Wexford power past Carlow

WEXFORD 6-21 CARLOW 0-14

Wexford handed their Leinster compatriots Carlow a huge defeat as they powered through to next weekend's NHL Division 2 final.

With promotion in their sights, Colm Bonnar's side will take on Offaly in the decider after they finished level at the top of the table on 12 points.

Wexford afforded Carlow the utmost respect, given the Barrowsiders' recent run of wins over Antrim, Westmeath and Down.

But the gulf in class between the sides became apparent in the first half. This Wexford Park duel quickly turned into a one-sided affair as the hosts turned around with a 5-9 to 0-7 lead.

Andrew Shore opened Wexford's account after three early wides and with Bonnar's players showing the greater first touch, Carlow's defence was soon exposed.

League debutant Pat Kenny claimed the first goal when he rattled the net in the sixth-minute after a high ball had broken away from goalkeeper Frank Foley's grasp.

Paul Carley and Carlow's Ruairi Dunbar swapped points before two goals in quick succession from Kenny and Diarmuid Lyng, who hit a stinging shot past Foley, had Carlow stretched.

Free-taker Paudie Keogh kept plugging away with some neat points for Carlow but further goals from Rory Jacob and Stephen Banville (in injury-time) emphasised Wexford's dominance.

Stephen Doyle and Jacob also scored two excellent points as the first half came to a close with Bonnar's men leading by 17 points.

Carley pointed on the restart and had a penalty saved before Robert Foley replied for Carlow.

Nonetheless, a string of points from Jacob, Doyle, Atkinson and Banville saw Wexford maintain their push for scores, which they had to do given that their main promotion rivals Offaly and Antrim were meeting this afternoon in Tullamore.

Carlow salvaged some pride with substitute Richard Cody hitting a fine late point and Keogh was impressive throughout from placed balls.

But Jacob collected a sixth goal for Wexford, helping his side boost their scoring difference to +87. Incredibly, Bonnar's side scored 28 goals and 124 points during their seven-match run in the league, averaging four goals a game.

Wexford will meet Offaly in next Sunday's Division 2 decider, after their 1-18 to 0-13 defeat of Antrim.

The winners of the final will secure promotion to Division 1 and give themselves the psychological edge ahead of the Offaly v Wexford Leinster Championship quarter-final on May 30.

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