Hayes' second-half blast puts Faithful in control
Offaly 1-6 Wexford 0-6
Offaly produced a stirring second-half display to book their place in the U-21 Leinster football semi-final after fighting off a stern Wexford challenge last night.
A Jordan Hayes goal three minutes after the restart proved the crucial score after the teams went in 0-2 each at the break.
Offaly just about hung in at the end as Wexford mounted a fightback but with Hayes and Ruairi McNamee pulling the strings in the middle third, Offaly impressed.
Driving wind and rain battered Gracefield before the game and despite it easing before throw-in, conditions made for a sloppy opening half.
There were just four scores in the first half hour as Offaly had the advantage of the breeze that strengthened as the half went on.
Ian Carty pointed for Wexford to open the scoring on four minutes but two points in quick succession for the home side from Shane Tierney and McNamee left them ahead on 15 minutes.
A Tom Byrne free three minutes later levelled matters and it stayed 0-2 apiece until the half-time whistle.
Hayes then hit 1-3 on the spin in the opening 15 minutes of the second half with the three points coming from frees as Offaly led 1-6 to 0-2.
Niall Hughes and Mark Rossiter led a late Wexford onslaught but the home side held on to make the semi-final where will face the winners of Louth and Laois.
Scorers - Offaly: J Hayes 1-3 (3fs), S Tierney 0-2, R McNamee 0-1. Wexford: N Hughes 0-2fs, I Carty, T Byrne, D Pepper M Rossiter (f) 0-1 each.
Offaly - B Rohan; C Horan, D Dempsey, C Doyle; A Mahon, C Stewart, Pj Daly; J Hayes, J Lalor; C Farrell, P Duncan, S Tierney; J Clancy, R McNamee, J Walsh. Subs: R McEvoy for J Clancy (47), L Dignam for P Dunican (59), M Abbott for S Tierney (60).
Wexford - M Doyle; S Barden, R Devereux, A Murphy; D Bolger, N Rossiter, D Barden; N Hughes, P Devereux; J Firman, I Carty, J Stafford; M Dwyer, T Byrne, M Rossiter. Subs: D Redmond for S Barden (11), D Pepper for D Bolger (40), G Malone for D Barden (51), M O'Connor for A Murphy (55), T Cody for J Stafford (60), T Bowler for P Devereux (60).
Ref - B Tiernan (Dublin)