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Wexford 2-08 Laois 0-16

Updated: Saturday, 20 Jul 2013 21:31 | Comments

Laois will play either Donegal or Monaghan in Round 4
Laois will play either Donegal or Monaghan in Round 4

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Laois are through to Round 4 of the qualifiers after a 0-16 to 2-08 win over Wexford.

Playing with the wind in Wexford Park, the home side struck early goals through PJ Banville and Adrian Flynn to hold a one-point lead at the break. 

But it was Justin McNulty's men who came stronger in the second-half to book a date with either Donegal or Monaghan next Saturday. 

For both sides this was all about winning so one could sense the urgency in their play despite the sweltering heat.

The game was a repeat of their league clash, which Laois won, but Wexford were anxious to perform on home soil following their extra-time victory over Longford seven days earlier.

The visitors, despite qualifier victories over Carlow and Clare, were still hurting following their opening round Championship collapse at home to Louth.

This was the first meeting of the sides in the Qualifiers, but since 2001 they have played each other four times in the provincial championship, the only Wexford win coming in the semi-final of 2008.

The players quickly adjusted to the heat with the game starting at a blistering pace.

Just thirty seconds into the opening period Wexford in their first attack saw Banville loft over an excellent point, but within a minute Laois were level through Conor Meredith.

Both team were playing a direct style of football and it worked handsomely as Aindreas Doyle, having been picked out by a Paddy Byrne cross-field ball, pointed.

The O'Moore County responded to the challenge been laid down by the homeside with points from Billy Sheehan and Ross Munnelly to lead 0-03 to 0-02 after seven minutes.

Just after Sheehan, from a free, had stretched his side's lead, Wexford produced the games opening goal.

A great cross-field ball from Red Barry found Ciaran Lyng who turned inside Mark Timmons.

But instead of going for the goal, he picked out the unmarked Banville on the fringe of the square who neatly tucked the ball low beyond keeper Eoin Culleton, giving the homeside a 1-02 to 0-04 lead after 13 minutes.

Every score was proving vital as Ross Munnelly reduced the deficit with a fine point.

But Wexford's performance was quite impressive leading to their second goal 15 minutes before the break

Red Barry lofted a quick free into the path of Flynn who shot splendidly to the net giving his side a 2-02 to 0-05 lead.

Laois were looking somewhat puzzled at this stage as two Lyng points, one free, inspired the homeside into a 2-04 to 0-05 lead.

However, in the closing 15 minutes Laois began to pare back the Wexford lead, with three Munnelly points, two frees, and a Colm Begley effort in between, to leave the minimum separating the sides, 2-04 to 0-09 at the interval

This after The Slaneysiders had kicked 11first-half wides with Laois not kicking a single wide in this opening period.

As the second half unfolded it was Laois who poured forward in search of scores.

Conor Carty had brought the sides level but the Laois response was decisive with points from Munnelly and a Sheehan free.

The visitors  were now beginning to unlock the Wexford defence as they kicked three unanswered points through Begley, John O'Loughlin and a Munnelly free to edge into a 0-14 to 2-06 lead after 54 minutes.

With the Wexford attack continuing to prove wasteful it was Laois who managed to maintain the momentum in what was a thrilling clash, with every ball vital.

They were unable to put away the Wexford challenge as a Lyng point left the minimum separating the sides entering the closing minute.

Laois had an opportunity to close out the game on full-time but sub Colm Kelly saw his shot for goal brilliantly tipped over the bar by keeper Anthony Masterson.

In a frenetic finish as Wexford sought out a goal it was the Laois defence that held firm to win what was a thrilling free-flowing game of football.

Wexford: A Masterson; M Furlong, G Molloy, R Tierney; B Malone, D Murphy, A Flynn (1-0); D Waters, R Quinlivan; C Carty (0-1), R Barry, A Doyle (0-1); C Lyng (0-5, 0-1 free), P Byrne, P J Banville (1-1). Subs: B Brosnan for Doyle (41); J Holmes for Tierney (55); S Roche for Banville (60); K Gore for Tierney (65); S Culleton for Gorey (inj. 68)..

Laois: E Culleton; P Begley, M Timmons, P O'Leary; D Strong, K Lillis, P McMahon; P Clancy, J O'Loughlin (0-1); R Munnelly (0-8, 0-4 frees), E O'Carroll, C Begley (0-3); B Sheehan (0-2 frees), C Meredith (0-1), D Conway. Subs: C Boyle for Clancy (44); D Kingston for Sheehan (50); A Attride for Timmons (55); C Kelly (0-1) for O'Carroll (62); D Booth for Lillis (64).

Referee: C Branagan (Down).

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