Roche leads Wexford recovery
TWO early goals against a stiff breeze proved crucial as Wexford bounced back from a heavy defeat to Derry to sink Louth.
Louth had a defensive wobble when Shane Roche nipped in behind Gerard Hoey in the fifth minute and made no mistake in a one-on-one with Neil Gallagher.
Louth managed early points from Kevin Rogers and Shane Lennon to minimise the damage. But they were all at sea at the other end and Wexford struck again in the 10th minute when Paddy Byrne tapped home after James Holmes' point attempt came back off the crossbar.
Then Lennon conjured a goal almost from nothing, helping a Brian White free to the net with a deft flick of his wrist.
In the closing stages of the half, Louth reeled off four points without reply, to lead by 1-7 to 2-2. Wexford worked hard to reduce the gap to the minimum early in the second period, but Conor Rafferty then finished off a flowing Louth move to score their second goal.
That was to be Louth's last shot at the target for 22 minutes as Wexford took complete control. They barely let their hosts out of their own half and kicked some superb scores, with Roche and sub Conor Carty particularly menacing.
Louth's woes were compounded when Lennon picked up a second yellow card with 10 minutes left on the clock and, although White put a goal between the sides with a late free, a grandstand finish was never on the cards.
Man of the match: S Roche (Wexford)
SCORERS – Wexford: S Roche 1-5 (3f), P Byrne 1-0, PJ Banville, C Carty, R Barry 0-2 each, J Holmes, A Flynn 0-1 each; Louth: S Lennon 1-1, C Rafferty 1-0, B White 0-3f, K Rogers 0-2 (1f), A Reid, P Keenan, B Donnelly 0-1 each.
WEXFORD – A Masterson 7; J Wadding 7, G Molloy 7, M Furlong 6; A Flynn 7, D Murphy, B Malone 6; D Waters 7, R Quinlivan 7; J Holmes 8, B Brosnan 6, P Byrne 7; S Roche 9, R Barry 8, PJ Banville 7. Subs: C Carty 7 for B Brosnan, K O'Grady for J Holmes (66), P Kelly for P Byrne (70+).
LOUTH – N Gallagher 6; G O'Hare 6, D Finnegan 5, G Hoey 6; J O Brien 6, D Crilly 7, A Reid 6; P Keenan 6, B Donnelly 6; A Mc Donnell 6, K Rogers 5, B White 6; P Smith 5, S Lennon 6, D Maguire 5. Subs: C McGuinness 6 for D Finnegan (15), C Byrne 6 for P Smith (22), M Brennan 5 for K Rogers (h-t), C Rafferty 6 for D Maguire (39), D Reid for G O'Hare (65).
REF – C Brangan (Down)