Honours even after thriller at the Athletic Grounds

Allianz Football League Div 2: Armagh 3-8 Wexford 3-8

Honours even after thriller at the Athletic Grounds

Allianz Football League Div 2: Armagh 3-8 Wexford 3-8

Armagh staged a remarkable recover at the Athletic Grounds, where a rousing second half performance saw them ciome from 11 points behind to draw with Wexford in a thriller.

And it was super-sub Gavin McParland who emerged as the hat-trick hero who rescued the Orchard men from what looked set to become an annihilation.

Wexford took control with three first half goals, but the home side finally found their form in the final quarter, when they outscored their opponents by 2-3 to no score.

Paddy Byrne drilled home the first of Wexford’s three fisrt5 half goals, exposing gaping holes in the Orchard defence.

Craig Doyle made the opening with a strong run in the sixth minute, and Byrne got in behind the home defence to collect and fire a firmly stuck shot past Philip McEvoy.

Ben Brosnan, who had opened the scoring from a free, was always a danger, and the movement of Redmond Barry and PJ Banville caused immense problems for an inexperienced Armagh rearguard.

Stefan Forker knocked over an Armagh free, but they conceded a second goal in the 16th minuet when

Aidan Forker, with a reckless challenge on Redmond Barry, conceded a penalty.

Barry drilled the kick past Philip McEvoy, and the men from the south-east were six points to the good.

Armagh initiated a number of switches in an effort to bolster a creaking defence, but they concd3sd a third goal inn the 21st minute.

It was Brosnan who provided the perfectly weighted pass for Shane Roche to slip in behind and fire home to the bottom corner of the net.

Armagh did pull back a goal of their own, a brilliant 34th minute strike from substitute Gavin McParland, but at the interval, they trailed by 3-3 to 1-1.

Armagh should have had a second goal early in the second half, but Stefan Forker blazed over the bar with an open goal at his mercy

Forker added another score to inspire hope among his colleagues, but it was a short-lived period of supremacy, and Wexford went back on the attack for Brosnan to steer three frees between the posts.

Midway through the second half, the visitors led by a commanding nine points margin, but a mistake by Joey Wadding, who had been a defensive rock all evening, allowed McParland in for his second goal, another spectacular finish that flew into the top corner of the net.

And McParland completed his hat-trick in the 59th minute, slotting home a penalty awarded for a foot block, the deficit now down to a manageable three points.

Another substitute, James Lavery, was making a big impact around midfield, hel;ping his side to dominate possession in the final 15 minutes, during which they outscored their opponents by 2-3 to nil.

And it was a third introduction from the bench, Stefan Campbell, who emerged as the dramatic late match-winner, slotting the stoppage time leveller which gave his side the most unlikely of draws

Armagh: P McEvoy, M Shields, J Donnelly, D McKenna, K McKeever, A Forker (0-1), B Loughran (0-1), S Harold, K Toner, C Rafferty, N McConville, E Rafferty (0-1), E McVerry, S Forker (0-4, 3f), B Mallon.

Subs: J Lavery for Harold (23), G McParland (3-0), 1 pen)for McConville (27), B Donaghy for McVerry (33), K Dyas for Mallon (52), S Campbell (0-1) for Toner (67)

Wexford: A Masterson, B Malone, G Molloy, R Tierney, L Chin, J Wadding, A Flynn, D Waters, C Doyle, M Furlong, B Brosnan (0-5, 4f), P Byrne (1-0), S Roche (1-1, 0-1f), R Barry (1-0, pen), PJ Banville (0-2).

Subs: R Quinlivan for Doyle (42), J Holmes for Furlong (54), D Murphy for Flynn (66)

Referee: J Curley (Meath).

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