Lyng delivers Wexford back to top flight
COLM Bonnar knew that Wexford couldn't be denied a second time. How could the manager face his players in the New Year, knowing that they would again be playing in Division 2?
No, it just couldn't happen and so, 12 months after losing to Offaly in last year's Division 2 final, Wexford made no mistake as they secured a four-point victory, 1-16 to 2-9, against Clare at Semple Stadium yesterday.
It was a forgettable encounter in many ways as Wexford shot 18 wides and Clare responded with 15 of their own. But the result was all that mattered here.
Bonnar reflected: "We knew they didn't want to spend another year in Division 2. I'd find it very hard to face the lads again if we were. Clare are too good to be back in Division 2. They have a young team and need to be in Division 1."
Ultimately, Wexford captain Diarmuid Lyng proved the difference between the two teams yesterday as he slotted over seven points.
Wexford bounced back well from the concession of Clare goals, responding to Colin Ryan's injury time strike at the end of the first half with a crucial Lyng free before the whistle. Having played against the breeze in the first half, Wexford trailed by just a point at the break, 0-6 to 1-4.
John Conlon's goal in the 49th minute sent Clare 2-6 to 0-10 clear but Wexford hit back with four unanswered points to move ahead.
A brace of Colin Ryan frees brought Clare level, but Lyng clipped over a sideline before Jonathan Clancy pointed immediately as extra-time appeared on the horizon.
But after Eoin Quigley fired Wexford into a lead in the final minute, Jacob took advantage of a mistake by Clare keeper Philip Brennan and bundled a goal home.
SCORERS - Wexford: D Lyng 0-7 (3f, 1 sl), R Jacob 1-2, C Farrell 0-3, E Quigley, S Banville, P Atkinson & PJ Nolan 0-1 each. Clare: C Ryan 1-3 (0-3f), J Conlon 1-2, D McMahon 0-2, J Clancy & D Honan 0-1 each.
Wexford: N Carton; P Roche, K Rossiter, C Kenny; R Kehoe, D Stamp, M Travers; H Kehoe, C Farrell; A Shore, E Quigley, D Lyng; R Jacob, S Banville, P Atkinson. Subs: PJ Nolan for Shore (h/t), M Jacob for Atkinson (53), L Prendergast for Roche (inj, 63), T Mahon for Banville (69).
Clare: P Brennan; P Vaughan, C Dillon, D O'Donovan; G Quinn, B O'Connell, P Donnellan; N O'Connell, M 'Ogie' Murphy; C O'Donovan, J Conlon, J Clancy; D McMahon, D Honan, C Ryan. Subs: S Collins for Quinn (inj, 9), F Lynch for C O'Donovan (44), B Bugler for Murphy (46), A Markham for McMahon (63).
MAN OF THE MATCH: Diarmuid Lyng (Wexford).