Wexford 0-14 Limerick 1-13
Paudie McNamara had a Championship debut to remember as his injury-time point helped Limerick to a memorable SHC qualifier victory at Wexford Park today.
In atrocious conditions, Rory Jacob (0-4) and Willie Doran (0-2) shone for Wexford as the home side carved out a 0-11 to 1-6 interval lead.
Andrew O’Shaughnessy’s shot deceived Wexford net minder Damien Fitzhenry for a timely goal.
But the scores dried up for Wexford in the second half and Limerick seized their chance, with McNamara (0-4) and James O’Brien (0-1) edging the Shannonsiders home.
The throw-in was delayed after extra-time was required in the earlier football qualifier between Wexford and Roscommon, and Niall Moran kickstarted Limerick’s challenge with the opening point.
Unfortunately Moran’s evening was ended midway through the opening half by a suspected broken finger, compounding the wing-forward’s woes after his brother Ollie was dropped from the side by manager Justin McCarthy.
There were huge pools of water in certain areas of the pitch but the players pressed on in their pursuit of scores and the impressive McNamara, a late replacement for David Breen at full-forward, scored three first half points, all splendidly struck.
After Moran’s opener, Diarmuid Lyng levelled from a free before McNamara had two excellent points.
Wexford settled better and had three points in a row from Rory Jacob, Willie Doran and Jacob again.
Dave Redmond pointed for the home side, followed by a marvellous Gavin O’Mahony point for Limerick from all of 60 yards and way out to the right.
Doran and Jacob put over two more Wexford points before Limerick grabbed the only goal of the game.
O’Shaughnessy raced past Malachy Travers, the Limerick corner forward shot weakly but in the conditions his effort deceived Damien Fitzhenry, squeezing over the line and the sides were suddenly level.
Lyng and Jacob edged Wexford two points clear again before Seamus Hickey struck the point of the game for Limerick.
Two Lyng frees and a third point by McNamara closed out the first half’s scoring, with Wexford taking a two-point buffer into the second period. But that was cancelled out immediately by Donal O’Grady and Donnacha Sheehan.
Incredibly, Wexford had to wait almost half-and-hour for their first point of the second half from Stephen Doyle, which was followed by a free from Lyng to level the tie for the third time.
But McNamara and James O’Brien hit the winning points in injury-time for Limerick in a gripping finish.
McNamara landed his fourth of the game to edge his side in front, deep into the six minutes of stoppage time which arose because of an injury to Limerick midfielder O’Grady who was taken into hospital after 55 minutes.
Scorers – Limerick: P McNamara 0-04, A O’Shaughnessy 1-02 (0-02f), S Hickey 0-02, G O’Mahony (0-01f), D O’Grady, N Moran, D Sheehan, J O’Brien, 0-01 each.
Wexford: D Lyng 0-06 (0-04f), R Jacob 0-04, W Doran 0-02, S Doyle, D Redmond 0-01 each
Limerick: B Murray; D Reale, S Lucey, M O’Riordan; S Hickey, B Geary, M Foley; G O’Mahony, D O’Grady; W McNamara, J Ryan, N Moran; D Sheehan, P McNamara, A O’Shaughnessy.
Wexford: D Fitzhenry; M Travers, P Roche, K Rossiter; D Stamp, P Kehoe, C Kenny; H Kehoe, D Lyng; PJ Nolan, W Doran, R Jacob; D Redmond, E Martin, S Doyle.
Referee: Michael Wadding (Waterford).