Unlike last year, Wexford are putting a strong emphasis on the Walsh Cup as they continue to introduce new faces.
However, Offaly were first to make a mark, and inside three minutes they were 0-3 to 0-0 in front through Brian Carroll, Joe Bergin and Shane Dooley (free). The home side gradually settled, getting back level 0-3 apiece by the ninth minute with points from Eoin Doyle, Gary Moore (free) and Harry Kehoe out of midfield.
The game was turning into somewhat of a shoot-out between Wexford’s Gary Moore and Offaly’s Shane Dooley, Moore eventually bagging 0-12, and Dooley 0-9.
Offaly struck for the opening goal after 13 minutes. Shane Dooley sent in a high ball that was controlled by full-forward Derek Molloy, who swivelled and fired past debutant keeper Mark Fanning, giving his side a 1-4 to 0-5 lead.
Dooley was supported in his scoring efforts by Joe Bergin and Cathal Parlon and they swept into a 1-9 to 0-6 lead by the 26th minute, but a Wexford flourish through Paul Morris and Gary Moore left just three points separating the sides, 1-10 to 0-10, at the interval.
Wexford introduced David Redmond to midfield for the second half and he made an immediate impact. With Richie Kehoe outstanding at centre-back, they increased the pressure on the visitors. After Shane Dooley pointed a 90th minute free to extend Offaly’s lead to four points, it was Wexford’s turn to apply the pressure.
Outstanding full-back David Kenny did his best for Offaly but there was nothing he could do as Moore, with two frees, and Harry Kehoe points left two points separating the sides, 1-12 to 0-13, after 45 minutes.
Points from a Moore free and David Redmond had the sides level but the crucial score arrived eight minutes from the end. After Padge Doran was fouled keeper Mark Fanning made the long trek forward to power a penalty to the net, giving his side a 1-21 to 1-14 lead and no way back for Offaly.
WEXFORD: M Fanning (1-0 free), E Moore, C Kenny, B Kenny; R Kehoe (0-1, 65), A Shore, J Tonks; L Chin, E Doyle (0-1); H Kehoe (0-3), P J Nolan (0-1), G Moore 0-12, 0-11 frees); P Morris (0-3), M O’Regan, P Doran (0-1).
Subs: A Kenny for C Kenny (inj. 29); D Redmond (0-2) for Chin (inj. ht); Shaun Murphy for H Kehoe (67); K Gore for Doyle (69).
OFFALY: J Dempsey; C McDonald, D Kenny, D King; D Mooney (0-1), K Brady, D Morkham (0-1); R Hanniffy, C Parlon (0-1); B Carroll (0-1), S Dooley (0-9, 0-8 frees), T Carroll; O Kealey, D Molloy (1-0), J Bergin (0-2).
Subs: S Ryan for Kealey (53); P Cleary for Carroll (60); M Cleary for McDonald (66); J Mulrooney for Bergin (66).
Referee: A Stapleton (Laois).