Lyng helps determined Wexford over the line against Longford

Corner-forward records 1-5 to help Yellow Bellies edge through

WEXFORD 1-15 LONGFORD 1-13

Once more, the game was tight and the verdict in doubt right until the final whistle but as has been the case in most of their recent jousts, Wexford found the wherewithal to get their noses in front against Longford.

This was the teams’ fourth championship battle in three years, and though there have been replays and extra time, Wexford have always prevailed.

It is 15 years now since Longford defeated Wexford in the championship and that too was a replay. Paul Barden made his debut that day and he was among the home outfit’s better performers again, providing three points from play. It wasn’t enough though, as the victors laid the platform for their success in the first half, with the athletic midfield duo of Daithí Waters and Paddy Byrne punching holes in the Longford defence with their runs from deep.

They led by 1-8 to 0-7 at the break and it was a cushion they needed as the expected Longford rally arrived.

“We would feel that there were even a few more opportunities there in the first half that we squandered that might have given us an even more comfortable position” said Wexford manager, Aidan O’Brien.

“But we have played Longford so many times now… we were winning by eight points in the league with only two minutes to go and we ended up winning by two. So we weren’t under any illusions.”

Jack Sheedy was left to rue his side’s nine first-half wides.

Not being able to press home their advantage when momentum was on their side and they went a point up with time running out, was the biggest blow though.

“It’s very disappointing that we couldn’t finish it off” said Sheedy. “But we didn’t take the opportunities that presented themselves.”

The teams were level on two points apiece when the lively Ciarán Lyng found the back of the net in the 12th minute. Lyng got in behind the Longford cover to collect a perfectly-judged kick-pass by Brian Malone and his side-footed finish beat the advancing Damien Sheridan.

Sheridan fluffed his kickout to give Robert Dempsey an easy point but made amends with a fantastic save from the championship debutant, after Kevin O’Grady took out three Longford defenders in the corner.

Seán McCormack and Michael Quinn reduced the deficit to a point but Longford were unable to feed McCormack, Brian Kavanagh and Paul Barden sufficiently.

Points from Dempsey, Adrian Flynn and Malone gave Wexford a deserved 1-8 to 0-7 half-time lead. Longford came from five points behind to take the lead through Enda Williams with seven minutes remaining, their comeback powered by a Francis McGee goal.

But Wexford prevailed, thanks to two Lyng points and a Michael O'Regan score. WEXFORD: S Roche, R Tierney, G Molloy, C Carty, M Furlong, B Malone (0-1), A Flynn (0-1), D Waters (0-1), P Byrne, K O'Grady, PJ Banville (0-1), J Holmes, C Lyng (1-5, 0-2fs), B Brosnan (0-3, 2fs), R Dempsey (0-2). Subs: T Rossiter for Tierney (58 mins), J Tubritt for Holmes (59 mins), Cillian Kehoe for Dempsey (64 mins), M O'Regan (0-1) for Byrne (66 mins). LONGFORD: D Sheridan, D Brady, B Gilleran, F Battrim, CP Smyth, E Williams (0-1), S Mulligan, J Keegan, M Quinn (0-1), S Doyle, F McGee (1-1), N Mulligan, P Barden (0-3), B Kavanagh (0-2), S McCormack (0-5, 4fs). Subs: P Foy for N Mulligan (33 mins), K Diffley for Keegan (47 mins), B O'Farrell for Brady (48 mins), M Hughes for Doyle (52 mins). Referee: D Gough (Meath)

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