Leinster SFC: Wee County finish strongly to seal Dubs date

May 12, 2019

Louth's John Clutterbuck in action against Wexford's Conor Devitt

Louth reeled off eight unanswered points to come from behind and beat Wexford by 0-22 to 1-14 at Wexford Park.

With an hour played in the sunny south east, Kevin O’Grady’s penalty goal ensured that the Model County held a commanding 1-14 to 0-14 advantage, but the Wee County really took the game by the scruff of the neck in the closing stages as points from Jim McEneaney, substitute Ryan Burns (3), Andy McDonnell, Ciaran Downey, substitute William Woods and Tommy Durnin secured a quarter-final meeting with reigning Leinster and All-Ireland champions Dublin in a fortnight.

The hosts led by the odd point from 13 at the end of a keenly-contested opening period.

Making his championship debut, Wexford goalkeeper Matt Doyle saved a McEneaney penalty after Ben Brosnan and McDonnell exchanged the first two points of the match, Glen Malone on hand to restore the Model County lead in the twelfth minute.

In the 15th minute, Conor Devitt cancelled out a John Clutterbuck point as the Slaneysiders remained in front but James Califf made it three points apiece after 16 minutes. The sides were level for the fourth and fifth times when a Sam Mulroy free chalked off one from Brosnan, who quickly cancelled out Califf’s second – 0-5 each with 24 minutes played.

A brace of Jonathan Bealin frees opened up a two-point gap for the first time, Mulroy’s 33rd-minute free closing the first-half scoring.

The sides were still deadlocked after 44 minutes as quickfire Louth finishes from Califf and Declan Byrne made it 0-11 apiece. After home custodian Doyle executed his third fine save of the game, the pendulum swung in the Model County’s favour with O’Grady drilling emphatically to the net from the penalty spot following a foul on Eoghan Nolan.

After another exchange of points, Conal McKeever reduced the Wee County’s arrears to two with 20 minutes remaining, but Bealin’s pointed free made it 1-13 to 0-13 with 55 minutes played.

Impact sub Burns also saw his strike cancelled out by a Bealin free as the goal continued to separate the sides heading into the final ten minutes … but it was soon squeaky bum time as points from Burns and McEneaney ensured that Louth were back within the minimum with just two minutes left.

The tension rose a few decibels more as Newtown Blues clubman McDonnell equalised before Burn and Downey posted scores to propel Wayne Kierans’ men into a two-point lead. Woods tagged on another one in injury time, Durnin and Burns (free) putting some gloss on the final scoreboard.

Louth - F Sheekey; F Donohoe, E Carolan, J Craven; A Williams, B Duffy, J Clutterbuck; T Durnin (0-1), J Califf (0-5, 2f); J McEneaney (0-1), C Downey (0-1), C McKeever (0-1); A McDonnell (0-2), S Mulroy (0-3f), D Byrne (0-3). Subs: C Early for J Califf, E Duffy for J Clutterbuck, R Burns (0-4, 1‘45) for S Mulroy, R Holcroft for J McEneaney, D Corcoran for F Donohoe, W Woods (0-1) for D Byrne.

Wexford - M Doyle; M Furlong, M O’Connor (0-1), C Carty; G Malone (0-2), B Malone, E Porter; D Waters, N Hughes; E Nolan, B O’Connor, C Devitt (0-1); K O’Grady (1-0pen), B Brosnan (0-3), J Bealin (0-7, 4f). Subs: G Sheehan for C Carty (BC), T Rossiter for N Hughes, R Frayne for E Nolan, J Tubritt for C Devitt, J Cash for E Porter.

Referee - D O’Mahoney.

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