Late Wexford surge sees off stern Offaly challenge

Wexford gave their supporters plenty of nervous moments in this Leinster MHC tie, but despite striking seven wides in that period and trailing for most of the game, they overcame Offaly 3-8 to 2-13 in O’Connor Park.

First-half goals from Dylan Murray and Alan Spain negated Wexford’s strong start but hesitancy in the Offaly back line allowed Jordan Broaders to poke home a goal in response. However, Offaly led by 2-5 to 1-6 at half-time.

The two sides traded goals early in the second half but despite dominating the battle for primary possession, Wexford failed to make their advantage tell on the scoreboard. Jordan Broaders finally put them in front with four minutes to go with only their second point from play and Conor McDonald completed the scoring two minutes later.

Meanwhile a goal two minutes from time by Ben Conroy helped Laois to come from behind to defeat Westmeath 4-12 to 2-16.

Early goals by Joe Campion and PJ Scully gave Laois into a 2-6 to 1-8 lead at the break, with Westmeath’s goal coming from Killian Doyle.

An incredible shooting display from Carlow’s Marty Kavanagh proved the difference as his side accounted for Kildare 1-19 to 2-13 at Newbridge on Saturday evening.

Kavanagh finished with a personal tally of 1-14, which included all of Carlow’s first half total of 1-8, but more importantly the wing-forward hit the final three points of the game to secure a Carlow win.

Kildare enjoyed the perfect start when Evan Dempsey hit the net after just 20 seconds and he added a second goal 15 minutes later. Carlow were totally reliant on Kavanagh and his accuracy from play and from frees kept the margin down to four at the break, 2-9 to 1-8.

Carlow upped the ante after half-time, limiting their opponents to just four points while the rest of the attack began to find their range. A Ryan Casey point with seven minutes left levelled the game but Kavanagh hit three more points in the closing minutes to seal a deserved win.

Meath hit Wicklow with a two-goal blitz midway through the first half to lay the foundations for their 2-13 to 2-9 win at Arklow on Saturday.

Wicklow had a whirlwind opening with a goal in the first minute by corner-forward Kevin Byrne and led their opponent throughout the first quarter. But then full-forward Gavin McGowan and corner-forward John Wail struck for two Meath goals in a minute to set them on the road to a 2-8 to 1-2 half-time and ultimate victory.

However Wicklow, winners of the C championship last year, kept up a strong challenge all the way. With a goal from a penalty in the 35th minute by top scorer Gavin Weir ensuring they kept up the pressure on the Royals in the second half.

Overall, though, Meath had the better touch and in Jack Regan they had a player if immense quality, showcasing his talent first at corner-forward and then further outfield helping his defence in the second half.