ALL-IRELAND SFC ROUND 1B QUALIFIER: WEXFORD 2-16 DOWN 2-11
By Michael Dwyer at Innovate Wexford Park for www.gaa.ie
Wexford secured a dramatic victory in this All-Ireland Senior Football Qualifier 1B tie as they deservingly dismissed Down at Innovate Wexford Park on Saturday evening.
Brothers Tiernan and Naomhán Rossiter notched vital goals within seventy seconds of each other on either side of the 58th minute to see off the side that was promoted to Division I earlier this season.
With the wind at their backs, Wexford opened with tentative confidence but that soon developed into a dynamic attacking brand of football that left the visitors trailing by 0-9 to 1-4 at the interval.
It was end-to-end stuff, particularly around the conclusion of the first quarter. Seconds after Adrian Flynn had a goal chance denied by the goal-post, Mark Poland and Conor Laverty orchestrated a brilliant goal opportunity for Jerome Johnston, which he converted to put Down 1-3 to 0-3 clear.
Wexford closed the half in a stunning fashion as they kicked six points, with the sole interruption coming from a Conor Laverty point.
Graeme Molloy’s recovery from a serious knee injury was announced by his glorious 30th minute white-flag. The hosts rallied on and in spite of a black-card for Adrian Flynn and their replacement of their goalkeeper Shane Roche, they still managed to edge ahead by two points at half-time.
While Wexford fired over a trio of points upon the restart, Down were hot on their tails as the reliable Paul Devlin and Caolán Mooney cut their deficit down to 0-12 to 1-6 on 45 minutes.
The sides kept the tempo at a speedy pace as they exchanged braces of points, which were almost interrupted by Ciarán Lyng who had two goal chances.
Following the introduction of three new men, Jim McCorry secured the desired effect as Niall Madine got on the end of a Conor Laverty pass to reduce the gap to five points with nine minutes remaining (2-15 to 2-10).
Five minutes later and things got worse for Down when Conor Garvey saw red for his challenge on Michael O’Regan. Ciarán Lyng’s pointed free sealed the win as the newly-relegated Division IV side produced a surprise win.
Scorers for Wexford: C Lyng 0-6 (5f), M O’Regan 0-3, N Rossiter 1-0, T Rossiter 1-1, B Brosnan 0-3 (1f), G Molloy 0-1, K Butler 0-1, K O’Grady 0-1.
Scorers for Down: J Johnston 1-1, N Madine 1-0 M Poland 0-2, D O’Hare 0-2 (2f), C Laverty 0-2, C Mooney 0-2, P Devlin 0-2 (2f)
WEXFORD: S Roche; R Tierney, N Rossiter, J Wadding; S Donohoe, G Molloy, A Flynn; S Byrne, B Malone; T Rossiter, B Brosnan, K Butler; C Lyng, M O’Regan, K O’Grady. Subs: Eoghan Nolan for Adrian Flynn (black card, 17); A Masterson for S Roche (31); J Breen for N Rossiter, J Tubritt for K Butler, P Byrne for M O’Regan.
DOWN: S Kane; D O’Hagan, L Howard, D Turley; B McArdle, K McKernan, R Boyle; P Fitzpatrick, C Mooney; P Devlin, M Poland, C Maginn; D O’Hare, C Laverty, J Johnston. Subs: R Johnston for C Maginn (43); P Downey for P Fitzpatrick (47); A McConville for D O’Hare (59); N Madine for K McKernan.
Referee: C Reilly (Meath)