South side withstand storming Carlow comeback
South Wexford withstood a late Carlow fightback to take a fully-deserved win in their second Under-17 Celtic Challenge Group A outing in the Fenagh Centre of Excellence on Wednesday.
South Wexford 3-14 Carlow 1-14
The Slaneysiders had a point to prove after an opening loss to a strong South Kilkenny side, and they did just that with a good team performance in perfect hurling conditions.
It was nip-and-tuck in the opening stages as the hosts played with the breeze. Four Kyle Firman frees and a Chris Cowman point were enough for a 0-5 each tie after 24 minutes. Adam Cantwell added a nice score before the most important passage of play happened before the interval.
Back-peddling towards his own goal, Ricky McGrath, on the stretch, superbly hauled in a dangerous ball into the edge of the square. Wexford broke, and Firman saw a shot saved by home 'keeper Kevin Curran, but Seán Banville was on hand to sweep the rebound over the line.
Leading by 1-6 to 0-7 at the interval, the visitors maintained their advantage early in the second-half. Indeed, things took a turn for the better when, after an almighty goalmouth scramble, Jack O'Leary swept a low, pulled effort to the Carlow net.
There was still six points in the game (2-12 to 0-12) in the 52nd minute but Carlow responded. Jon Nolan drilled home a penalty after a clear foul on Darragh Murphy, before points from Eoin Fenlon and Don Sheehan cut the deficit to one.
South Wexford steadied the ship when Firman worked a chance for a James Kelly point. The mercurial Firman was provider again a minute later when O'Leary hauled in his long ball and battered past Curran to clinch the win for his side.
With a home game against South Tipperary (New Ross, 7.30 p.m.) on Wednesday, followed by an away clash with Waterford City seven days later, South Wexford will be aiming to finish the group strongly and get superior opposition and a higher grade in the knockout stages.
Wexford South: Fionn Slattery; Philip Dempsey, Ricky McGrath (capt.), Darragh Cooper; Gavin Sheehan, Ben Maddock, James Doyle; Eoin O'Neill, Chris Cowman (0-2); Philip Rawson (0-1), Adam Cantwell (0-1), Kyle Firman (0-7, 6 frees); Seán Banville (1-0), Jack O'Leary (2-2), Mark Murphy. Subs. - Criostóir Reville for Murphy (31), Kyle Roche for Banville (36), Mark Power for Maddock (47), James Kelly (0-1) for Rawson (52), Páraic Reville for O'Leary (59), Adam Hearne for Power (60), also Adam Howlin, Shane Leacy, Owen McLoughlin, Alex Gondard, Daire Reville, Callum Quirke.
Carlow: Kevin Curran; Jack Ryan, Jim Nolan, Eanna Holland; Mikey Bambrick, Tony Lawlor, Tommy Dunne; David Nolan (0-1), Don Sheehan (0-3); Jon Nolan (1-8, 0-6 frees, 1-0 pen.), Bernard Scully, Donal Jordan; Darragh O'Toole (capt.), Eoin Fenlon (0-1), Barry Hickey (0-1). Subs. - Mikey Kavanagh for Scully (19), Jamie Kavanagh for O'Toole (24), Darragh Murphy for Fenlon (31), Billy Molloy for Ryan (31), Scully for Hickey (36), O'Toole for Jordan (36), Michael Slattery for Holland (40), Diarmuid Murphy for J. Kavanagh (49), Fenlon for Dunne (54).
Referee: David Hughes (CW).