Paul Galvin’s first league game in charge of Wexford didn't go to plan with his Wexford side coming away from Glenavy with a six-point defeat to Antrim in Sunday's Division 4 clash.
Two second-half goals from Saffron full-forward Ruairi McCann proved Wexford’s undoing after the Model men had clawed their way back into the game before the break.
“We’re disappointed with the result of course. The performance I thought was okay, workrate was good throughout but the goals cost us really and I think we made one or two mistakes that cost us those goals,” said Galvin.
“In general, the guys did a lot of good stuff. Our defensive play, we need to look at it. It’s collective things we need to look at. We need to look at our shape and where we got caught short on bodies.
“I thought we fought back well. We didn’t start well but we responded well so we were in the game. At half time we were fairly happy but the restart wasn’t good for us.
“I want to get a competitive team out there and get promotion. That’s still there for us for sure. We have a few players back for next week but the result doesn’t change anything ahead of the Carlow game this week.”
The home side got off to a flier with Paddy Cunningham marking his return to intercounty football with a point after 20 seconds and McCann doubled the lead moments later. A Cunningham free had the home side three points to the good after five minutes before Ben Brosnan opened the Wexford account.
Two more Cunningham frees had Antrim in a 0-5 to 0-1 advantage but the next quarter-hour belonged to Wexford with the visitors outscoring their hosts by 0-5 to 0-1 to level matters by the 28th minute.
Jonathan Bealin converted a free before Glen Malone added the pick of the day’s scores so far. Niall Hughes also got on the Wexford scoresheet with Brosnan converting a free superbly off the ground to make the score 0-6 apiece.
The game’s first goal arrived on the half hour mark, Eunan Walsh soloing through the Wexford defence to fire to the net. Bealin converted a mark to cut the gap to two and Cunningham and Tom Byrne swapped points to leave Antrim 1-7 to 0-8 ahead at the break.
The third quarter was the winning of the game for the home side, with McCann firing home three minutes after the restart after a neat passing move, and on 49 minutes the same player took advantage of a defensive mistake to fire home his second goal, despite the best efforts of Patrick Doyle.
Wexford fought back again and brought the game to within four points on 52 minutes when Antrim keeper Oisin Kerr tipped Brosnan’s goalbound effort over the bar. Colum Duffin and Paddy McBride landed late scores for Antrim to seal a deserved win for Lenny Harbinson’s men.
ANTRIM: O Kerr; P Gallagher, R Johnston, M Gardner; D Lynch, J McAuley, P Healy; C Duffin (0-2), M Jordan; E Walsh (1-0), P McBride (0-1f), N Delargy; P Cunningham (0-6, 4f), R McCann (2-1), C Murray.
Subs: C Small for P Cunningham (54), E Nagle for M Jordan (60), D McAleese for C Duffin (69), A Loughran for N Delargy (69).
WEXFORD: P Doyle, M O’Connor, G Sheehan, J Rossitor; R Devereux, B Malone, C Carty; E Nolan, N Hughes (0-1); R Heffernan, J Stafford, T Byrne (0-1); G Malone (0-2), J Bealin (0-4f), B Brosnan (0-4, 1f).
Subs: J Dunne for R Heffernan (49), S Nolan (0-1) for J Stafford (53), M Rossiter for J Bealin (62), C Devitt for T Byrne (69), L Coleman for E Nolan (70+5).
Referee: B Tiernan (Dublin).