Friday 24 November 2017

The game at a glance

Man of the match: Rory Hanniffy (Offaly), A portrait of calm authority throughout. Masterful reading of the play and intelligence of offload characterised a near flawless performance from the Birr man.

Turning point

Derek Morkan's last-minute stop and clearance of Jack Guiney's 20-metre free. A goal then would have put Wexford a point to the good entering injury-time with all the momentum theirs.

Talking point

What took Wexford so long to find their dander? With 18 minutes remaining, they were nine points down and in danger of a hiding. Yet, they out-scored Offaly 1-4 to 0-0 in the remainder.

Magic moment

Conditions didn't exactly facilitate the finer points of hurling, but 'Gizzy' Lyng's sublime seventh-minute sideline 'cut' was a perfect exhibit of one of the most glorious arts in any sport.

Ref watch

Not a great day at the office for John Sexton who made a number of utterly baffling decisions. One late free against Brendan Murphy smacked of fining a man who'd just been mugged. Also guilty of indecision which created confusion in the lead-up to Offaly's second goal.

What they said

Ollie Baker (Offaly manager, right):

"Look we got out of jail. The last 15 minutes, we kind of fell asleep in certain areas of the field, lost our formation and our shape. They had a man sitting back in the pocket, mopping up a lot of ball. We were lucky to come out of it alive."

Liam Dunne (Wexford manager): "These fellas will learn from that. They have to get smarter and cuter at the right times. But we'll take a lot more positives than negatives out of it. We've another game and we're not out of this by a long shot."

Match statistics

Wides: Offaly 14 (4 first half); Wexford 12 (8).

Frees: Offaly 11 (9); Wexford 9 (3).

Yellow cards: Offaly 3 (Brady 37, Rigney 50, Franks 66); Wexford 2 (Deveraux 34, Kehoe 51).

Attendance: 7,315.

What next?

Offaly play Galway in the Leinster semi-final on June 17 in Portlaoise; Wexford face Westmeath in the All-Ireland qualifiers on June 23.

Irish Independent

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