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Waterford stun Model to end long wait for summer success

Waterford 3-14 Wexford 1-18

John Tubritt of Wexford in action during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 1 match between Wexford and Waterford at Innovate Wexford Park in Wexford. Photo: Sportsfile
John Tubritt of Wexford in action during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 1 match between Wexford and Waterford at Innovate Wexford Park in Wexford. Photo: Sportsfile

independent.ie Sportsdesk

Waterford won their first championship game since 2011 as they shocked Wexford in a dramatic encounter yesterday.

The Déise surged seven points ahead towards the end of normal time, and held off a stoppage-time fightback to record only the second qualifier victory in their history.

Eoghan Nolan of Wexford in action against Brian Looby of Waterford during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 1 match between Wexford and Waterford at Innovate Wexford Park in Wexford. Photo: Sportsfile
Eoghan Nolan of Wexford in action against Brian Looby of Waterford during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 1 match between Wexford and Waterford at Innovate Wexford Park in Wexford. Photo: Sportsfile

Wexford, who were coming into the game off the back of an extra-time defeat to Laois, were seeking to end a dismal record of only one victory from six league games and one championship, while Waterford were demolished by Tipperary in the opening round of the Munster championship, so both sides were bidding to resurrect their season.

Wexford showed one change from their official side, handing an inter-county debut to Cork native David Shannon - a Gorey-based Garda - who took the place of the injured Paul Curtis in attack.

Both sides started casually, playing most of their football in midfield before Jason Curry pointed a free for the visitors on six minutes. Donal Shanley and Conor Murray then exchanged points, before Wexford pulled 0-5 to 0-2 ahead with unanswered points from John Tubritt, Shanley (free) and Eoghan Nolan.

But Waterford began to burst out of defence with lightning counter-attacks and centre-back Shane Ryan got on the end of a sweeping move to beat goalkeeper Conor Swaine in a one-on-one with a low shot to the corner. Two minutes later Ryan should have had a second goal but pulled his shot wide.

JJ Hutchinson of Waterford in action against Michael Furlong of Wexford during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 1 match between Wexford and Waterford at Innovate Wexford Park in Wexford. Photo: Sportsfile
JJ Hutchinson of Waterford in action against Michael Furlong of Wexford during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 1 match between Wexford and Waterford at Innovate Wexford Park in Wexford. Photo: Sportsfile

Wexford responded with a Brian Malone point, but 10 minutes before the break a great run from wing-back Brian Looby set up JJ Hutchinson, who sent a rising shot to the roof of the net, giving his side a 2-6 to 0-7 lead.

Curry added a free, but Wexford finished the half strongly, kicking three points through Ben Brosnan (two) and a Shanley free. Still, Waterford led 2-7 to 0-10 at the interval.

Wexford needed an early response but Brosnan saw a goal chance blocked and cleared. Spurred on by this let-off, Waterford returned to the attack and Kieran Power increased the lead following a brilliant run out of defence by Conor Murray.

Tommy Prendergast took control in midfield and his splendid run from midfield set up sub Joe Allen who blazed a tremendous shot low past Swaine leaving the Déise with a 3-8 to 0-11 lead after 45 minutes.

Tubritt and Shanley points kept Wexford in contention, but Murray, Hutchinson and Curry hit back with points to extend their side's advantage to 3-13 to 0-15 with eight minutes to go.

However, Wexford staged a dramatic late recovery in the six minutes of additional time, bringing an Eoghan Porter goal, after an earlier Shanley effort had been disallowed for a square ­infringement, but the response came too late as the Déise county held out.

Scorers - Waterford: J Curry 0-5f; JJ Hutchinson 1-1; C Murray 0-4; S Ryan, J Allen 1-0 each; K Power 0-2; S Ryan, T Prendergast 0-1 each. Wexford: D Shanley 0-9 (8f); J Tubritt 0-5; E Porter 1-0; B Brosnan 0-2; B Malone, E Nolan 0-1 each.

Waterford: S Enright; J Mullaney, S Prendergast, J McGrath; B Looby, S Ryan, A Trihy; T Prendergast, M Curry; G Crotty, K Power, D Guiry; J Curry, JJ Hutchinson, C Murray. Subs: J Allen for Crotty (BC, 40); T O'Gorman for Power (51); C McCarthy for Murray (73); M Cummins for S Prendergast (BC, 74).

Wexford: C Swaine, M Furlong, E Porter, C Carty; S Doyle, N Rossiter, T Rossiter; G Malone, B Malone; E Nolan, B Brosnan, J Stafford; D Shannon, D Shanley, J Tubritt. Subs: M O'Connor for D Shannon (h-t); R Frayne for Doyle (h-t); N Doyle for Nolan(42); B O'Connor for T Rossiter (48); C McCabe for Brosnan (56); D Holmes for Stafford (62).

Referee: C Reilly (Meath).

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