Jamie Carty was the local hero as his dramatic goal two minutes into additional time gave Wexford the narrowest of victories over Meath in this excellent Leinster JFC final played at Innovate Wexford Park yesterday evening.
The late victory handed the Model County their first provincial title in this grade since 2007.
Meath had the measure of Wexford during the opening 10 minutes as Alan Farrell and Cian O’Brien were dominant in midfield, kicking five unanswered points during this bright spell. Cian Lynch’s two points , opened their account, and points continued to flow from Ciaran Kelly, Danny Quinn and Lynch free, before Wexford eventually opened their account through an 11th minute Conor Sinnott point.
Wexford went on to enjoy their best spell of the opening 30 minutes adding two further points through Graham Carty and a Niall Harney free to reduce the deficit to 0-5 to 0-3.
Meath regained the initiative through Kelly and Quinn and the Royals led 0-8 to 0-4 at the interval.
Wexford opened the second half impressively with Conor Sinnott sending over two fine points, one from a free, inside three minutes, but Meath sub Daragh McNamara settled the visitors with a fine point.
Meath edged into a 0-11 to 0-6 lead through a Ciaran Kelly point after 40 minutes.
Wexford gradually wrested the initiative, kicking four unanswered points through Sinnott ( two frees), Jamie Carty and sub Lee Devereux, while in between sub Declan Murphy pulled a great goal chance wide.
Now Meath, realising that the game was slipping away, responded as a Ciaran Kelly point one minute from the end seemed to have secured victory as they led 0-12 to 0-10, but in a dramatic finis, two minutes into addition time, Lee Devereux saw his lob break to Jamie Carty who left footed low to the net to give the homeside a dramatic win.
J Carty 1-1; C Sinnott 0-6, 3frees, N Harney (f), G Carty, L Devereux 0-1 each.
C Kelly 0-4, C Lynch (2f), D Quinn 0-3 each, D McNamara, K Ross (f) 0-1 each.
A Masterson; P O’Keeffe, J Rossiter, R Vallejo; G Carty, J Breen, P Curtis; J Carty, J White; N Harney, N Hughes, S Gaul; C Redmond, K Rowe, C Sinnott. Subs: D Shanley for Hughes (27. inj); G Malone for Gaul (ht); D Murphy for Redmond (ht); S Doyle for Harney (42), L Devereux for Curtis (49).
J O’Connor, M Kearney, G McGowan, C O’Connor; K Traynor, S Heavey, A Newman; A Farrell, C O’Brien; A douglas, B O’Brien, D Quinn; K Ross, C Lynch, C Kelly. Subs: D McNamara for Douglas (B.C. 24); P Muldoon for Kearney (38), J Finnerty for Quinn (51), F Murphy for Ross (53), S Crosby for B O’Brien (57). Referee: B Cawley (Kildare).