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Rory O’Connor inspires Wexford’s win over Offaly to book NHL Division 1 semi-final spot

Wexford 1-22 Offaly 2-12


Wexford's Rory O'Connor

Wexford's Rory O'Connor

Wexford's Rory O'Connor

Wexford stumbled rather than marched towards the semi-finals of the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 with this seven-point win over Offaly in Chadwicks Wexford Park.

Rory O’Connor was the winners’ hero, scoring a superb 1-11 as a brave Offaly effort came up short in the second half.

However it was anything but a fluent effort from the Yellowbellies, who were just aboutthe better team in a scrappy match.

The key score was O’Connor’s goal just before the break.

He skinned his marker out on the left wing, cut inside and drilled a great shot to the net.

So, after a half of graft and hard work to get some sort of lead to take into the second half, Offaly headed for the break a point adrift and with their prospects looking decidedly dim.

Any illusions Wexford might have had about coasting to victory from there, on the back of the breeze, were put aside when the excellent Luke O’Connor crashed home a penalty for Offaly in the 42nd minute.

But again it was O’Connor that Wexford turned to, and he obliged with a couple of points from frees and a brilliant one from play from right out on the sideline.

Wexford boss Darragh Egan then reached for the quality on his subs bench and they made the difference as Wexford turned the screw near the end.

They secured 12 of the last 15 scores in the match to ease away on the scoreboard as Offaly’s effort petered out with a few bad second half wides into the breeze

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Scorers - Wexford: R O’Connor 1-11 9fs K Foley, 0-2, C Flood 0-2 C McDonald 0-2, C Dunbar 0-1, C Devitt 0-1, D O’Keeffe 0-1. Offaly: L O’Connor 2-6 1 pen 4fs, J Keenaghan 0-2, A Cleary 0-2, S Corcoran 0-1f, P Clancy 0-1.

Wexford: J Lawlor; S Reck, M O’Hanlon, C Devitt; G Bailey, D Reck, J O’Connor; K Foley, D O’Keeffe; C McGuckin, O Foley, C Hearne; R O’Connor, C McDonald, R Higgins. Subs: L McGovern for McGuckin and C Dunbar for Higgins 43 mins, C Flood for Bailey 45 mins, P Foley for McDonald 62mins, C Byrne for Hearne 65 mins.

Offaly: S Corcoran; J. Screeney, B Conneely, P Delaney; C Burke, D King, K Sampson; J Keenaghan, A Cleary; B Duignan, J Sampson, E Parlon; L Langton, P Clancy, L O’Connor. Subs: E Kelly for Delaney ht, J Murphy for Duignan 48 mins, D Nally for Langton 62 mins, P Cantwell for Clancy 65 mins, M Watkins for Parlon 69 mins.

Referee: N Wall (Cork).

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