Laois were safe going into this game, carrying an outside chance of promotion dependant on other results, while Wexford needed a victory to secure their status. A Wexford win never looked on the cards though as the home side gave a listless display and were flattered to have been just three points adrift at the end.
Even though they could not afford any slip-up here, it still did not bring the necessary urgency to their play and only led once in the game when Shane Roche opened the game’s scoring with a fourth minute pointed free.
In bitterly cold conditions, Laois played the more direct, composed football and had their finishing been on a par with their approach play, their winning margin would have been far greater.
Kevin Meaney and Padraig McMahon replied to McMahon’s early effort and after 10 minutes Ciaran Lyng put the sides level, 0-2 each. Laois picked off some excellent points through Gary Walsh, Colm Begley, MJ Tierney and Ross Munnelly, helping them build an interval lead of 0-10 to 0-2.
Laois exploded forward from the throw-in with Padraig McMahon striding through the home defence to kick an excellent point, stretching his side’s lead to nine points. Ben Brosnan responded and Red Barry fired home a penalty, reducing the deficit to five points, 0-11 to 1-3. Three further points indicated a big comeback was on but Laois closed out the game with a neat Ross Munnelly point.
Scorers for Wexford: R Barry 1-0pen, PJ Banville, S Roche (2fs) 0-2 each, C Lyng, B Brosnan, M Furlong, P Byrne 0-1 each.
Scorers for Laois: P McMahon, R Munnelly 0-3 each, MJ Tierney (2fs), G Walsh (1 45), C Kelly 0-2 each, K Meaney, C Begley 0-1 each.
WEXFORD: A Masterson; J Wadding, G Molloy, R Tierney; B Malone, D Murphy, L Chin; D Waters, R Quinlivan; J Holmes, R Barry, PJ Banville; S Roche, C Lyng, B Brosnan.
Subs: A Flynn for Holmes (29), C Carty for Tierney (48), M Furlong for Quinlivan (48), P Byrne for Brosnan (52).
LAOIS: E Culleton; P O’Leary, D Booth, P Begley; D Strong, J O’Loughlin, P McMahon; K Meaney, B Quigley; R Munnelly, C Meredith, C Begley; MJ Tierney, G Walsh, C Kelly.
Subs: D O’Connor for Walsh (45), C Boyle for O’Loughlin (50), D Kingston for Meredith (60), K Lillis for Strong (62).
Referee: C Lane (Cork).