Tipperary 1-13 Wexford 0-15
Peter Creedon’s Tipperary sent Wexford crashing out of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship at Semple Stadium this afternoon.
The Premier County recorded a shock one-point victory on a sensational day in Thurles.
On an afternoon of Championship shocks, this one has to rate high up there as Wexford had run Dublin desperately close in the Leinster semi-final just a fortnight ago.
But Tipp were high on confidence after beating Offaly in the first round of qualifiers – and they scalped another big-name Leinster opponent here.
Donagh Leahy’s 14th-minute goal helped Tipp to lead by 1-6 to 0-6 at half-time – and it was a superbly-improvised effort.
Leahy was dumped on his backside close to the Wexford goal but somehow managed to swing a left boot at the ball and send a shot past Anthony Masterson in the Wexford goal.
And just 10 minutes before half-time, Tipp were seven points clear – 1-6 to 0-3 – when Michael Quinlivan popped over a point.
But Wexford hit back with a run of four unanswered scores before the break to trail by 0-6 to 1-6 at half-time.
Tipp opened the second half impressively with a brace of scores to move five clear, but Wexford’s response was to hit four without reply again.
They were now back to within a single point with over 20 minutes remaining and the scene was set for a grandstand finish.
And what a finish it was as Wexford drew level through Shane Roche in the 54th minute.
Tipp would hit back to lead by two points on three occasions before the finish.
Each time, Wexford responded to cut the gap back to the bare minimum but Tipp held out to book their place in round 3.
Wexford sub Ben Brosnan could have taken the game into extra-time but deep in stoppage time, his long-range effort went agonisingly wide of the posts.
And Tipp, inspired by Quinlivan and wing-back Brian Fox, were fully deserving winners.
Masterson had to be on his toes to make a couple of smart saves in the first half as Tipp opened up Wexford with alarming ease.
But Masterson’s opposite number Paul Fitzgerald was equally impressive with a first-half save from PJ Banville.
And in the second half, Fitzgerald drew loud applause from loyal Tipp fans as he pulled off a couple of magnificent catches.
Wexford: S Roche 0-5 (3f), R Barry 0-4 (3f, 1 45), PJ Banville 0-3, C Lyng 0-2, B Brosnan 0-1.
Tipperary: M Quinlivan 0-4 (1f), D Leahy 1-0, P Austin, B Fox & A Maloney (2f) 0-2 each, A Campbell, H Coghlan & P Acheson 0-1 each.
WEXFORD: A Masterson; G Molloy, L Chin, R Tierney; B Malone, D Murphy, A Doyle; A Flynn, D Waters; R Barry, C Morris, C Carty; PJ Banville, C Lyng, S Roche.
Subs: P Byrne for C Carty (44), B Brosnan (0-1) for Morris (44), E Bradley for Roche (60), N Murphy for Doyle (70).
TIPPERARY: P Fitzgerald; A Morrissey, P Codd, C McDonald; B Fox, R Kiely, A Campbell; G Hannigan, H Coghlan; R Ryan, B Mulvihill, D Leaha; M Quinlivan, P Austin, P Acheson.
Subs: A Maloney for Mulvihill (35), S Scully for Ryan (51), A Matassa for Scully (65), B Mulvihill for Austin (66), L Egan for Quinlivan (70).
Referee: Michael Duffy (Sligo).