Banty's bereft as Carlow get ready for Dubs
Carlow 2-17 Wexford 2-13
It was meant to be Hill 16 on tour, destination Wexford Park. Now the Dublin masses will have to readjust their sat-navs and point the jammer towards Portlaoise instead.
All this because Carlow caused something of a minor earthquake by taking out Wexford in Netwatch Cullen Park.
Their reward - be it a great opportunity or poisoned chalice - is a June 3 date with the All-Ireland champions.
While Séamus McEnaney was left disconsolate by the outcome ("I'm shattered - I'm absolutely gutted") and visibly annoyed by some big refereeing calls that went against Wexford, this Leinster SFC opener won't be joining any 'miscarriage of justice' shortlist.
Carlow were not just bigger and stronger; they always looked more capable of punching defensive holes in the opposition. Thus, you couldn't argue with the four-point margin, albeit sealed by an injury-time goal from Brendan Murphy.
It was fitting that he should provide the coup de grâce, for this was a day when the Carlow totem delivered fully on his towering potential: lording kickouts, tracking back in defence, then popping up for 1-2 from play in the second half.
At times Murphy looked out on his feet; but then he stirred himself for another surge and, aptly, the goal that killed off Wexford's flickering hopes.
Paul Broderick was every bit as crucial to this rare victory - a first in their province since defeating Louth in 2011. His ten-point haul included five from play while one of his five frees, a touchline monster, was nearly worth the admission fee alone.
Broderick's near flawless day was scuppered by a second yellow card on 63 minutes, after he lost control of possession and slid in on Wexford's Michael Furlong ... but on this metronomic evidence we'll be reading a lot more about him between now and Saturday week.
His manager gave us a flavour of Broderick's back-story. "Two years ago in the league, the first game up in Belfast against Antrim, he was outstanding ... got injured and missed nearly the next two years," Turlough O'Brien explained.
"He was a huge loss to us. But he is back now full tilt and you can see what he can do. He is an outstanding footballer."
Broderick showed that even in a relatively poor-quality first half that finished deadlocked at 0-8 apiece. Danny Moran's 39th minute goal gave the hosts crucial momentum; they were four up before Wexford retorted with a couple of goals (via PJ Banville and Naomhan Rossiter after 47 and 50 minutes) to draw level.
By then the visitors were down to 14 men after Eoghan Nolan's second yellow for a tackle deemed too high. But McEnaney was seething at that decision; he didn't want to talk about referee Fergal Kelly was clearly couldn't help himself.
"I've enough problems to sort out over the next four or five weeks in my own dressing-room without worrying about the performance of referees, or in fact linesmen who ended up dishing out the second yellow card," Banty remarked.
"Like, Eoghan Nolan's second yellow … we're talking about a physical f***ing game we're supposed to be playing," he added. "It was a tackle. Are we going to bring away the tackle?"
Scorers - Carlow: P Broderick 0-10 (5f), B Murphy 1-2, D Moran 1-0, D Foley 0-2, A Kelly, S Gannon, G Kelly 0-1 each. Wexford: B Brosnan, C Lyng 0-5f each, PJ Banville 1-1, N Rossiter 1-0, M Furlong, A Flynn 0-1 each.
Carlow: C Kearney 6; C Crowley 5, S Redmond 6, C Lawlor 6; D Moran 7, D St Ledger 7, G Kelly 6; B Murphy 9, S Murphy 7; E Ruth 5, D Foley 8, A Kelly 7; P Broderick 9, C Moran 6, J Murphy 5. Subs: S Gannon 7 for Moran (inj 24), BJ Molloy 6 for Crowley (35+4), M Rennick 7 for Moran (53), J Clarke 6 for Ruth (53), K Nolan for J Murphy (63), S Clarke for G Kelly (65).
Wexford: C Swaine 6; J Rossiter 5, N Rossiter 7, M Furlong 6; B Malone 6, J Wadding 6, K O'Grady 6; D Waters 6, C Kehoe 6; A Flynn 6, C Lyng 6, E Nolan 6; B Brosnan 5, J Tubritt 6, PJ Banville 7. Subs: N Hughes 6 for Waters (BC 19), J Leacy 6 for Kehoe (inj 27), R Devereux 6 for J Rossiter (52), P Curtis 6 for Tubritt (58), C Carty for Furlong (67), D Shanley for Flynn (68).
Wides: Carlow 5 (4+1); Wexford 8 (5+3).
Yellow: Carlow 5 (Crowley 1, St Ledger 35+6, Broderick 47, 63, S Clarke 71) ; Wexford 7 (Brosnan 16, Nolan 19, 46, Banville 36, O'Grady 41, Hughes 53, Lyng 74). BLACK: Carlow 0; Wexford 1 (Waters 18). RED: Carlow 1 (Broderick 63); Wexford 1 (Nolan 46).
Ref: F Kelly (Longford). ATT: 3,044.
Man of the match: Brendan Murphy (Carlow).