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Monday 11 December 2017

McCormack salvages replay for Larries after wing wizard Flynn's Model show

WHEN one of your wing-backs kicks five points from play, you're probably entitled to feel it's going to be your day, yet despite enjoying that luxury courtesy of the brilliant Adrian Flynn, Wexford will do it again with Longford next Sunday for a crack at All-Ireland Champions, Dublin.

It was Flynn's zenith. Or if it wasn't, then keep an eye on Wexford because there is something pretty spectacular coming down the pipeline.

A defender kicking five points from play in a championship match in Croke Park? Crazy stuff, yet Wexford were probably the luckier of the two combatants that the tie went to another round, despite the fact that it took a late Seán McCormack point to seal the draw for Longford.

The Model men trailed from the 44th minute -- when Paul Barden scored his second goal to add to a first-half penalty -- until the 'stewards to end-of-match positions' announcement, but almost snatched a possibly undeserved win with a controlled and methodical closing gallop.

Naturally, Jason Ryan was just glad Wexford didn't lose.

Glenn Ryan, on the other hand, insisted that Longford had detected Flynn's threat but were simply unable to combat it and felt his scoring repertoire (three off his right foot, two off his left) was symptomatic of the style of football his managerial namesake had cultivated.

"We did see it and we tried to address it," said the Longford boss afterwards. "But he kicked some outstanding points and you have to give the chap credit.

Point

"I suppose that is the one thing you face going in against a team like Wexford -- the corner-back (Rob Tierney) scored the point at the end, the wing back-scored five -- that's the way they play, they are all out attack he is a good footballer a converted forward.

"So it's not that we weren't aware of him before today, but we'll definitely be aware of him the next day."

Jason Ryan wasn't exactly effusive in his praise by comparison, but perhaps he was attempting to deflect from the fact that Flynn's contribution was as much a result of a well-worked set piece as the player's own clinical execution.

"He kicked over some great scores and released some great ball," he noted. "There were moments in the first half of the game that when he analyses it he won't want to see again. That is the way he plays, he plays the game on an edge. But I would rather have him with us than against us."

Ryan, no doubt, would also love to have Paul Barden in his ranks rather than plotting to null the Longford leader who seems to be enjoying one of the most outstanding seasons of a stellar career.

Having scored the goal which ignited their revival against Laois two weeks back, he buried a brace yesterday and caused near pandemonium each and every time he took off with the ball.

Nightmare

"Paul Barden is just a nightmare," said the Wexford boss. "He keeps on bouncing back. You think you have him under control, but he causes problems."

His second goal, particularly, was testament to his opportunism, pace, confidence and finishing ability.

It also put Longford two points up, a lead they stretched a minute later when Niall Mulligan scored another point but Ben Brosnan and Redmond Barry found their range and after Tierney's point nosed Wexford in front, McCormack's injury-time strike came as a major relief to the Division 3 champions.

"It's a funny one to look back on but we get another game in the championship which is great," reflected Glenn Ryan. "If both teams serve up something similar the next day it can only be good for the game. It's a long time since Longford got three games in the Leinster championship, so we'll be positive about it."

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