Wexford snatch dramatic draw

CENTRE-FORWARD Redmond Barry was the hero as Wexford sensationally preserved their unbeaten record in Division 3 of the Allianz NFL at the Limerick Gaelic Grounds yesterday.

A spectacular equalising point from Barry in injury time robbed Limerick of a victory they seemed destined to achieve in a remarkable match that saw three players sent off.

Wexford midfielder Eric Bradley was the first to go when he was red-carded for an off-the-ball incident shortly before the interval.

He was followed by Limerick corner forward Ian Ryan in the 54th minute, found guilty of a similar offence. Then Limerick’s other corner-forward, Stephen Kelly, was dismissed five minutes from the end of normal time after receiving a second yellow card.

Jason Ryan’s side will relish this result, while Limerick will rue the meeting as a lost chance to bag two vital points.

They dominate from the start and were six points to the good with 10 minutes remaining. Then it all went horribly for the Shannonsiders as Wexford bravely pulled it out of the fire.

Wexford, missing the influential services of Mattie Forde, ruled out with an ankle injury, were all at sea in the opening sequences as Limerick, brilliant in defence, and with John Galvin lording it at midfield, took command of the game.

It took a great save by goalkeeper Anthony Masterson to deny centre forward James Ryan in the first minute but, undeterred, Limerick piled on the pressure.

And they were rewarded in the fifth minute when full forward Dermot Phelan latched on to a breaking ball before flashing the ball to the net.

It was all Limerick as Wexford struggled all over the park. And the home side were 1-3 in front before the table-toppers got their name on the scoresheet with a point from wing forward Adrian Flynn in the 16th minute.

Limerick continued to dominate with Shane Gallagher, Johnny McCarthy and Andrew Lane excelling at the back, and with Ian Ryan in excellent free-taking form, they led by 1-7 to 0-3 at the break after Wexford had been reduced to 14 men.

Although Wexford upped the pace after the resumption, Limerick were still comfortably in control and led by six points before Ryan was given his marching orders with 15 minutes remaining.

Six points still divided them entering the home straight, and Limerick, despite the loss of Ryan, who had kicked a total of six points before his enforced departure, looked likely winners.

But, displaying great character, Wexford came storming back and were inspired by a great opportunist goal from Adrian Flynn, who leaped high to punch across from John Hudson to the net, with five minutes remaining.

Now it was Limerick’s turn to struggle and their cause was not helped by the red carding of Kelly after Wexford had reduced the deficit to two points.

But Limerick were reeled in at the death as Wexford earned a share of the spoils with Barry’s point-saving equaliser.

Limerick: D Phelan 1-0; I Ryan 0-6 (0-4f); S Kelly 0-2; J Murphy 0-2 (0-1f); J Ryan, A Lane 945) 0-1 each.

Wexford. A Flynn 1-1; C Lyng 0-3; S Roche 0-3 (0-2f); R Barry 0-2; N Murphy, B Brosnan (f), J Hudson (f) 0-1 each.

LIMERICK: M Jones, S Walsh, J McCarthy, S Gallagher, A Lane, D Carroll, P Ranahan, T Cahill, J Galvin, J Murphy, J Ryan, S Buckley, I Ryan, D Phelan, S Kelly. Subs. l O’Dwyer for Ranaghan (inj.); P Browne for Carroll; O O’Cruali for Murphy.

WEXFORD: A Masterson, C Morris, P Wallace, M Hanrahan, N O’Sullivan, B Malone, A Morrissey, E Bradley, B Doyle, B Brosnan, R Barry, A Flynn, C Lyng, S Roche, J Hudson. Subs. P Colfer for Brosnan; N Murphy for Hanrahan; C Byrne for Doyle; PJ Brambell for O’Sullivan.

Referee: P McGovern (Galway).

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