ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION IB:
WEXFORD 1-24 ANTRIM 2-20
Harry Kehoe’s late point won an absorbing Division IB opener for Wexford against Antrim at Wexford Park on Sunday.
The Models, down to 14 men for the second half after the first half sending of Tomás Waters, had led by eight points after the break but a stirring Antrim comeback inspired by Neil McManus saw the Saffrons hit 1-6 without reply and lead with five minutes to go.
Wexford held their nerve in those last five minutes however, and struck the vital late scores to begin their campaign with a vital win. The game was almost a carbon copy of last years Allianz Hurling League opener in Ballycastle when Richie Kehoe was sent off in the first half. Wexford then managed to build up a good second half lead only for Antrim to rally and close to one point. Then in injuy time they missed a long range free that would have forged a draw.
Today Wexford had began well but a Paul Shiels goal for Antrim had Kevin Ryan’s side 1-4 to 0-5 ahead at the end of the first quarter. Wexford looked vulnerable in the full-back line, and two superb scores from McManus kept Antrim ahead as half-time approached.
Liam Óg McGovern’s goal put Wexford in front shortly before the break, but Liam Dunne’s side had to play the second half with 14 men as Tomás Waters was dismissed for striking shortly before the break.
Nonetheless, Wexford led by three at the interval and second half points from the impressive Daithi Waters, the footballer now committed to the hurlers, Paul Morris, Jack Guiney and Lee Chin had them 1-21 to 1-13 ahead as the game entered the final quarter.
Then came the Antrim revival though, which was inspired by McManus, who was dominant at midfield. The Saffrons knocked over a flurry of points and then a McManus free was flicked to the net by PJ O’Connell, and suddenly they led with five minutes to go.
Wexford somehow clawed their way back into it though, and Kehoe’s late point spared them what would have been a very difficult defeat to swallow.
Man of the match: Lee Chin.
Wexford travel to Tullamore to take on Offaly next Sunday in Rd 2 with throw in at 2pm.
Main report from www.gaa.ie