Lyng looks forward as Wexford find groove

AFTER amassing 3-40 in two championship games, the secret is well and truly out on Wexford.

But Ciarán Lyng wanted to divulge a bit more on why his team are one of the slickest attacks in Gaelic football right now.

Accepting praise for his personal 10-point haul after Saturday’s game, he revealed: “That’s the game we play, I can guarantee you four or five other forwards will clip scores because that’s the type of unselfish game we play. Nobody shoots from corner flags or anything, we shoot from the scoring zones and whoever gets free gets the point.”

But Lyng confessed their tally went above and beyond their wildest expectations.

“It’s a great score to put up and the last day was a great score to put up,” he said about the 2-16 registered against Offaly. “We have our targets, we set them at half time and they’re nowhere near 1-20 or 1-21. But we just keep going. Westmeath, in fairness, lost a bit of it towards the end when it was gone from them and it was a bit easier to clip scores over. So, maybe it wasn’t a completely fair reflection of the game.”

Not a lot can be said about the two defences on which Wexford have inflicted such damage.

Offaly lost all their shape and Westmeath here maintained an all-out attack mode long after they had the wind in the first half. Yet there is little coincidence in two back lines crashing so spectacularly against Wexford. The support running from the back via Brian Malone, Adrian Flynn and Aindreas Doyle was incessant on Saturday.

Other defences will make a better fist of halting them in their tracks but their relentless appetite to attack will take some figuring out.

Likewise, managing Ben Brosnan and Lyng will require homework. Appearance-wise, Brosnan lends himself to being more of a flash player, but he showed tremendously for ball and assisted several scores.

Unlike his team, Lyng had a stronger first half, when he registered seven of his 10 points. But his finishing throughout was exceptional.

A lot too has to be said about veteran Colm Morris, thriving in his new position linking and winning dirty ball around the middle.

Naming an outright defensively-minded player like Morris might appear to be a negative approach by Ryan. Shifting big Eric Bradley into the half-forward line to bump up the aerial ability could also be termed as a restriction on his forward line, but neither hurt the attacking flow of the team.

Even the wind didn’t upset them in the first half as they slugged it out with Westmeath. At half time, they were five ahead of Westmeath (1-12 to 0-10) whose Dessie Dolan and Denis Glennon’s shots were bolstered by the breeze.

After Redmond Barry stunned Westmeath with a first-minute goal, Westmeath drew level in the 15th minute when Dolan struck his fourth point.

It turned out to be the closest Pat Flanagan’s side got to Wexford as his team’s slack marking was routinely punished by Lyng and Brosnan. The pair totted up nine between them before the break and more followed thereafter, largely from Brosnan frees.

Indeed, between the 42nd and 56th minutes, Wexford went into overdrive, scoring seven unanswered points, Brosnan kicking four and assisting a couple of them.

Defender Flynn got in on the act with the last of that flurry which made it 1-21 to 0-11 in the home team’s favour.

“Yeah, it was our purple patch,” said Lyng about that period. “We kind of dominated. We didn’t dominate the middle as much as we could. That’s where we have been dominating throughout the league, but unfortunately in the first half we didn’t. We were lucky that the shots were going over for us at one end and were limiting them at the other end.”

John Heslin notched up Westmeath’s first score in 19 minutes before the hour mark and three more followed before the end. But Wexford matched it through Lyng, Rory Quinlivan and Brosnan’s fifth free.

In the closing stages, there was some showboating. Brosnan was floating free-kicks around the rectangle which he had been kicking over only 10 minutes before.

Lyng admitted afterwards Wexford have fancied their chances of reaching a Leinster final ever since the draw was made.

“It’s a cynical enough way of looking at it but it’s right. By the same token, Westmeath saw it the same way and they’d a game less. Louth and Carlow will have seen it the same way. Offaly did too so you’re getting the best out of those teams while you are avoiding the bigger ones.”

They might not be on the vaunted side of the draw in Leinster but there is little doubt who are the in-form team in their half.

Scorers for Wexford: C Lyng 0-10 (3f); B Brosnan 0-7 (5f); R Barry 1-3; S Roche, E Bradley, A Flynn, R Quinlivan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Westmeath: D Dolan 0-7 (2f); D Glennon 0-4; P Greville 0-2 (2f); A Finnan, J Heslin 0-1 each.

Subs for Wexford: L Óg McGovern for Bradley (blood 23-28); N Murphy for Wadding (48); A Morrissey for Flynn (57); B Doyle for Bradley, P Byrne for Roche (both 60); McGovern for Lyng (65).

Subs for Westmeath: J Dolan for Boyle (27); J Heslin for Sharry (ht); N Murphy for Molloy (39); B Murtagh for Corroon (56); M Curley for David Glennon (61).

Referee: P Hughes (Armagh).

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