Wexford overcome nine-point deficit to beat Offaly

Wexford 3-18 Offaly 2-20

Wexford 3-18 Offaly 2-20

Wexford came back from the dead to secure an inspirational home victory over their Leinster rivals Offaly this afternoon.

Liam Dunne’s charges were nine points down with just seven minutes remaining, but staged a stunning comeback with Diarmuid O’Keefe and substitutes Gary Moore and Jack Guiney all scoring late goals.

Two quick-fire goals from Brendan Murphy and Colin Egan helped Offaly take a 2-9 to 0-10 interval lead.

Free-taker Shane Dooley extended the Faithfuls’ advantage, but Wexford saved the best for last and are now off the mark in Division 1B after losing to Antrim last time out.

The Model men would have been under huge pressure had they not produced the goods in the closing stages of this thrilling contest.

They lined out with Harry Kehoe and David Redmond at centre-field, while Offaly boss Ollie Baker drafted in Egan for James Mulrooney in attack following their opening defeat of Laois.

The sides were well matched in the early stages at Wexford Park before Offaly went on their goal blitz. Wexford goalkeeper Eanna Martin coughed up possession from a poor puck out, substitute Mulrooney gathered it and passed for wing forward Murphy to ripple the net.

PJ Nolan pointed at the other end to make it 1-3 to 0-4, however just 90 seconds later Joe Bergin's powerful run from deep saw him set up full-forward Egan for a smartly-taken 12th-minute goal.

Wexford hit some frustrating wides - seven in all - as they attemped to recover from the early setbacks. Two points from Redmond did settle them back into their stride at 2-7 to 0-9, with Eoin Quigley and Kehoe also finding their range from placed balls.

Offaly's own free-taker Shane Dooley converted six efforts over the opening 35 minutes and Bergin, the catalyst for that second goal, notched a brace of points from play.

Baker's charges, with their heightened level of fitness proving a factor, kept their foot on the gas in the second half and Dooley's first point from play - his eighth overall - made it 2-19 to 0-17.

They did not look to be in any danger, even after Wexford corner forward O'Keefe netted in the 65th minute, scoring on the rebound following an initial free in from Guiney.

Moore, another player sprung from the bench, tagged on a point and then flicked home the hosts' second goal, profiting from Kehoe's delivery into the danger area.

Offaly were suddenly wobbling as Wexford built attack after attack and their persistence paid off in injury-time. The Faithfuls' corner back Stephen Wynne earned a red card for pulling down Redmond and although Guiney's free was blocked, he smashed home to the net at the second attempt.

The result leaves Clare out in front as the only team in Division 1B to record two opening wins, while Offaly, Antrim, Wexford and Limerick are all locked together on two league points each.

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