Wexford 2-15 Longford 0-16
Fuming Redmond Barry claims a ‘cowardly stroke’ by a Longford sub left Wexford team-mate Conor Carty requiring stitches for a facial wound.
The back door battle boiled over shortly after normal time ended in stalemate at Pearse Park, prompting a brawl involving around 40 different people.
It appeared to have been started by Longford’s reaction to the decision not to award captain Paul Barden a late free. Players, substitutes, management team members and even officials all got involved to varying degrees, with pushes, shoves and, according to Barry, heavy punches exchanged.
The experienced Wexford forward claimed that Carty, a defender on the U21 team that won their only Leinster title in 2011, ironically defeating Longford, was punched from behind and suffered a serious facial cut.
“One of our fucking guys got a burst eye, three stitches around his eye,” blasted Barry. “I fucking saw with my own two eyes a Longford substitute punching our guy, from behind, a six-foot four lad punching Conor Carty and he only so high, you know. It was a fucking cowardly stroke.”
Wexford responded best to the dust up as they outscored Longford 0-7 to 0-2 in the additional 20 minutes to secure their place in this morning’s draw.
“When these things happen, you look back afterwards and say, ‘Who responded better’?” continued Barry. “And we did. I suppose we didn’t want to be bullied up here in their home patch.
“Maybe they thought the crowd was going to kind of lift them and they didn’t really. I think it actually kind of lifted us a bit more. I don’t know how it happened or what it was about because there wasn’t a dirty stroke in the game. I can’t understand how it came about.”
Wexford manager Aidan O’Brien described the unseemly melee in front of 2,200 fans as “absolutely awful”. No action was taken by Kerry referee Padraig O’Sullivan, though retrospective punishment may occur.
“I hope this is the end of it from a Wexford point of view as I wouldn’t like to see any of them miss out [in round three] as a result of it,” said Longford manager Glenn Ryan.
Ryan admitted he was wrong to have ‘had a few words’ with referee O’Sullivan following the decision not to award Barden a free for Longford.
“I had a few words with him and probably wrongly so,” added Ryan. “It is not my place to do that, but if people put themselves in my position they would probably have done the same. Paul Barden is the most honest player you are going to meet. It certainly wasn’t the only time in the game it happened and it was at a crucial stage.
“In the 70th minute, surely a free is the more advantageous thing to give instead of a guy trying to kick having got up off the ground with a couple of lads swinging off him. It didn’t come about and when it went to extra-time, Wexford were deserving winners.”
Ex-Kildare defender Ryan’s future as Longford manager is undecided now.
“It is disappointing,” he said. “I’ve got some turf at home to get in, that is all I’m thinking about now.”
Wexford, coming in off defeat to Meath at Croke Park, were poor early on and trailed 0-8 to 0-4 at half-time. It could have been more as Longford dominated.
But a PJ Banville goal after the restart, when he poked home after Aindreas Doyle’s initially blocked shot, was a crucial score. It reduced Wexford’s arrears to a point at 1-4 to 0-8.
Daithí Waters, their key midfielder throughout the second half, netted their second in the 56th minute, a low left footed finish from the left of goals. When he added a point in the 69th minute Wexford led by one.
But Seanie McCormack’s seventh point of the game — he shot 0-9 overall — tied it up and sent the game to extra-time.
Wexford looked fitter and sharper in the extra 20 minutes and picked off seven points in clinical fashion to win with surprising comfort.
Scorers for Wexford: D Waters 1-1, PJ Banville 1-0, A Flynn and B Brosnan (1f) 0-3 each, R Barry, C Lyng (1f), S Roche (1f) 0-2 each, J Holmes and A Doyle 0-1 each.
Scorers for Longford: S McCormack 0-9 (7f); S Mulligan 0-2; B Gilleran, J Keegan, M Brady, P Barden and JJ Matthews 0-1 each.
WEXFORD: A Masterson; M Furlong, G Molloy, R Tierney; B Malone, D Murphy, A Flynn; D Waters, R Quinlivan; J Holmes, R Barry, A Doyle; P Byrne, C Lyng, PJ Banville.
Subs for Wexford: B Brosnan for Banville (39), C Carty for Holmes (54), S Roche for Lyng (69), K Gore for Doyle (72), Doyle for Quinlivan (h-t e-t), Lyng for Barry (85).
LONGFORD: D Sheridan; D Brady, B Gilleran, D Reilly; B O’Farrell, P McCormack, S Mulligan; J Keegan, M Brady; B McElvaney, P Barden, P Foy; JJ Matthews, S McCormack, F McGee.
Subs for Longford: N Mulligan for McGee (57), D McElligott for Keegan (62), CP Smith for Reilly (66), A Rowan for Foy (69), M Hughes for Matthews (73), K Diffley for Mulligan (85).
Referee: Padraig O’Sullivan (Kerry).
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