They maintained a cushion throughout but were made to sweat as Mark Fanning’s save from a Shane Dooley penalty 20 minutes from time proved a let-off for Davy Fitzgerald’s men.
Though the performance may not have been perfect, Fitzgerald couldn’t hide his glee at securing a return to the top tier. Fitzgerald declared: “I’m delighted, absolutely thrilled that we are up to Division 1A. It’s hard to believe. The county board told me if I could get them there in two or three years they’d be delighted - so that’s a big massive achievement. I thought we were a small bit flat, we missed two or three goal chances but a win is a win.”
Wexford were flat for long spells in the first half before a Conor McDonald goal just before half-time helped them lead 1-7 to 0-8 at the break having played against the wind. With Offaly clipping at their heels right up until the final whistle, Wexford picked up the pace in the closing quarter with Diarmuid O’Keefe landing two super scores coming down the stretch with Fanning making a full length save to deny Dooley.
Fitzgerald also had a pop at fixtures planners. “Everything was kind of against us – the main match was meant to be the last game. They can have it now and do whatever they like. I don’t care. Wexford are put out to play Galway and Limerick in the first two games and it was all meant to come down to Galway and Limerick in the last game so we are happy.”
C McDonald 1-6 (0-4 frees), D O’Keefe, P Morris and A Nolan 0-2 each, J O’Connor, D Redmond, H Kehoe, L Chin and D Dunne 0-1 each.
S Dooley 0-10 (0-8 frees and 0-1 ‘65’), S Cleary 0-3, O Kelly, S Quirke 0-1 each.
M Fanning; S Donohoe, L Ryan, J Breen; D Reck, M O’Hanlon, D O’Keefe; J O’Connor, A Maddock; D Redmond, L Chin, S Murphy; C McDonald, L Chin, P Morris.
A Nolan (for P Morris temp 10-13m), A Nolan (for A Maddock 47m), J Guiney (for P Morris 56m), D Dunne (for J O’Connor 56m).
J Dempsey; P Rigney, M Cleary, P Delaney; D Morkan, D Shortt, S Gardiner; S Ryan, A Treacy;
J Mulrooney, C Kiely, S Cleary; S Dooley, S Quirke, O Kelly.
E Nolan (for S Ryan temp 25-30m), D King (for P Delaney inj 30m), E Nolan (for J Mulrooney H/T), T Carroll (for S Quirke 61m), P Geraghty (for S Cleary 61m)
C McAllister (Cork)