O’Brien off mark as Wexford battle back for victory

Wexford 2-08 Longford 1-10

The victory did not look likely for lengthy periods of the opening half as Longford, with the aid of a strong wind, swept into an eight point lead, 1-7 to 0-2, after 32 minutes. However, a PJ Banville goal in first half additional time handed Wexford a lifeline.

Longford got off to a dream start and had 1-1 on the scoreboard inside 11 minutes. Their 11th minute goal was expertly created by centre-back Michael Quinn, who swept through the centre of the opposing defence before laying off to Robbie Smyth who finished low to the net.

Wexford had to wait until the 14th minute to open their account through a Ben Brosnan pointed free, but then Longford went on to kick six unanswered points to stretch into a 1-7 to 0-1 lead after 32 minutes.

Nine points adrift, Wexford needed something special to haul them back into contention, and it came in the closing minutes. First Brosnan pointed a 40m free into the wind, before Paddy Byrne and Brosnan combined to set up Banville, who kept his nerve to shoot low to the net, leaving just five points separating the sides, 1-7 to 1-2, at the interval.

But it remained to be seen if Wexford could step up to the challenge as Longford looked sharp and clinical in possession. Limerick cut the deficit when Shane Roche pointed a 38th minute free and Brosnan kicked over another free five minutes later. As they continued to press forward wing-back Adrian Flynn pointed from 40m, their only point from play for the entire game.

But Longford managed to lift the siege to open their second half account through a 50th minute Sean McCormack pointed free, to leave three points separating the sides, 1-8 to 1-5.

Longford were clinging to a single point lead when Wexford got the breakthrough they had been threatening for so long. Paddy Byrne took on the opposing defence before laying off to Banville, who in turn picked out the unmarked Red Barry, who punched to the net from close range.

It gave Wexford the lead, 2-8 to 1-9, for the first time with 12 minutes remaining.

While Wexford failed to add to their tally, they managed to restrict the visitors to a single point, from substitute Kevin Diffley, on 70 minutes. In additional time Longford’s Michael Quinn was just short with a 45.

Scorers for Wexford: B Brosnan 0-6fs, R Barry, PJ Banville 1-0 each, S Roche (f), A Flynn 0-1 each.

Scorers for Longford: S McCormack 0-4, F McGee 0-3, R Smyth 1-0, M Quinn (45), K Diffley, S Mulligan 0-1 each.

WEXFORD: A Masterson; B Malone, G Molloy, R Tierney; A Doyle, D Murphy, A Flynn; D Waters, C Doyle; M Furlong, B Brosnan, P Byrne; S Roche, R Barry, PJ Banville.

Subs: J Wadding for Murphy (ht), J Holmes for A Doyle (52), R Quinlivan for C Doyle (60), C Carty for Roche (66), K Gore for Barry (70).

LONGFORD: D Sheridan; D Brady, B MacGiollarain, P Foy; F Battrim, M Quinn, S Mulligan; McElvaney, M Brady; P McCormack, D McElligott, S Doyle; F McGee, R Smyth, S McCormack.

Subs: P Kelly for Doyle (inj. 13), K Diffley for Brady (54), A Rowan for Battrim (70).

Referee: C Lane (Cork).

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