Wexford gain the upper hand in the O'Byrne Cup
WEXFORD had matters very much their own way as they gained a comfortable four point victory over Wicklow in this meaningless O'Byrne Cup senior football game played in Pairc Ui Siochain, Gorey, at the weekend.
Wexford 2-15 Wicklow 2-111
With DIT having already qualified from the group the respective managers were left with preparing a number of new players for the league, but it was Wexford who held control for most of the seventy minutes, with Wicklow somewhat flattered to be within four points of their opponents at the finish.
After the sides had traded two opening points apiece, further points from Dermot Flood, free, and Declan Murphy, gave the homeside a two point lead before Darren Hayden powered home a fine twenty-fourth minute goal for the garden county leaving them leading 1-2 to 0-4.
Midfielder Paddy Byrne brought the sides level, but it was a Paidi Barden thirty-second minute goal that gave the homeside control as they led 1-8 to 1-5 at the interval.
Wicklow did start the second half brightly with a Darren Hayden pointed free, but thereafter it was Wexford who were well in control, with Declan Murphy adding a fine fifty-first minute goal to power his side into a 2-10 to 1-7 lead. As the second half progressed it was Wexford who played with more fluency as they continued to control matters.
Both managers took the opportunity to give players some game time, while Wicklow gave themselves brief hope when Conor Foley took advantage of a mix-up in defence to box the loose ball to the net, leaving it 2-11 to 2-7, with seventeen minutes remaining.
The sides went on to share four points apiece in the closing fifteen minutes but it was some desperate defending from the visitors defence that denied Kevin O'Grady a goal, while in a late flourish it took a fine double save from home keeper Shane Roche to deny sub John McGrath.
Wexford scorers: P Barden, D Murphy 1-2 each; K O'Grady 0-4; B Brosnan 0-3 frees; D Flood 0-2, 0-1 free; P Byrne, C Kehoe 0-1 each.
Wicklow: D Hayden 1-3, 0-2 frees; C Foley 1-2; < Kenny 0-2; J McGrath , M Mangan, T Kelly, P McLoughlin 0-1 each.
Wexford: S Roche; P O'Keeffe, J Wadding, M Furlong; T Rossiter, R Tierney, M Cody; P Byrne, G Carty; K O'Grady, C Kehoe, D Murphy; D Flood, S Grannell, P Barden. Subs: K Day for Cody ht); B Brosnan for Grannell (ht); B Malone for Carty (58); K Rowe for O'Grady (61); S Byrne for Murphy (67).
Wicklow: W Hender-Phillips; M O'Brien, P Higgins, J Snell; M Mangan, R O'Brien, K Murphy; S Kelly, J Stafford; D Hayden, M Kenny, B Kennedy; B McCrea, T Kelly, C Foley. Subs: D Healy for Mangan (ht); M McLoughlin for O'Brien (ht); P McLoughlin for Stafford (43); J McGrath for Kelly (46); D Woods for Kennedy (53); C Murphy for Kenny (64).
Referee: R Malone (Dublin).