Wexford 2-10 Carlow 1-6 Report: Ronan Fagan, Photos: Noel Reddy..
First-half goals from Castletown duo Ben Brosnan and Jonathan Bealin propelled the Wexford footballers to a long-awaited competitive victory in Saturday afternoon’s second-round Allianz National League Division 4 derby showdown with Carlow at wind-swept Chadwicks Wexford Park.
Those second-quarter goals powered wind-assisted Wexford to a 2-6 to 0-2 interval advantage, and even after Carlow resumed with an unanswered burst of 1-1 within three minutes of the second-half, the locals demonstrated tremendous composure to deservedly extract their first victory under Paul Galvin’s charge.
In fact, it is Wexford’s first competitive victory since the second-last round of the 2019 league at home to Limerick, on March 16th last.
Carlow weren’t without their chances during the first-half despite facing the stiff wind.
But they met with stubborn resistance before wind-assisted Wexford added to points from James Stafford and Mark Rossiter with a 19th-minute Ben Brosnan goal after Stafford got on the end of a quick kick-out from debut ‘keeper Ivan Meegan to feed Brosnan to power an angled low finish to the town-end net (1-2 to 0-1).
Carlow were without suspended dead-ball specialist Paul Broderick through suspension, and they struggled from placed-balls in his absence.
Wexford continued to stretch clear meanwhile with points from Ben Brosnan (free and play) and Glen Malone before applying another telling blow when Jonathan Bealin palmed to the net on 32 minutes after a crisp move involving Tom Byrne, Eoghan Nolan, Niall Hughes, Conor Carty and Brosnan (2-5 to 0-1).
A delightful last-gasp point from the extreme right wing by Mark Rossiter had Wexford bouncing into the break 2-6 to 0-2 clear.
Their mettle was well and truly tested when Carlow resumed with a pointed free within 50 seconds, and a goaled penalty from John Murphy in the third-minute to suddenly shave the gap down to 2-6 to 1-3.
But the cool, calm, purposeful response from Wexford was stunning and a pure reflection of the ability of a unit sprinkled with plenty of young but mature figures.
Wexford mightn’t have scored in the second-half until its 27th-minute – goalie Meegan putting over a free – but their application in the meantime was top notch as they restricted hard-pressing Carlow to maintain a tidy gap (2-7 to 1-5).
Ben Brosnan (2) and Mark Rossiter points sealed this positive recovery from the narrow opening weekend loss away to Antrim to leave Wexford heading to Waterford next Saturday with their challenge firmly back on track.
Wexford – Ivan Meegan (0-1 free); Martin O’Connor, Gavin Sheehan, Conor Carty; Ronan Devereux, Brian Malone (capt.), Glen Malone (0-1); Eoghan Nolan, Niall Hughes; Tom Byrne, Jonathan Bealin (1-0), Mark Rossiter (0-3); Sean Nolan, Ben Brosnan (1-4, 0-1 free), James Stafford (0-1).
Subs: Michael Molloy for S. Nolan (49); Conor Devitt for Byrne (55); Jim Rossiter for M Rossiter (70); Rioghan Crosbie for Stafford (70+5); Shane Doyle for Carty (70+6).
Carlow – Robert Sansom; Mikey Bambrick, Shane Redmond, Niall Roche; Jordan Morrissey, Ray Walker, Conor Doyle; Sean Murphy, Eoghan Ruth; John Murphy (1-0 penalty), Brendan Murphy, Darragh O’Brien; Sean Gannon, Darragh Foley (0-2 frees), Diarmuid Walshe (0-4 frees).
Subs: Josh Moore for Bambrick (47); Liam Roberts for Doyle (47); Simon Doyle for J Murphy (56); Conor Crowley for Ruth (63); Ross Dunphy for O’Brien (70).
Referee – Seamus Mulhare (Laois).