Wexford produce a rousing comeback to snatch the spoils from Clare

Late goals from Donohue and Chin help Fitzgerald’s side claim a dramatic victory

Rory O’Connor: scored a late free from a tight angle to help Wexford to a one-point win at  Cusack Park, Ennis. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Rory O’Connor: scored a late free from a tight angle to help Wexford to a one-point win at Cusack Park, Ennis. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

Wexford 2-19 Clare 1-21

Davy Fitzgerald’s Wexford made it two wins out of two in Division One when they came from behind in dramatic fashion to defeat hosts Clare at Cusack Park in Ennis.

Despite playing second fiddle for most of the contest, the Slaneysiders scored an unanswered 2-4 in a seven-minute period late in the game to set up victory.

Clare defender Liam Corry was shown a red card for a foul on Rory O’Connor in the 56th minute and it was from then on that Wexford found the momentum to snatch the win. A late O’Connor free from the left flank deep into injury time decided the outcome.

Clare opened the scoring for the afternoon with a Tony Kelly pointed free after a minute of play. David Fitzgerald from open play doubled the lead by the third minute. Lee Chin got the visitors’ account off the mark from a free close to the left sideline before the Banner’s Mark Rodgers, on his debut, put two between the sides.

Brian Lohan’s charges opened a deserved 0-7 to 0-3 advantage by the 20th minute with further scores by Kelly and half-forward Cathal Malone. Wexford exhibited a penchant for handling errors with their first touch letting them down on occasions, whereas Clare capitalised on their opponent’s difficulties and picked off their scores at will.

However, the Banner County were dealt a cruel blow after 28 minutes when Tony Kelly, after shipping a hefty challenge, had to be replaced by youngster Shane Meehan.

At the end of normal time in the opening half Clare looked in command leading by 0-11 to 0-6. But a trio of Wexford points in injury time by Conal Flood, David Dunne and Rory O’Connor had them finish the half with a flourish, only for Clare’s Aidan McCarthy to fire home a penalty following the sin-binning of Wexford defender Joe O’Connor to make it 1-11 to 0-9 in Clare’s favour at the interval.

Tough battle

After the break, Chin pointed from a free inside two minutes, finding his form after missing a number of placed balls in the first half.

Clare then added three white flags through the efforts of Cathal Malone and Aidan McCarthy (2), one from play and one from a free. McCarthy had taken over the free-taking duties for the home side after Kelly was forced off.

Aaron Shanagher, the Clare full forward, who was having a tough battle with Wexford full-back Joe O’Connor, popped up with a point in the 45th minute to leave his side 1-15 to 0-10 ahead.

Rodgers pointed for the Clare men in the 52nd minute to push his side 1-17 to 0-12 ahead and in line for what seemed to be a comfortable victory.

But Fitzgerald’s men had different ideas.

They began their recovery with a Simon Donohue goal in the 63rd minute after a good pass from David Dunne. One minute later his colleague Chin had raised a second green flag during a purple patch for the Model County. Rory O’Connor then added a point to give his side the lead for the first time in the game (2-17 to 1-19).

In a frantic finish Clare grabbed two scores through Aidan McCarthy frees but the Wexford outfit, buoyed by the pair of goals, felt that the two league points, up for grabs, were theirs.

When Jack O’Connor won a free close to the left sideline, deep into injury time and the sides level (1-21 to 2-18) Rory O’Connor stepped up to split the posts from about 25 metres to steal an unlikely win.

WEXFORD: M Fanning, S Reck (0-1), S Donohue (1-0), Joe O’Connor, C Flood (0-1), G Bailey (0-1), M O’Hanlon (capt), D O’Keefe (0-1), L Óg McGovern (0-1), R O’Connor (0-5, 0-5 f’s), L Chin (1-6, 0-3 f’s, 0-1 ‘65), A Nolan, D Dunne (0-3), M Dwyer, K Foley. Subs: Jack O’Connor for Joe O’Connor (45), C Devitt for Dwyer (51), C Hearne for Nolan (51), H Kehoe for Dunne (70).

CLARE: E Quilligan, R Hayes, C Cleary, L Corry, D Ryan, J Conlon (Capt), J Browne, T Kelly (0-3, 0-3 fs), P Fitzpatrick, C Malone (0-3), I Galvin (0-1), D Fitzgerald (0-1), A Shanagher (0-3), A McCarthy (1-7, 0-6 fs, 1-0 pen), M Rodgers (0-2). Subs, S Meehan (0-1) for Kelly (28),C Guilfoyle for Rodgers (64), R Taylor for Galvin (64), S Golden for Fitzpatrick (70).

Referee: F Horgan (Tipperary)

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