

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