McEnaney delight as his prayers are answered
Wexford 0-12 Limerick 0-11
Whether it was his impassioned prayers to the heavens or blind luck that got Wexford over the line, Seamus McEnaney will take victory either way.
Three chances came Limerick's way in added-time to force extra-time, but they missed two tricky short-range frees and a third shot at goal. Wexford somehow held on.
Five weeks earlier McEnaney was in the depths of despair as his team came out the other end of the result in Carlow, but this was a much improved performance from Wexford. But 'Banty' was still helpless as the clock ticked past 70 minutes.
"What can you do when you are a manager? I'll be honest: my mother and father, Lord have mercy on them, have passed away. At different times in the last five minutes I said to them: 'Please mother bring me through this one'; or 'Please Dad bring me through this one here'; 'Just get me through this with a one-point win'.
"They had free-kicks in and they missed. I was pulling my hair out, we gave them opportunities.
"I'm absolutely delighted for the lads, though. We worked extremely hard to get the mental end of the thing right. We got it right and we grinded out a one-point result. That's box number one ticked."
It was thanks to three points from Ciaran Lyng before the break, and the inspirational PJ Banville after it that Wexford had enough on the board to hang on.
Michael Furlong broke out of defence to score two points for Wexford as the teams were level 0-7 each at half-time, but had Limerick's Iain Corbett found the net rather than blazing his 33rd-minute penalty over the bar, the outcome may have been altered.
Substitute Jamie Lee slotted a free with his first touch, but also missed two late chances as Limerick finished strongly, but with Corbett off target too, Billy Lee's side were left distraught.
"We had the chances. There is no shying away from it," said Lee. "The challenge for us is how we are going to turn those one-point defeats into one-point victories.
"We a young enough team. It's difficult in Limerick to try and hold them together, Of the 26 that togged against Clare in 2016, 14 were unavailable this year. Then other fellas felt inter-county wasn't for them.
"We have to sell ourselves: it's worth coming in, it's enjoyable. It's not enjoyable today, but for the most part there is something to get out of playing inter-county football for your county."
Scorers - Wexford: C Lyng (2fs), PJ Banville (1f) 0-4 each, M Furlong 0-2, A Flynn, J Tubritt 0-1 each. Limerick: S O'Carroll (1 '45'), I Corbett (0-1 pen) 0-2 each, S O'Dea, G Collins (f), J Ryan, D Neville, S McSweeney (f), J Lee, D Treacy 0-1 each.
Wexford - S Roche 8; M Furlong 8, B Malone 8, J Rossiter 7; E Nolan 8, J Wadding 7, T Rossiter 7; D Waters 7 (c), N Rossiter 7; B Brosnan 6, K O'Grady 7, A Flynn 7; C Carty 7, C Lyng 8, PJ Banville 9. Subs: J Tubritt 8 for O'Grady (47), P Curtis 6 for Brosnan (54), J Firman 5 for Flynn (63).
Limerick - D O'Sullivan 8; S O'Dea 8, J McCarthy 7, G Noonan 6; P White 6, I Corbett 6 (c), B Fanning 7; D Treacy 9, D Ward 5; P Nash 5, J Naughton 5, G Collins 6; S O'Carroll 6, J Ryan 8, D Neville 7. Subs: S McSweeney 5 for Ward (28), J Lee 6 for McSweeney (51), P Scanlan 6 for Collins (56), S Buckley 5 for O'Carroll (65), I Ryan 5 for Naughton (67).
Ref - P O'Sullivan (Kerry).