Report: Ronan Fagan
Wexford suffered a setback in their Allianz NFL Division 4 promotion hopes after a narrow fifth-round loss at wintry Chadwicks Wexford Park on Saturday afternoon.
But with games to come against Limerick (away, March 15th) and Wicklow (home, March 22nd), Paul Galvin’s Model County crew are still firmly in the hunt.
A 2-2 to 0-6 interval advantage was certainly a boost to Sligo having faced the howling gale in the first period, and they weathered the second-half storm both literally and metaphorically despite Wexford dominating matters.
Sligo made light of facing the gale to pose countless problems for Wexford, and lively wing-back Darragh Cummins gave the Yeats County men the perfect start with a third-minute goal when fisting over the advancing ‘keeper after initiating a sharp move.
Sligo went dangerously close to adding a second goal when Barry Gorman forced Wexford ‘keeper Ivan Meegan into a save
And Sligo no.2 John Francis Carr was also left cursing his luck in the seventh-minute when receiving from Gorman only to see his fisted effort on an open goal parried for a point (1-1 to no-score).
Wexford recovered to tie on 0-4 to 1-1 after 27 minutes courtesy of free-taker Ben Brosnan (3) and Jonathan Bealin.
But Sligo made a further declaration of their intent on 28 minutes when a sweeping move culminated in wing-forward Seán Carrabine ghosting in from the left to net a low finish (2-1 to 0-4).
Wexford’s adventurous ‘keeper Ivan Meegan came out field to peg back a superb point as the home-side got to within 2-2 to 0-6 at half-time.
Wexford monopolised the second-half despite facing the elements, but slicker Sligo stretched 2-6 to 0-8 clear after 61 minutes through Barry Gorman, Red Óg Murphy, Liam Gaughan and sub Kyle Cawley.
Substitute Conor Carty went close to pegging back a goal for Wexford on 65 minutes only to be denied by ‘keeper Aidan Devaney.
But purple-and-gold ambitions of salvaging something from the tie were lifted a minute into added-time when Ben Brosnan shaved the difference to 2-6 to 1-8 as he fisted to the net after Eoin Porter hung the ball in the air.
Liam Gaughan replied with a relieving score for Sligo, and despite determined Wexford efforts into the ever strengthening wind, the visitors held strong to return to winning ways after losses to Wicklow and Waterford.
Sligo – Aidan Devaney (0-1 free); John Francis Carr (0-1), Eddie McGuinness, Nathan Mullen; Darragh Cummins (1-0), Paul McNamara, Gerard O’Kelly-Lynch; Patrick O’Connor, Paul Kilcoyne; Keelan Cawley, Liam Gaughan (0-1), Seán Carrabine (1-1); Red Óg Murphy (0-1), Barry Gorman (0-1), Pat Hughes.
Subs: Kyle Cawley (0-1) for Hughes (50); Cian Breheny for Kilcoyne (52); Mikey Gordon for Cummins (56); Stephen Coen for Gorman (62); David Quinn for Carrabine (70+4).
Wexford – Ivan Meegan (0-1); Martin O’Connor, Gavin Sheehan, Jim Rossiter; Brian Malone, Robbie Barron, Eoin Porter; Eoghan Nolan, Niall Hughes; Jonathan Bealin (0-1), Glen Malone, Tom Byrne; Conor Devitt (0-1), Mark Rossiter, Ben Brosnan (1-5, 0-4 frees).
Subs: Shane Doyle for Rossiter (5); Conor Carty for Doyle (temp., 50-52); Seán Nolan (0-1) for Rossiter (54); Carty for Byrne (59); James Stafford for Bealin (67); Rioghan Crosbie for Devitt (70+3).
Referee – Seán Lonergan (Tipperary).