Wednesday 22 November 2017

Dream debut for Brosnan as Faithful fluff their lines

Leinster SFC

Cian Murphy

OFFALY suffered a meltdown in front of goal as Ben Brosnan made a dream senior championship debut to steer Wexford to victory in this Leinster SFC first round in Tullamore last night.

The flying peroxide-haired Model County forward scored seven points and was the architect in chief of a convincing win -- but Offaly left rueing their failure to convert four clear-cut goal chances.

This is the forgotten side of the Leinster Championship. With Dublin, Laois, Kildare and Meath pitched together, there is a decidedly easier looking route to a provincial final for the rest of the contenders

In a scrappy game, Wexford began with a strong breeze at their backs and with Eric Bradley and Colm Morris dropping deep to leave Redmond Barry and Ciaran Lyng isolated inside as they moved into an early lead.

Niall McNamee curled over a brilliant early point but was found wanting in the 13th minute when Sean Ryan was fouled by Daithi Waters for a penalty that he blazed high and wide.

Shaken to life by that let-off, Wexford began to dominate and with Quinlivan, Waters and Bradley dominating in the middle they were 0-6 to 0-1 up after 20 minutes.

Two minutes later they were gifted a goal when Offaly's over-complicated interplay at the back resulted in a Richard Dalton handpass on the 20-metre line being intercepted by the in-rushing Ciaran Lyng who drilled to the net.

Offaly were living off scraps and reliant on frees but they were given a foothold in the game when Niall Smith began fielding at midfield and Karol Slattery began attacking up the left wing.

They worked the ball into McNamee's left-hand corner and on both occasions he produced sublime finishes to haul Offaly back into contention.

The impressive Brosnan hit back with a stylish long-range effort right on half-time to leave Wexford 1-9 to 0-6 up at the break, with Offaly frustrated by five first-half wides.

Offaly got a dream start to the second half when McNamee again turned Joey Wadding to score from out on the wing -- only for this to be cancelled out by a great effort from Lyng. Offaly then spurned two golden goal chances when Thomas Deehan's shot was smothered and in the 50th minute Wexford goalkeeper Masterson did well to deny McNamee.

From the restart Wexford broke upfield and cut through the heart of the Offaly defence, with Quinlivan's shot only half blocked and finished to the net by Red Barry.

Offaly's misfortune in front of the net reached near comical status when in the 61st minute substitute Ken Casey burst inside and rounded Masterson, but his shot towards an empty net came back off the post.

It sealed the Faithful's fate as a stronger and slicker Wexford did enough to stay out of trouble and book a date with Westmeath.

Scorers -- Wexford: C Lyng 1-6 (0-4f), B Brosnan 0-7 (3f, 1 '45), R Barry 1-0, R Quinlivan, P Byrne, A Morrissey 0-1 each; Offaly: N McNamee 0-4, B Allen 0-2 (2f), K Casey, N Dunne (f) 0-1 each.

Wexford: A Masterson; J Wadding, A Doyle, G Molloy; A Flynn, D Murphy, J Wadding; R Quinlivan, D Waters; B Brosnan, C Morris, E Bradley; C Lyng, S Roche, R Barry. Subs: P Byrne for S Roche 40, A Morrissey for A Flynn 52, B Doyle for Bradley 52, L McGovern for Barry 61, G Sunderland for Quinlivan 65.

Offaly: A Mulhall; B Darby, S Brady, S Pender; S Lonergan, R Brady, K Slattery; R Dalton, N Smith; C McManus, S Ryan, A Sullivan; B Allen, N Dunne, N McNamee. Subs: T Deehan for A Sullivan (inj) 35, N Darby for N Dunne 48, K Casey for Allen 51, J Reynolds for S Ryan 51, J Quinn for Lonergan 65.

Referee: P O'Sullivan (Kerry)

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