Wexford edge Limerick to advance to second round of qualifiers
Wexford 0-12 Limerick 0-11
Wexford manager Seamus McEnaney praised his side’s refusal to give up as PJ Banville fired them into round two of the qualifiers and past a wasteful Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds.
Banville kicked three excellent points after the break to give his side a slender advantage approaching the final whistle, but Limerick were unable to claim a multitude of chances that came their way.
Captain Iain Corbett blazed a first-half penalty over the bar, and a total of 12 wides and unclaimed goal chances to Josh Ryan and Danny Neville mean Limerick crash out of the championship following two one-point losses.
But for Wexford, this was a win that was badly needed after their Leinster championship loss to Carlow. Promotion to Division 3 had already been secured, but Wexford faced the prospect of losing a fifth game on the bounce in Limerick. McEnaney was thrilled for his gutsy side.
“Certainly the win is all that really matters. We want to be in the drum on Monday morning and we talked about how we may get into it, and we planned how we would get into it,” said McEnaney.
“It was a big ask to come here. We were disappointed after the Carlow match but the lads showed great character. This group of lads is as good a group of lads as I have ever had in the four walls of the dressing room. Their attitude is brilliant.
“We gave them a week off after the Carlow match and every single player was back in training the following Tuesday night. Great credit to them. And the reason they won today’s game is because they refused to go away.”
Playing with the wind at their backs in the first-half, it was Limerick that kicked the first point of the game when Seamus O’Carrol brought 11 scoreless minutes to an end, but with Banville and Ciaran Lyng accurate from frees, Limerick worked their way into a two-point lead by the 28th minute when Donal O’Sullivan did remarkably well to turn Adrian Flynn’s shot over the bar.
Eoghan Nolan’s foul on the excellent Darragh Treacy drew the penalty for Limerick two minutes from the interval, and while power wasn’t an issue for Corbett, his shot cleared the crossbar by a couple of feet and hopes of a half-time disappeared.
The sides were level at 0-7 each at the interval, but Limerick will feel they should have made more of their opening 35 minutes. Eight second-half wides would eventually haunt Limerick, but at the opposite end Wexford were efficient.
Banville drove over two long range efforts to open a lead, before Limerick hauled them back level on three occasion. But Banville’s free a minute from time proved to be the winner.
Lee called on the experience of Ian Ryan and Seanie Buckley in an effort to force the winner, but they were unable to force the leveller.
Scorers – Wexford: C Lyng 0-4 (0-2f), PJ Banville 0-4 (0-1f), M Furlong 0-2, A Flynn 0-1, J Tubritt 0-1.
Limerick: S O’Carroll 0-2 (0-1 ’45), I Corbett 0-2 (0-1 pen), S O’Dea 0-1, G Collins 0-1f, J Ryan 0-1, D Neville 0-1, S McSweeney 0-1f, J Lee 0-1, D Treacy 0-1.
Wexford: S Roche; M Furlong, B Malone, J Rossiter; E Nolan, J Wadding, T Rossiter; D Waters, N Rossiter; B Brosnan, K O’Grady, A Flynn; C Carty, C Lyng, PJ Banville.
Subs: J Tubritt for O’Grady (47), P Curtis for Brosnan (54), J Firman for Flynn (63).
Limerick: D O’Sullivan; S O’Dea, J McCarthy, G Noonan; P White, I Corbett, B Fanning; D Treacy, D Ward; P Nash, J Naughton, G Collins; S O’Carroll, J Ryan, D Neville.
Subs: S McSweeney for Ward (28), J Lee for McSweeney (51), P Scanlan for Collins (56), S Buckley for O’Carroll (65), I Ryan for Naughton (67).
Referee: Pádraig O’Sullivan (Kerry).