Wexford 0-18 Limerick 2-20
Limerick put together back-to-back away victories in Division 1B with a deserved triumph over Wexford this afternoon.
The Shannonsiders, playing into a stiff wind, built a 1-10 to 0-9 half-time lead with captain David Breen scoring 1-2, ably assisted by Niall Moran and Donal O’Grady.
Moran profited from a defensive mix-up to fire home a 37th minute goal and although frees from substitute Jack Guiney and Harry Kehoe closed the gap for Wexford and Breen was sent-off, Limerick ran out comfortable winners at Wexford Park.
Limerick were forced into a late change with the injured Shane Dowling (dead leg) making way for Thomas O'Brien at wing forward.
The visitors' attack is still missing the youthful exuberance of Declan Hannon (groin) and Kevin Downes (hamstring), but Moran at full-forward and centre-forward Breen were key figures today.
The midfield duo of Paul Browne and James Ryan also combined well in that sector, providing a good supply for John Allen's men as they looked for a repeat of last summer's All-Ireland qualifier win over the Model men - 1-22 to 2-13.
Boosted by their tight win over Offaly last time out, Wexford boss Liam Dunne opted to make seven changes in personnel including returns for Jim Berry, Rory Jacob and Stephen Banville in the forwards.
In sunny conditions, the sides were evenly matched in the opening minutes with a David Breen double replied to by Wexford's Kehoe and PJ Nolan.
Diarmuid O'Keefe and Banville then nudged Wexford ahead at 0-4 to 0-2. But by the midpoint of the half, Allen's charges were back level at 0-6 apiece - Conor Allis, Mikey Ryan and Moran, with a terrific brace, saw to that.
Then came their opening goal, O'Grady's long delivery in was broken down by the industrious Graeme Mulcahy and he fed Breen for a stinging 21st shot past goalkeeper Niall Breen.
Wexford struggled in the closing ten minutes of the first half as Limerick pushed four points clear on the back of scores from free-taker Allis (0-2), Mulcahy and an in-form Moran.
Jacob, making his first start of the 2012 league campaign, cut the gap to 1-10 to 0-10 when the second half got underway.
However, Moran soon rocketed home a deserved goal and further points from Moran, Gavin O'Mahony (free) and Mulcahy stretched the lead out to 2-13 to 0-11.
Within 90 seconds, substitute Guiney went for goal from a 21-yard free but his well-struck effort was blocked on the line and duly cleared as Nicky Quaid and his defence maintained their clean sheet.
Kehoe converted a superb 85-metre free to give the home side some inspiration and Guiney added another from closer in, slowly chipping away at Limerick's lead.
Allis and Browne were able to keep the scoreboard ticking over for the visitors as Wexford tried to find an extra couple of gears. Dunne's side had it back to 2-18 to 0-18 on the hour mark after well-taken scores from Guiney, Kehoe and David Remond.
Moran answered back for the Shannonsiders with 65 minutes on the clock.
With barely a minute of normal time remaining, Limerick skipper Breen was dismissed for his second bookable offence but the red card mattered little as a final point in injury-time from substitute Niall Maher confirmed the eight-point winning margin.