A last-minute point from wing-back Pádraig Curtis secured victory for a much more spritely Wexford team and, but for a magnificent one-man show from Colin Corkery, Cork would have gone home feeling a lot more embarrassed.
Corkery scored 1-10 (1-7 from play) and but for his massive contribution, Wexford would have won in a canter. This was another pathetic Cork performance and, unless somebody waves a magic wand, the outlook for the future is bleaker than bleak.
Apart from Corkery, no Cork player shone and Wexford, who played with much greater endeavour, thoroughly deserved to win.
It was nip and tuck all through a lively and entertaining first quarter. The sides were level on four occasions with Wexford centre-forward Leigh O’Brien kicking some excellent points and Jim O’Donoghue replying magnificently for Cork.
Cork, who lost wing-forward Brendan Jer O’Sullivan with a suspected hamstring injury, took the lead for the first time in the 17th minute when Colin Corkery pointed after a great attempt by impressive attacking wingback Seán Levis, came back off the upright.
Another point from Corkery edged Cork further in front but, full of fire, Wexford stormed back to level the game for the sixth time with two points in rapid succession from wing back Dave Murphy and corner-forward John Hegarty.
Wexford regained the lead with a stunning goal from right corner-forward Kieran Deely in the 23rd minute. Their pride stung, Cork retaliated with points from James O’Shea and Maurice McCarthy, who had a good first half at midfield for the Rebels.
Midfielder Ray Hassey nudged Wexford two points in front coming up to the break but another point from Corkery left it 1-8 to 0-10 in Wexford’s favour at half-time.
The sides were level for the eighth time when Corkery pounced for Cork’s goal in the 52nd minute. He struck after a shot from James O’Shea was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper John Cooper. When the ball rebounded into the square, Corkery was in position to touch home.
Cork failed dismally to capitalise on this strike, however, and it was Wexford who resolutely took control and three points in succession from Colm Morris, Redmond Barry and Adrian Morrison brought Wexford level again in the 57th minute.
At this stage, it was Corkery versus Wexford. The Nemo ace pointed twice to edge Cork two points ahead entering the closing stages, but Wexford fought back to snatch victory at the death with Curtis’ brilliant strike.
Scorers for Wexford: R. Barry 1-4, L. O’Brien 0-4 (0-2 from frees), K. Deely 1-0, C. Morris, A. Morrison, P. Curtis, D. Fogarty, D. Murphy, J. Hegarty, R. Hassey 0-1 each.
Cork: C. Corkery 1-10 (0-3 from frees), J. O’Donoghue 0-2, B. Collins, C. Crowley, J. O’Shea, M. McCarthy, S. Levis 0-1 each.
WEXFORD: J. Cooper; C. Morris, P. Wallace, N. Murphy; D. Murphy, D. Breen, P. Curtis; W. Carley, R. Hassey; R. Barry, L. O’Brien, J. Hudson; K. Deely, D. Fogarty, J. Hegarty. Subs: A. Morrison for Huston.
CORK: K. O’Dwyer; N. Geary, A. O’Connor, S. O’Brien; S. Levis, E. Sexton, M. Cronin; N. Murphy, M. McCarthy; B.J. O’Sullivan, B. Collins, J. O’Donoghue; J. O’Shea, C. Crowley, C. Corkery. Subs: C. Murphy for O’Sullivan (inj.), C. Brosnan for C. Murphy, J. Miskella for O’Connor.
Referee: D. O’Flynn (Fr. O’Neill’s).