Carlow produce early championship shock with upset of Banty's Wexford
Carlow 2-17 Wexford 2-13
CARLOW caused a mini-sensation in front of the Netwatch Cullen Park faithful by dumping Seamus McEnaney's Wexford out of the Leinster SFC today.
The reward for Turlough O'Brien's side is a quarter-final date with All-Ireland champions Dublin in Portlaoise on Saturday week, June 3.
This was Carlow's first victory in the provincial championship since beating Louth in 2011. However, while no one could quibble with the outcome, it remained in the balance until Brendan Murphy roofed to the Wexford net, two minutes into stoppage time.
It completed a gargantuan performance from the Carlow talisman, who shot 1-2 from play in the second half while lording the midfield skies and sometimes doubling as a de facto 'sweeper'.
But every bit as influential was corner-forward Paul Broderick, whose ten-point haul included five from play and one outrageous deadball effort from the touchline, 50 metres from goal.
Broderick's afternoon was tarnished by a second-yellow dismissal on 63 minutes. That left both sides with 14 men, Wexford's Eoghan Nolan having walked for his second booking after 46 minutes.
A first half replete with crunching tackles and some heedless fouls, while generally low on quality, finished in 0-8 apiece stalemate and still everything to play for.
The visitors were first out of the blocks with three unanswered points inside eight minutes – a brace of Ciarán Lyng frees and a point from play by wandering corner-back Michael Furlong.
Yet, as the half progressed, Carlow grew into the contest. They sought to frustrate Wexford via a blanket defence before hitting them on the counter. The tactic worked, to an extent, with Paul Broderick underlining his finishing acumen with three wonderful left-footed points from play before the break, along with a couple of frees.
Brendan Murphy also emerged as the dominant midfield force in that first half, Wexford's plight not helped by a 18th minute black card for Daithí Waters.
Wexford still had their noses in front for most of the half; Carlow twice edged ahead in the closing minutes only for Wexford to peg them back.
Yet, in truth, Turlough O'Brien's men would not have been flattered by the lead. Eoghan Ruth dallied over an early chance that was eventually saved by Conor Swaine while the Wexford 'keeper was left helpless when Seán Murphy's surging run culminated in a rasping shot off the underside of the crossbar.
The second half proved after more entertaining that the first, the more enterprising agenda set by Carlow's first goal in the 39th minute, wing-back Danny Moran rounding off a defence-splitting move.
However, with Carlow four clear, Wexford were handed a lifeline when PJ Banville goaled at the second attempt after 47 minutes. Carlow replied with a quickfire brace, only for Naomhan Rositer to capitalise on poor defending under a high ball for Wexford's second goal, just three minutes later.
The stage was set but, just when you expected Wexford to push on, their gung-ho hosts finished the stronger.
SCORERS - Carlow: P Broderick 0-10 (5f), B Murphy 1-2, D Moran 1-0, D Foley 0-2, A Kelly, S Gannon, G Kelly 0-1 each. Wexford: B Brosnan, C Lyng 0-5f each, PJ Banville 1-1, N Rossiter 1-0, M Furlong, A Flynn 0-1 each.
CARLOW: C Kearney; C Crowley, S Redmond, C Lawlor; D Moran, D St Ledger, G Kelly; B Murphy, S Murphy; E Ruth, D Foley, A Kelly; P Broderick, C Moran, J Murphy. Subs: S Gannon for Moran (inj 24), BJ Molloy for Crowley (35+4), M Rennick for Moran (53), J Clarke for Ruth (53), K Nolan for J Murphy (63), S Clarke for G Kelly (65).
WEXFORD: C Swaine; J Rossiter, N Rossiter, M Furlong; B Malone, J Wadding, K O'Grady; D Waters, C Kehoe; A Flynn, C Lyng, E Nolan; B Brosnan, J Tubritt, PJ Banville. Subs: N Hughes for Waters (BC 19), J Leacy for Kehoe (inj 27), R Devereux for J Rossiter (52), P Curtis for Tubritt (58), C Carty for Furlong (67), D Shanley for Flynn (68).
REF: F Kelly (Longford)