Bonnar delight as Lyng seals Model comeback
A share of the spoils was probably a fair result in yesterday's top-of-the-table clash at Cusack Park in Ennis.
Clare did most of the hurling in the opening half and led by 10 points at one stage before the visitors put in a storming second-half performance to earn the draw.
Man of the match, Diarmuid Lyng, earned Wexford the valuable league point when, with the last action of the game, he landed a huge free from inside his own half, close to the left sideline.
Afterwards, Wexford team manager Colm Bonnar expressed his satisfaction with his team's performance.
"I'm happy enough that we got a draw out of it," Bonnar commented. "We worked hard but we gave Clare a 10-point lead in the first half. But we regrouped and, in fairness, worked very hard to get that draw.
"I suppose it was a fair result in the end because Clare left a few scores behind them on the day."
Clare did spurn two golden opportunities for goals in either half and if the first chance was taken by the in-form Darach Honan to raise a green flag instead of a white one on 29 minutes, he would have put his side 12 points ahead.
As it turned out, a point was the outcome leaving the Banner 1-13 to 0-6 ahead, but a storming first-half finish by the Leinster side saw them rack up 1-4 in a five-minute period to leave them 1-14 to 1-10 adrift at the break.
The second Clare goal chance occurred in the 62nd minute when, after a good delivery by Colin Ryan, wing-forward Sean Collins saw his shot sail over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
After half-time, Wexford upped the ante again and with Colm Farrell and Harry Kehoe dominant at midfield, they began to gnaw away at the lead. A goal by Lyng in the 56th minute levelled matters and when the same player pointed five minutes later, the Slaneysiders were ahead for the first time since the third minute.
In an exciting finish, Clare regained the advantage through points by Collins, Honan and Ryan, while Lyng shot two more before the end, the last-gasp free just before the whistle being the all-important score.
Like Bonner, Clare team manager Ger O'Loughlin was relatively pleased with his side's performance. He started with seven of the Clare U-21 team who achieved All-Ireland success last September, but there was probably a certain amount of inexperience on the field that allowed them to lose such a convincing lead.
"We were on the back-foot, big time in the second half," conceded the former All-Star.
"But you'd take the draw in the end, it was a fair result and we'd be hoping that we'd learn from this game. I'd say both teams learned from it."
Scorers -- Clare: D Honan 1-6; C Ryan 0-9 (7f); J Conlon 0-2; B O'Connell, N O'Connell (0-1f), J Clancy, P Vaughan, S Collins 0-1 each. Wexford: D Lyng 1-9 (5f, 1 '65); R Jacob 1-3; H Kehoe 0-3; T Waters, S Banville, A Shore, C Farrell 0-1 each.
Clare -- P Brennan; P Vaughan, C Dillon, D O'Donovan; N O'Connell,J McInerney, P Donnellan; M Murphy, B O'Connell; S Collins, J Clancy, D McMahon; D Honan, J Conlon, C Ryan.
Subs: B Bugler for N O'Connell (49), F Lynch for B O'Connell (53), D Barrett for Murphy (64).
Wexford -- N Carton; E Doyle, P Roche, K Rossiter; M Travers, C Kenny, R Kehoe; C Farrell, H Kehoe; D Lyng, T Waters, A Shore; R Jacob, S Banville, J Berry. Subs: T Mahon for Waters (54), P Nolan for R Kehoe (66), P Atkinson for Berry (68).
Ref -- D O'Driscoll ( Limerick).