Conway gets a late winner
Gusserane pip neighbours
The local derby to determine third and fourth place in Group B of the Tom Doyle Supplies Senior football championship produced the most dramatic of finishes in Innovate Wexford Park on Saturday.
Gusserane 1-11 Fethard 1-10
Wind-aided Fethard had never led and were chasing an equaliser as the game moved into added time. Misses from Garrett Foley and Mikie Dwyer put them into double figures on the wides front before they went one better than earning parity by taking the lead in the 63rd minute.
Kevin Rowe found centre-back Joe Sutton who passed to Graham O'Grady, with the ground opening up in front of the number 6 after he collected the return. It was too good an opportunity to miss, and Sutton slotted the ball under Senior debutant Micheál Ryan who was manning the posts for Gusserane as Shane Cullen had been restored to outfield duties.
With both teams already through, in one sense the outcome was immaterial. However, nobody likes losing to their neighbours as the bragging rights are deployed with relish, while it would have been a blow to Gusserane to taste defeat after improving beyond measure from their last outing at the same venue when St. Martin's beat them at their ease.
There was still time to salvage something, and they turned the tables on Fethard with the second-half stopwatch reading 33 minutes 24 seconds. Adrian Flynn delivered a cross from the right wing and his brother, Matty, kept it in at the far post before Páraic Conway palmed the ball past Paul Foley.
Referee Billy Dodd blew for full-time on the kick-out, and the upshot of it all is that Gusserane will face St. Anne's in a repeat of the 2014 decider in the quarter-final.
Fethard will face familiar foes at the same stage in Castletown. It will be their fourth meeting in the last eight since 2010, with the Gorey District side romping to victory six years ago. Fethard turned the tables by a goal in 2013, while Castletown prevailed by a point last year.
Gusserane made good use of early wind advantage, moving 0-4 to nil clear by the ninth minute with half-backs Adrian Flynn (two) and Mark O'Neill on target along with Shane Cullen. The latter was deployed on the edge of the square but moved back to sweep when his team faced the elements after the break.
Another defender, Joe Sutton, opened the account for a Fethard side minus John Tubritt, Daniel Mullan, Daire Barden, Bryan Power and Rúairí Tubrid in the twelfth minute, and they settled down very well thereafter.
Indeed, Gusserane - without Seán Ryan - had cause for concern by the interval when they only led by 0-7 to 0-6. Shane Cullen (free), Páraic Conway and Adrian Flynn had added to their tally, but Kevin Rowe (free), Mikie Dwyer, Garrett Foley, Martin Power and Dwyer again responded.
Gusserane, who also finished with ten wides, introduced veteran Philip Wallace at full-forward for the second period and also brought on Adrian Redmond who contributed two vital points.
His first restored the lead after overlapping defender Seán Donohoe had brought Fethard level for the first time in the 32nd minute.
And Redmond's opening score marked the start of a strong period for the eventual winners as Mark Rossiter converted a free before hitting a sweet effort from play to push them 10-7 clear despite playing into the wind.
They didn't score for another 15 minutes though, but Fethard's response rate wasn't as rapid as they would have liked. Still, they eventually drew level on 0-10 each in the 57th minute after three points from talented teenager Mikie Dwyer, the first and last from play.
Adrian Redmond then stalled their momentum by restoring Gusserane's lead after Philip Wallace initially found Adrian Flynn completely unmarked on a breakaway.
Joe Sutton's goal looked to have swung the game decisively in Fethard's favour, but there was another major twist before the finish.
Gusserane: Micheál Ryan; Cathal Somers, Liam Dillon, Jack O'Connor; Jack Burford, Adrian Flynn (0-3), Mark O'Neill (0-1); John Roche, Cillian Kehoe; Kenneth Cahill, Graeme Cullen (capt.), Páraic Conway (1-1); Jamie Cooney, Shane Cullen (0-2, 1 free), Mark Rossiter (0-2, 1 free). Subs. - Philip Wallace for Kehoe (HT), Adrian Redmond (0-2) for Burford (HT), Matty Flynn for Cooney (49).
Fethard: Paul Foley; Martin Power (capt., 0-1), Seán Donohoe (0-1), Martin Doyle; Christopher Molloy, Joe Sutton (1-1), Mikey Banville; Michael Roche, Graham O'Grady; Richard Waters, Garrett Foley (0-1), Mark Wallace; Adam Swan, Kevin Rowe (0-1 free), Mikie Dwyer (0-5, 2 frees). Sub. - Ricky Rowe for Roche, inj. (53).
Referee: Billy Dodd (Sarsfields).