Wexford’s hopes for a decent performance more than met in Limerick win

Dwyer’s goal the difference between the two sides as Limerick are punished for wides

The prevailing mood in Chadwicks Wexford Park shifted considerably over the course of the county's first Allianz League match. Beforehand, the talk was all about not getting relegated and consolidating and hoping the young players came through.

All-Ireland champions Limerick were first up and given the way they had laid waste last year's championship and even last month's pre-season Munster Cup, there were intakes of breath and hopes for "a performance".

A 16-point defeat by Dublin the previous week in the Walsh Cup wasn’t an encouraging backdrop - one official reckoned it had taken a thousand off the attendance, which at 6,500 was short of the hoped for five digits - and the travelling support appeared to outnumber them.

By the end of the afternoon, it was a different story. Having worked themselves to a standstill and surfed the good fortune of Limerick's multiple wides, the home team turned it all around with a well-taken goal in the 59th minute from Mikie Dwyer.


This acted like a great transfusion of belief for the home side, who picked up their efforts and built a lead of one, two and three while spooking the visitors into urgently looking for goals of their own.

Gearóid Hegarty managed to let fly into Wexford’s net in injury time but a free had already been signalled.

Manager Darragh Egan was a happy man. The second half policy of taking on the Limerick full-backs with long deliveries may have seemed counterintuitive but was in fact something they had worked on.

“We knew there was going to be a wind in Wexford Park. I’d say there never isn’t a wind here. We knew we had to go direct. We have some good players in the full-forward line who are able to make the ball stick.

“We knew we couldn’t press up that much on the Limerick inside back line because we were going to be exposed at the back so the most pleasing aspect is what we worked on, on Tuesday and Friday night on the training pitch came to fruition today.”

At the other end, the winners got great performances out of Liam Ryan and Matthew O'Hanlon, who stood firm against the champions.

Kiely reflected on a contest that had got away from his team, largely due to their inaccuracies up front

“I suppose the wind was going to play its part in the game. I don’t know what the wide count but I’d say it was very substantial and you can’t afford to have that when you have that breeze at your back. You have to make better use of those chances.

“Listen, it’s never easy coming down here, we’ve got to bounce back from it. We’ll work hard in training; we’ll get ready for Saturday night.”

He was asked might he reconsider his views on allowing Fitzgibbon Cup players space away from the county team - the team's dynamo Cian Lynch is currently involved with NUI Galway -

“Fitzgibbon matches are Tuesday/Wednesday this week so we’ll see how they go in that.”