Tipp U21s toppled
Wexford produced another strong performance to see off Tipperary in the final group game of the Peter McNulty Under-21 football league in Piltown, Co. Kilkenny, on Saturday.
The victory ensured David Power's side safe passage into the last four of the tournament proper, after back-to-back wins over his native county, as well as Down, having initially lost their opening clash to Laois.
Both sides were a few short of their full pool of players but Wexford coped best, showing ample depth in the squad with a nine-point victory in heavy conditions.
It was a break-out day for the Wexford full-forward line who were almost unstoppable in possession. Rarely can an inside forward not register and still be the best player on the field, but Seán Ryan achieved that feat with a high-class showing.
Fouling was the only answer that Tipperary could find to the questions that the Gusserane man posed, and Donal Shanley made them pay for almost all of those indiscretions.
While Shanley's inclusion was an anticipated boost, the performance of Eoin Roche was a bonus with the Sarsfields attacker finding the net in the first-half, as well as linking up well with his fellow attackers.
At the other end of the field, Jim Rossiter continued his impressive start to the season with an imposing performance, while Johnny Connors and Robbie Vallejo assisted again from the corners.
The full-back line probably enjoyed the throwback approach to attacking employed by the Munster side.
Tipperary peppered Stephen Quirke with long, diagonal balls and while he won some, he lost more to the Wexford defence.
Two fouls on Ryan, converted by Shanley, had Wexford 0-2 to 0-1 ahead when Niall Hughes fed Ryan again, and he cut through the defence before unselfishly off-loading to Roche who hit the net from close range.
Tipperary picked off the odd score and were just a goal down after the opening quarter (1-3 to 0-3), but Bryan Power, Roche and Ian Carty all pointed as the half wore on to give Wexford a 1-7 to 0-4 lead at half-time.
Tom Byrne came off the bench to start the second-half with a bang, nailing a superb point, and Shanley soon added his fifth. The Premier county responded through Quirke but further points by Shanley and a maurading Johnny Connors made it 1-11 to 0-5 with 41 minutes gone.
Wexford were forced to survive a few hairy moments as the third quarter ended and the final 15 began. Ben Turner produced two great saves and Quirke punched wide as Tipperary pushed for a way back into the game.
They did pick up two points in that spell but a pair of Shanley dead balls settled Wexford. A raft of changes broke up the final ten minutes and Shanley added his final point to secure second spot in the table and a semi-final opposite Kildare.
Wexford: Ben Turner; Johnny Connors (0-1), Jim Rossiter, Robbie Vallejo; James Stafford, Naomhan Rossiter (capt.), Shane Doyle; Niall Hughes, Glen Malone; Bryan Power (0-1), Ian Carty (0-1), Tim Bowler; Seán Ryan, Eoin Roche (1-1), Donal Shanley (0-9, 7 frees). Subs. - Tom Byrne (0-1) for Bowler (31), Matthew Joyce for Carty (42), Nicky Greene for Turner (50), Dillon Redmond for Stafford (54), Jody Donohoe for Roche (54), Aaron Kehoe for Ryan (54), Pierce Doyle for Power (55), Adrian Redmond for Connors (57).
Tipperary: Charlie Manton; Tadhg Fitzgerald, Ross Mulcahy, Ted Lowry; Rian O'Callaghan, Ciarán Lowry, Shane O'Connell (0-1); Luke Boland, Gerry Cronin (0-2 '45s); Aidan Buckley, Paul Maher (0-1), Niall McKenna; Joe Ryan (0-2, 1 free), Stephen Quirke (0-2, 1 free), Brendan Martin. Subs. - Morgan Irwin for T. Lowry (19), David Hayes for Martin (31).
Referee: Brian Tyrell (Tipperary).