/ GAA

Wexford 4-12 Carlow 0-14

Updated: Sunday, 01 Jul 2012 11:03 | Comments

Rory Jacob's first-half goal sent Wexford on their way
Rory Jacob's first-half goal sent Wexford on their way

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The bloated 4-12 to 0-14 scoreline belies what was a far from comfortable afternoon for Wexford as Carlow fought valiantly at Wexford Park.

Carlow led early on in this first phase hurling qualifier with free-taker Marty Kavanagh converting five frees.

But Rory Jacob’s opportunist 31st-minute goal edged Wexford ahead for half-time and Jacob added a second in the 48th minute.

Substitutes Jack Guiney and Gary Moore also found the net to confirm the Model men as winners, although Carlow emerged with plenty of credit.

Liam Dunne’s substitutions worked a treat for the Model men, and two of those bench men, Jack Guiney and Gary Moore, also found the net to confirm Wexford as winners.

Despite the defeat, Carlow still emerged with plenty of credit - the assured Kavanagh finished with a 0-09 tally and Andrew Gaule and Mark Brennan impressed too up front.

Kevin Ryan’s side set the pace initially despite playing into the wind. Illness forced influential full-back Eoin Nolan out of the team beforehand, with John Michael Nolan added to the defence and Shane Kavanagh reverting to the edge of the square.

Wexford were unchanged from their win over Westmeath last weekend, but their intensity was severely lacking as the 17-year-old Kavanagh floated over the opening two points.

Kavanagh added a third soon after, only for Wexford to get back level by the 20th minute through Rory Jacob who did his best to liven up the home attack.

Unexpectedly, Wexford’s Eanna Martin was the busier of the goalkeepers in the first period and he had to be sharp to deny Marty Kavanagh and Craig Doyle in quick succession.

Carlow conjured up their first point from play, with Mark Brennan finding the target, to go 0-05 to 0-04 ahead before Dunne sent on Under-21 starlet Guiney.

He had an almost immediate impact as Wexford squared things up before Guiney ran in from the wing, forced a block from goalkeeper Frank Foley and Jacob swooped on the loose ball to smack a ground shot straight to the net.

A Gaule point from play and Kavanagh’s fifth free represented a decent response from the Barrowsiders, however Wexford were 1-07 to 0-07 to the good after Richie Kehoe and Garrett Sinnott tapped over points.

Into the second half, Kavanagh continued to show his class from placed balls. He knocked over two more, with Diarmuid ‘Gizzy’ Lyng hitting back for the home side.

Then came a six-minute purple patch for Dunne’s charges during which they struck three goals. The blitz took the wind out of Carlow’s challenge at a vital stage of the match and spread some much-needed relief around the home support.

With 42 minutes on the clock, Eoin Quigley caught a long delivery in and passed for fellow substitute Guiney to cut through rasp home his goal for a 2-08 to 0-10 lead.

Gaule landed a point in return, only for Wexford to push on with another substitute Moore and Jacob both netting within a minute of each other.

Carlow showed their battling qualities with points from Richie Coady and David English and youngster Kavanagh completed his haul of frees.

They also had a deserved goal taken away from them with two minutes remaining, as Martin pulled off another superb stop after Alan McDonald pulled the trigger.

Carlow were far from outclassed in the end, however that timely goal rush has guided Wexford through to the third phase of the qualifiers and they are now just 70 minutes away from a place in the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

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