Late Wexford comeback leaves nervy finish as Sligo cling on
Sligo 1-16 Wexford 1-13
Sligo got their first win in the Allianz League Division 3 on Sunday in what was a nervy finish as Wexford staged a late comeback in Markievicz Park.
Cathal Corey’s men clung on though with Stephen Coen influential up front, scoring five points throughout the afternoon. With the Yeats men looking comfortable with a seven point lead with 47 minutes played, Wexford clawed their way right back into it and when Cathal Devereux’s deflected goal hit the back of the Sligo net on 56 minutes, it was going to be a tense final spell for the hosts.
With seven additional minutes of injury time, Wexford hit three points in a row and were only within two points of Sligo as spectators’ nails were being bitten nervously.
The experience of Ross Donovan thwarted two attacking runs by Wexford in the closing stages, much to the delight of the home fans, as victory looked to be Sligo’s. A high tackle from Michael Furlong on Kyle Cawley in the dying moments saw him sent off as Liam Gaughan then converted a free to leave three between them at the finish.
Sligo’s style of attacking play was causing Wexford a lot of trouble in the opening half as points from Adrian Marren, Paddy O’Connor and Stephen Coen saw them ahead by four points to one on 16 minutes.
Sligo had put the defeat with Armagh firmly behind them and had impressive spells throughout.
Sligo’s first score arrived on five minutes with a Marren free while it was 12 minutes before Wexford got off the mark through a Nick Doyle point from play.
Sean Carrabine and Finnian Cawley were working well for Sligo upfront. Aidan Devaney did well in the Sligo goals when Paul Curtis looked through on goal but his effort went out for a 45. Marren with a well-struck free put Sligo into a four point lead on 18 minutes and the hosts went further in front three minutes later.
The hardworking Niall Murphy blasted through the Wexford defence after being passed to by Eoin McHugh with Cummins leading from midfield, and he slammed the ball into the top corner with a brilliant finish, as Sligo led 1-5 to one point. From here they let Wexford get more into the game and they scored four unanswered points in the space of four minutes to leave only a goal between them at the break, half-time score 1-6 to six points.
With only 11 seconds on the clock after the resumption, Cummins raced up the field and pointed.
The next score came from Pat Hughes with a fantastic effort from play as Sligo were working hard driving at the Wexford defence.
Fine scores from Carrabine, O’Conor and a Coen free saw Sligo comfortably ahead by seven with 13 minutes to go. James Stafford and Barry O’Connor responded with a point each for Wexford before Devereux’s shot came off a Sligo defender and sailed into the net on 56 minutes to leave it tense in the closing stages as the scoreline was 1-12 to 1-9.
O’Connor and Doyle traded scores before Sligo pushed on further, adding two scores through Coen and a Marren free to leave five between them on 63 minutes but Wexford weren’t heading back to the Southeast just yet.
With seven minutes of injury time the Sligo support were nervously checking their watches as Wexford hit three points on the bounce, Barry O’Gorman, Ben Brosnan and Stafford all on target. Sligo, who looked the strongest during the encounter, hung on with Wexford’s Michael Furlong getting his marching orders for a nasty challenge on Kyle Cawley right at the finish.
Scorers Sligo: Stephen Coen (0-5 2f); Niall Murphy (1-0), Adrian Marren (0-3, 3f), Patrick O’Connor (0-3); Sean Carrabine (0-2); Darragh Cummins, Pat Hughes, Liam Gaughan (1f) 0-1 each. Wexford: Ben Brosnan 0-4 (1f); James Stafford 0-3; Cathal Devereux 1-0; Paul Curtis, Nick Doyle (0-2 each); Barry O’Connor, Barry O’Gorman (0-1 each).
SLIGO: A Devaney, R Donovan, L Nicholson, E McGuinness, E McHugh, N Ewing, G O’Kelly-Lynch, P O’Connor, D Cummins, F Cawley, N Murphy, S Carrabine, S Coen, P Hughes, A Marren. Subs: L Gaughan for Hughes (54), K Cawley for Coen (63), P Kilcoyne for O’Kelly-Lynch (67), J Clarke for McHugh (BC, 69), J O’Reilly for Marren (70+7).
WEXFORD: P Doyle, M Furlong, M O’Neill, J Rossiter, G Malone, J Stafford, C Carty, D Waters, S Byrne, T Rossiter, B Brosnan, D Shanley, P Curtis, N Doyle, C McCabe. Subs: C Devereux for McCabe (25), D Holmes for O’Neill (h-t), B O’Connor for Byrne (42), D Pepper for Curtis (blood sub, 46), R Frayne for Shanley (53), S Doyle for Rossiter (58), B O’Gorman for Curtis (65).
REFEREE: S Laverty (Antrim).