Davy Fitzgerald winning Wexford hearts as Kiely puts referee in his crosshairs

Kerry stage second-half comeback to see off Laois challenge in Division 1B encounter

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald enjoyed an important win over Limerick on Sunday. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Wexford 1-14 Limerick 0-14

Davy Fitzgerald has wasted no time in winning over the hearts of Wexford supporters as his side staged a dramatic second-half comeback to snatch a three-point victory over Limerick at Innovate Wexford Park.

The home side trailed by six points at the interval having played into the elements, but Conor McDonald 61st-minute goal turned the game.

Limerick manager John Kiely pointed an angry finger at referee Diarmuid Kirwan. “The lads were absolutely superb. We won ball, broke ball, broke lines, broke tackles, attacked their 21, but we were hacked down, full stop, that’s the story.


“We got lots of frees outside their 65 but did not get anything inside their 21 or close to goal. Very disappointing, one would expect batter at this level.

“Our full-forward David Dempsey was clear on goal in the closing minutes, was hacked down by their keeper [Mark Fanning], who injured himself in the process. Just a free, no penalty. He should have been second yellow carded, no doubt.’

Fitzgerald was naturally much happier. “I’m delighted with the fighting qualities. We played well in patches, though we can do better than that. Six points down at half-time. I knew about five minutes before we went back out on the pitch, the lads still believed. There was no panic for we played against an unbelievable wind in that first half.

“We will not get carried away. There’s no doubt there is still a lot of work to be done. Yes, we can do better on the hard ball, but that’s part of the learning curve. It’s a long time since we beat a side like Limerick. They are one of the top sides in the country.

“I know there are bigger days ahead, but we’ll enjoy today and start worrying about Galway tomorrow. Still, it’s nice to beat one of the bigger teams.”

Limerick were dominant through the opening five minutes, hitting three quick opening scores. With a strong wind behind them, the visitors stretched their lead to 0-7 to 0-2 gap by the 15th minute as Seamus Hickey, Peter Casey (twice) and Cian Lynch all found the target. Wexford responded through Conor McDonald, who scored all of his side’s first-half points, but they still trailed 0-10 to 0-4 at the interval.

Wexford hit a purple patch between the 48th and 61st minutes as they struck 1-6 without reply, the lead score coming through Lee Chin on 59 minutes after sub Podge Doran brought the sides level.

The crucial breakthrough came nine minutes from the end. A huge Mark Fanning delivery broke in front of goal, with McDonald controlling the ball and crashing a low shot to the net. It was a score that gave Wexford the cushion to go on and achieve a dramatic victory.

WEXFORD: M Fanning; E Moore, L Ryan, J Breen; S Donohoe, M O'Hanlon, D O'Keeffe (0-1); S Murphy, A Maddock; A Nolan, D Redmond, B Carton; C McDonald (1-8, 0-4 frees, 0-1, 65), L Chin (0-2), P Morris. Subs: P Doran (0-2) for Maddock (41), H Kehoe (0-1) for Morris (47), J O'Connor for Carton (7).

LIMERICK: N Quaid; S Cahill, R McCarthy, M Casey; D Byrnes (0-1 free), D Hanon (0-1), S Hickey (0-1); P Browne (0-1), J Ryan; G Hegarty (0-1), C Lynch (0-1),K Hayes; P Casey (0-6, three frees), D Dempsey, G Mulcahy (0-1). Subs: J Fitzgibbon (0-1 free) for Ryan (44), A Dempsey for Hegarty (47), S O'Brien for Lynch (55), T Morrissey for Hayes (63), P Ryan Browne (64).

Referee: D Kirwan (Cork).

Kerry 3-14 Laois 0-19

Kerry staged a second-half comeback to make it three wins in two years over Laois in this crucial clash, played before a sparse attendance at Austin Stack Park, Tralee.

Laois, with a strong wind, led at the break by 0-13 to 0-4 thanks to four points from play by Willie Dunphy. Kerry’s only score from play came from Shane Nolan in the 29th minute.

The second half was a different story. Kerry dominated the middle third and the half-back line of Paud Costello, Patrick Kelly and Darren Dineen upped their game while Mikey Boyle started plucking balls out of the air. Kerry had missed five frees in the opening half but once Shane Nolan found his radar, Laois appeared to lose their way.

Pádraig Boyle scored Kerry’s first goal from a penalty in the 38th minute and he added another in the 59th minute from play. That was quickly followed in the 60th minute by a third from Colum Harty to make the scores level, 3-9 to 0-18. Kerry sealed the win with a late Paudie O’Connor point.

KERRY: A McCabe; S Weir, R Horgan, B Murphy; P Costello, P Kelly, D Dineen; P O'Connor (0-1), C Harty (1-2); J Goulding, M Boyle (0-2), D Collins (0-2); J Conway, P Boyle 2-1, 1-0 pen), S Nolan 0-6. five frees). Subs: K Carmody for J Conway (53), J O'Connor for J Goulding (72).

LAOIS: E Fleming: D Palmer, R Mullaney, P Lawlor; L Bergin, M Whelan, P Whelan (0-1); P Purcell, Ben Conroy (0-1); C Taylor, N Foyle (0-1), R King; W Dunphy (0-4), C Dwyer, S Maher (0-11, frees). Subs: PJ Scully (0-1) for C Taylor (57), E Lyons for P Whelan (60), S Downey for R Mullaney (63), C Healy for N Foyle (66).

Referee: J Murphy ( Limerick)