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Tuesday 20 August 2019

Wexford footballers snatch crucial win

Billy Dodd for Alan Ahearn
Billy Dodd for Alan Ahearn

By Billy Dodd

WEXFORD FOOTBALLERS snatched a crucial win in their league encounter with Limerick last Sunday, a result which gives them hope of avoiding the dreaded relegation.

The young Wexford outfit showed great fighting spirit to outscore their opponents in the final few minutes, ending a great day of entertainment in Wexford Park. After such an exciting hurling match it is often very difficult to watch any other sport afterwards, never mind a Gaelic football match. But the closeness of the contest and the honesty of endeavour shown by both sets of players made the game enjoyable to watch.

Wexford made their customary good start and were 1-4 to 0-2 ahead after 20 minutes, thanks to an excellent goal scored by Kevin O'Grady. Things were going well but Limerick gained a grip on midfield thanks mainly to the dominance of the towering Gearóid Hegarty, son of the famous Limerick hurler Ger Hegarty.

In a devastating six-minute spell they scored 2-4 without reply. At this stage Wexford could have capitulated as normally happens to a team low in confidence and lacking in points, but to their credit they kept trying and only went in at half-time three points down.

The second-half was an open game as both teams went for the two league points that had so far eluded them in the campaign. It was enjoyable watching two opponents who didn't have 13 players behind the ball camped in their own halves. Wexford's young brigade certainly showed they are willing to take responsibility with Michael Furlong and Kieran Butler outstanding in defence.

Michael's sending off for an off the ball incident added to an unwanted poor disciplinary statistic currently associated with the team, but it still did not take from his overall contribution. Kieran Butler looked impressive throughout and even had the skill and composure to register his name on the scoreboard. Colm Kehoe is getting better with every game, Kevin O'Grady seems to be a potent on a regular basis now and Tiarnan Rossiter worked really hard for the team.

You still need experienced players in the side and two 'veterans' of the side were exceptional leaders on Sunday. Brian Malone was all over the field, tackling, chasing, helping out in attack and leading by example. In other words he was just being himself.

Ben Brosnan was simply exceptional from placed balls, particularly in the second-half. It is easy to score points when your team is winning, but distance seems longer, the posts are narrower and your legs are more tired when you are losing and you have to score. His last two points to level and then win the game were outstanding and as good as you would see anywhere. They were pressurised kicks from difficult positions, but as the saying goes, pressure is for tyres, especially in Ben's case.

The victory is a relief for all concerned after months of hard work. It wasn't the best display and it wasn't against the best opponents Wexford will play, but it was a crucial victory given the league position and occasion last Sunday with a large home crowd in attendance.

Training will be a happier place this week and there will be a buzz within the squad. The difficult task of staying in the division was highlighted by Sligo's 18-point win over Louth at the weekend. Limerick beat Sligo and Louth beat Wexford, so how do you forecast results?

Wexford have a tough task in Markievicz Park next Sunday, but have a good recent record against Sligo and with the confidence gained from last Sunday they have a great chance of registering their second win.

Just a quick word on last Sunday in relation to ticket prices. We are first to complain about the grab all association when ticket pricing is excessive, but last Sunday was a bargain day for G.A.A. fans. Advance purchases meant admission was only €10 for an afternoon of great entertainment. Where else would you get that, so well done to anyone involved in that initiative.

Wexford People

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