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Kelly finds extra gear to send Wexford through

SUBSTITUTE Paudi Kelly's goal four minutes into the second period of extra-time proved the decisive score as it helped Wexford see off a determined Wicklow challenge at Enniscorthy yesterday.

The two sides were deadlocked at 0-11 apiece at the end of 70 torrid minutes as both teams spurned chances of clinching the game in normal time.

It was a dramatic game between the two neighbours, played at pace, and it provided quality football with its share of goalmouth incidents.

Wicklow were quickest out of the traps and they went in leading 0-7 to 0-4 at the interval, with Shane Roche, Kevin O'Grady, James Holmes and Rory Quinlivan on target for the home side.

Wicklow held a one-point advantage for much of the second half, before Wexford eventually got level on 49 minutes through a Shane Roche free.

The sides continued to trade points -- they were deadlocked on eight occasions through the 70 minutes -- before it took extra-time to separate them.

They were still level 0-14 each at half-time in extra-time, but it was Kelly's goal that gave the home side a three-point lead. Wicklow finished strongly with points from Leighton Glynn and Tony Hannon, but they were unable to force a replay.

Both sides finished with 14 players with Wicklow's Nickey Mernagh sent off on two yellow cards, while Wexford's Niall Murphy received a straight red in a separate incident.

SCORERS -- Wexford: S Roche 0-5 (3f), P Kelly 1-0, P Byrne, J Holmes, R Barry 0-2 each, K O'Grady, R Quinlivan, B Malone, B Brosnan (1f) 0-1 each. Wicklow: F Clune (2f), S Furlong (1f) 0-4 each, A O'Malley 0-3, L Glynn 0-2 (1f), J Stafford, N Mernagh, J Kelly, T Hannon (1f) 0-1 each.

WEXFORD -- A Masterson; N Murphy, G Molloy, B Mulligan; A Flynn, B Malone, A Doyle; D Waters, R Quinlivan; B Brosnan, E Bradley, J Holmes; K O'Grady, S Roche, P Byrne. Subs: L Chin for Doyle; R Barry for O'Grady; P Kelly for Bradley; D Murphy for Flynn; A Shore for Quinlivan; C Lyng for Roche.

WICKLOW -- J Flynn; C Hyland, N Gaffney, C Rossiter; B Murphy, R Finn, A Byrne; J Stafford, A Merriman; J Kelly, A O'Malley, N Mernagh; S Furlong, P Burke, F Clune. Subs: D Healy for Merriman; T Hannon for Clune; S Mann for Rossiter; L Glynn for Kelly; P Dalton for Hyland; P Cronin for Furlong; T Kelly for O'Malley.

REF -- J Hickey (Carlow).

Irish Independent