Galway 1-16 Wexford 0-11
It has been a fluctuating league campaign for both counties and this crucial encounter at Pearse Stadium went in the direction of the home side after they produced a big finish.
The sides were level for the fifth time when Gary Sice struck for the decisive score 11 minutes from the end, blasting home the only goal after going forward from his wing-back position and finished a move involving Michael Meehan and Danny Cummins.
Galway pushed on and added five points, three from substitute Michael Martin, while Wexford failed to score for the final 15 minutes despite having the wind, leaving manager Aidan O’Brien baffled about their collapse.
“We were going well for a long time and I was very pleased how we were playing in the first half. Even when we fell three points behind early in the second half I thought we regained our composure and got back level or maybe a point back. But in the last ten minutes we fell away badly so that is very disappointing,” he said.
Galway’s form has been indifferent throughout this campaign but manager Alan Mulholland was pleased with the way they seized the initiative.
“We are relieved. If we hadn’t come through today we were looking at the other end of the division so that put relegation to bed now. We can rest easy now after that.
“The first-half performance wasn’t what we wanted at all. We were trying to come to terms with them. I think we were a bit nervous, making a lot of errors that the neutral would say were very unforced.
“We asked for a big performance in the second half and we settled down with a little bit more confidence in our play. Once we began to play a bot of football we were able to pull away.
“This win will help our points difference, which it might come down to if we finish off with a win in Armagh. Today’s job was about getting rid of the relegation worries. We’ll see how we get over today and hopefully put in a similar performance against Armagh,” added Mulholland.
Cummins, Sean Armstrong and Meehan landed early points for Galway, but Wexford corner-forward Shane Roche was in top form and shot three points from in the opening half.
PJ Banville chipped in with a brace but Galway led at the interval when Armstrong got his third free of the half.
Galway went a goal in front with a strong start to the second half against the wind with points from Paul Conroy and substitute Gareth Bradshaw. But Wexford responded and a points from frees by Roche and Ben Brosnan reduced the margin before Redmond Barry equalised after 50 minutes.
Wexford hit the front five minutes later and looked good for victory when PJ Banville pointed but, remarkably, that was their final score of the match.
Armstrong levelled the game as Wexford hit some bad wides and when Sice burst forward for the decisive score, substitute Michael Martin landed three points in a strong finish for the Tribesmen.
Scorers for Galway: S Armstrong 0-5 (4fs), G Sice 1-0, M Martin (2fs), D Cummins 0-3 each, M Meehan 0-2 (1f), P Conroy, C Doherty, G Bradshaw 0-1 each.
Scorers for Wexford: S Roche 0-4 (1f), PJ Banville 0-3, B Brosnan 0-2fs, A Flynn and R Barry 0-1 each.
GALWAY: M Breathnach; J Duane, F Hanley, C Forde; G O’Donnell, K Kelly, G Sice; F Ó Curraoin, A Griffin; J O’Brien, S Armstrong, C Doherty; P Conroy, M Meehan, D Cummins.
Subs: G Bradshaw for Duane (34), E Concannon for Griffin (h-t), S Denvir for O’Brien (54), M Martin for Doherty (61), S Walsh for Meehan (64).
WEXFORD: T Hughes; R Tierney, G Molloy, J Wadding; B Malone, D Murphy, A Flynn; D Waters, R Quinlivan; J Holmes, C Doyle, R Barry; S Roche, B Brosnan, PJ Banville.
Subs: C Carty for Doyle (25), C Lyng for Holmes (58), P Byrne for Roche (66), L Chin for Murphy (69), A Doyle for Flynn (69).
Referee: P O’Sullivan (Kerry).
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