Ciaran Lyng shows his class to guide Wexford home in edgy affair
Ciarán Lyng and Ben Brosnan showed the benefit of their experience as they held their nerve to edge Wexford home after a frantic encounter at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park.
Wexford 1-15 Longford 1-13 - Leinster SFC
Substitute Michael O'Regan also had a significant impact in just six minutes of action, providing the assist for Lyng's 68th-minute point that gave them the lead and then finding the target himself.
Aidan O'Brien's men looked in control for much of the game but a 55th-minute goal from Francis McGee breathed life into Longford.
A Seán McCormack free brought the sides level and Enda Williams put the hosts in front with six minutes left. The lead didn't last long though and not for the first time, Brosnan displayed his prowess from placed balls, planting over a 45-metre free from the deck to restore parity, before Lyng and O'Regan confirmed Wexford's progress to the semi-final.
Longford had a very strong wind at their backs and Michael Quinn began well at midfield but although McGee got them off to a good start in the first minute, they had already registered a wide by that juncture and spurned nine chances in the opening period.
Much of that wastefulness was due to shooting from uninviting positions, probably due to frustration as Wexford had the upper hand for much of proceedings. The visitors were punching holes in the Longford defence at will, with athletic midfielders Daithi Waters and Paddy Byrne causing much of the difficulties.
The sides were level on two points apiece after a cagey enough start when the lively Lyng found the back of the net in the 12th minute. Lyng snuck in behind the Longford cover to collect a perfectly-judged kick-pass by Brian Malone and his side-footed effort flicked off the advancing Damien Sheridan into the corner of the net.
Sheridan fluffed his kick-out to give Robert Dempsey an easy point but made amends with a point-blank save from the championship debutant, after Kevin O'Grady took out three Longford defenders in the corner.
McCormack and Michael Quinn reduced the deficit to a point but Longford were unable to feed McCormack, Brian Kavanagh and Paul Barden sufficiently and indeed McCormack was out in the half-forward line before the interval.
It made no difference, and after Shane Doyle missed a goal opportunity for Longford, Wexford finished with consecutive points from Dempsey, Adrian Flynn and Malone to lead by 1-8 to 0-7 at the interval.
With the elements at their back, Wexford only needed to keep the scoreboard ticking over to advance to the last four.
They looked very comfortable despite the efforts of veteran Paul Barden, who made his Longford debut the last time they came out on top against the Model County in the championship 15 years ago.
When McGee slid a low shot to the net, the dynamic of the game changed completely but Wexford composed themselves when it counted to progress.
Scorers: Wexford: C Lyng 1-5 (2f), B Brosnan 0-3 (2f), R Dempsey 0-2, B Malone, A Flynn, D Waters, PJ Banville, M O'Regan 0-1 each; Longford: S McCormack 0-5 (4f), P F McGee 1-1, Barden 0-3, B Kavanagh 0-2, E Williams, M Quinn 0-1 each.
Wexford: S Roche; R Tierney, G Molloy, C Carty; M Furlong, B Malone, A Flynn; D Waters, P Byrne; K O'Grady, PJ Banville, J Holmes; C Lyng, B Brosnan, R Dempsey. Subs: T Rossiter for Tierney (58), J Tubritt for Holmes (59), Cillian Kehoe for Dempsey (64), M O'Regan for Byrne (66).
Longford: D Sheridan; D Brady, B Gilleran, F Battrim; CP Smyth, E Williams, S Mulligan; J Keegan, M Quinn; S Doyle, F McGee, N Mulligan; P Barden, B Kavanagh, S McCormack. Subs: P Foy for N Mulligan (33), K Diffley for Keegan (47), B O'Farrell for Brady (48), M Hughes for Doyle (52).
Referee: D Gough (Meath).
Sunday Indo Sport