/ GAA

Antrim 1-11 Wexford 0-15

Updated: Sunday, 16 Feb 2014 21:16 | Comments

Jack Guiney's accuracy from placed balls helped Wexford take the points in Ballycastle
Jack Guiney's accuracy from placed balls helped Wexford take the points in Ballycastle

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Wexford began their Division 1B campaign with a 0-15 to 1-11 victory over Antrim at Ballycastle.

Conor Carson and Paul Shiels shot the Saffrons ahead and while Wexford were only 0-06 to 0-05 behind at the break, they had Richie Kehoe dismissed in the 33rd minute.

But Jack Guiney's accurate free-taking ensured the visitors led 0-15 to 0-08 entering the closing stages. Daniel McKernan's goal got Antrim back to within one, but a late free from Shiels drifted wide.

Kehoe was given a straight red card for an exchange with Antrim full-forward Neil McManus approaching half-time, but the Model men went on to dominate the third quarter and hold on for a narrow win.

Paul Morris had opened the scoring for Wexford after three minutes but four unanswered scores, shared equally between Shiels and Carson, had Antrim 0-04 to 0-01 ahead after the opening quarter hour.

By the half-hour mark, Wexford had levelled matters at 0-05 apiece, with Liam Og McGovern, Guiney and Diarmuid O'Keeffe all on target.

McGovern also saw his goal-bound effort saved by Antrim goalkeeper Chrissy O'Connell.

An off-the-ball incident between McManus and Kehoe led to be Wexford being reduced to 14 men and Shiels pointed the resultant free to leave Antrim 0-06 to 0-05 ahead at the interval.

Both sides struggled throughout the game on the heavy pitch, but with wind advantage in the second half, Wexford began to get into their stride and landed five of the first six points after the restart.

Both goalkeepers were called into action, with Guiney choosing to go for goal from a close-in free, and Darren Hamill pulling on the ground to test Mark Fanning.

The accuracy of Guiney from placed balls proved decisive for Wexford. Midway through the second half the Rathnure clubman added four unanswered scores to put his side into a 0-13 to 0-08 advantage on the 60-minute mark.

Rory Jacob came off the bench to score with his first touch and when McGovern added his second for a seven-point cushion, Wexford looked home and hosed.

Antrim then sprung back to life. A Shiels free marked the home side's first score in 13 minutes, and the same player added from play moments later.

Substitute Conor Johnston cut the gap to four, and McKernan's ground strike flew past Fanning to make it a one-point game on the stroke of full time.

However, Shiels, who had been accurate from placed balls throughout the 70 minutes, pulled a last-gasp free wide.

Wexford host Offaly next week, while Antrim face a tough trip to Limerick to try and garner their first points of the 2014 campaign.

ANTRIM: C O'Connell; Ciaran Johnston, C McKinley, M Bradley; S McCrory, N McAuley, O McFadden; P Shiels (0-07, 0-05f), J McGreevy; D Hamill, C Carson (0-02), N McKenna (0-01); D McKernan (1-00), N McManus, C Clarke.

Subs used: M Donnelly for Clarke, S McAfee for McManus, S McAfee for McGreevy, Conor Johnston (0-01) for Hamill, N McManus for Donnelly.

WEXFORD: M Fanning; K Rossiter, M O'Hanlon, B Kenny; R Kehoe, L Chin, C Kenny; D O'Keeffe (0-02), A Shore (0-01); S Tomkins, J Guiney (0-05, 0-04f, 0-01 '65'), I Byrne (0-01); P Morris (0-03), R Clarke, L Og McGovern (0-02).

Subs used: H Kehoe for Clarke, G Moore for Tomkins, R Jacob (0-01) for Byrne, E Martin for Shore.

REFEREE: J McGrath (Westmeath)

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