O’Connor fires winner as Wexford edge out Clare with red cards on both sides in Ennis

Wexford 2-19
Clare 1-21

FOR SO LONG in this game it seemed that Wexford would rue a day when accuracy eluded them from placed balls but ultimately it was Rory O’Connor’s conversion from a free on the left wing deep in injury time that proved the most crucial score of the game.

Clare and Wexford players contest for possession.

Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

O’Connor’s score crowned a remarkable comeback for Wexford to win a match that Clare had dictated for long stages in Ennis.

Wexford trailed by eight points in the 60th minute but goals from Simon Donohoe and Lee Chin in the space of a minute fired the hopes of Davy Fitzgerald’s side. Clare lost defender Liam Corry to a straight red card in the 56th minute and that personnel deficit proved costly as they could not withstand the pressure Wexford applied in the finale.

O’Connor was terrific in the second half as an attacking threat and even if Matthew O’Hanlon was also dismissed late on, it was the sending-off for Clare that proved more telling in influencing the outcome. Wexford had to dig deep to take these spoils in contast to last week’s opener against Laois while Clare were left to dwell on further disappointment after they lost out in their trip to Belfast last Sunday.

Referee Fergal Horgan shows Liam Corry a red card.

Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

It had looked so promising early on for Brian Lohan’s men. They were lively and hungry for action, reflected in the 0-6 to 0-3 advantage they forged after the first quarter. Cathal Malone and Diarmuid Ryan were two of the game’s most prominent performers. They lost the considerable presence of Tony Kelly approaching the break due to a dead leg which contributed to five minutes of injury time unfolding at the end of the first half.

The additional phase proved critical. It looked like it had injected life into Wexford’s aspirations as they rattled off three points from play courtesy of Conal Flood, David Dunne and Rory O’Connor. That burst was needed after a half where it took 21 minutes for their opening score from play to arrive through Diarmuid O’Keeffe and free-taker Lee Chin saw four of his shots from such scenarios drift wide of goal.

Clare saw their advantage cut to two, 0-11 to 0-9, after a half of good work but then Eibhear Quilligan bombed out a puckout, Aron Shanagher gathered and was fouled, Joe O’Connor was sent to the sin bin and Aidan McCarthy crashed the resultant penalty to the net.

Mark Fanning is unable to save a penalty from Aidan McCarthy.

Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

McCarthy finished with 1-8 to his name and his scoring form in the third quarter was impressive as Clare pushed 1-17 to 0-13 clear.

Even after Corry was dismissed, they gathered themselves with teenage debutant Shane Meehan lobbing over a superb point under pressure and another newcomer Mark Rodgers had been in bright form early on with his combination play with Shanagher.

But Wexford got their running game going with Conal Flood and Diarmuid O’Keeffe influential as they tested the Clare rearguard. 2-4 without reply, the two goals acting as the centrepiece, nudged them ahead by two points.

Clare were left reeling yet steadied themselves sufficiently to restore parity with a brace of McCarthy frees. Yet in a frenetic finale the referee calls went Wexford’s way and O’Connor kept his cool to knock over the winning free.

Scorers for Wexford: Lee Chin 1-5 (0-4f), Rory O’Connor 0-6 (0-4f), Simon Donohoe 1-0, David Dunne 0-3, Shane Reck, Gavin Bailey, Conal Flood, Diarmuid O’Keeffe, Liam Óg McGovern 0-1 each.

Scorers for Clare: Aidan McCarthy 1-8 (0-5f, 0-1 ’65, 1-0 pen), Tony Kelly (0-3f), Cathal Malone, Aron Shanagher 0-3 each, Shane Meehan, Mark Rodgers, David Fitzgerald, Ian Galvin 0-1 each.

Wexford

1. Mark Fanning (Glynn-Barntown).

2. Damien Reck (Oylegate-Glenbrien), 6. Simon Donohoe (Shelmaliers), 17. Joe O’Connor (St Martin’s).

7. Conal Flood (Cloughbawn), 5. Gavin Bailey (Ferns St Aidan’s), 19. Matthew O’Hanlon (St James).

8. Diarmuid O’Keeffe (St Anne’s), 15. Kevin Foley (Rapparees).

24. Rory O’Connor (St Martin’s), 20. Liam Óg McGovern (St Anne’s), 12. Aidan Nolan (Halfway House Bunclody).

22. Lee Chin (Faythe Harriers), 14. Mikie Dwyer (St Mogue’s Fethard), 13. David Dunne (Davidstown-Courtnacuddy).

Subs

10. Jack O’Connor (St Martin’s) for Joe O’Connor (45)

9. Conor Hearne (Shelmaliers) for Nolan (51)

21. Conor Devitt (Tara Rocks) for Dwyer (51)

23. Harry Kehoe (Cloughbawn) for Dunne (69)

Clare

1. Eibhear Quilligan (Feakle)

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2. Rory Hayes (Wolfe Tones), 3. Conor Cleary (Kilmaley), 4. Liam Corry (Éire Óg Ennis).

7. Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe), 6. John Conlon (Clonlara), 20. Jack Browne (Ballyea).

9. Tony Kelly (Ballyea), 19. Paidi Fitzpatrick (Sixmilebridge).

10. Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge), 25. Ian Galvin (Clonlara), 8. David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona).

14. Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones), 5. Aidan McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona), 23. Mark Rodgers (Scariff).

Subs

18. Shane Meehan (The Banner) for Kelly (inj) 29)

12. Colin Guilfoyle (Newmarket-on-Fergus) for Rodgers (63)

13. Ryan Taylor (Clooney-Quin) for Galvin (63)

21. Shane Golden (Sixmilebridge) for Fitzpatrick (69)

Referee: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)

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