Skipper Matty Forde was again to the fore as his haul of eight points inspired 14-man Wexford to a 0-12 to 0-10 Leinster SFC quarter final success against a vanquished Kildare at Croke Park, remaining on course for a first provincial SFC title since 1945.
Sean Boylan’s Meath await today’s deserved winners, who despite the poor quality of football, managed to find the target when needed to lift them into a June 27th semi-final at GAA headquarters. Ten wides apiece, six yellow cards and a 69th minute sending off for Wexford corner back Colm Morris points to the poorness of both sides, with the Lilywhites go on to meet Offaly in the first round of the qualifiers.
Forde struck four first half points (3 frees), including two inside the first 12 minutes as Wexford began the brighter. Kildare’s response was muted until Padraig Hurley, on from the injured Derek McCormack, and full-forward Morgan O’Sullivan found the target. John Doyle curled over the first of two frees to edge Padraig Nolan’s side in front but Wexford assumed the lead at half time, 0-06 to 0-05, with Darragh Breen (11 minutes), Forde (22, 35) and substitute Pat Forde (35) all pointing.
The sides had been level three times through the opening half.
Kildare wing back Karl Ennis soloed through to point immediately after the resumption and O’Sullivan clambered free of his marker to point and single Kildare’s ever-increasing intent. Predictably it was Forde who bit back at them, breaking two tackles to equalise on 42 minutes. Veteran Anthony Rainbow was brought on by Nolan to shake up the side, and Kildare resumed the lead through Padraig Brennan six minutes later.
The effective Pat Forde and Jason Lawlor saw Wexford back in front on 49 and 55 minutes and with Matty Forde and Brennan trading frees, with eight minutes remaining the men from the South East were one point to the good at 0-10 to 0-09.
Forde found the target on two more occasions as the Kildare defence crumbled and with Morris given his marching orders by referee Mick Curley for an off-the-ball incident. Wexford held on though, conceding just a last minute Doyle free for arguably the biggest shock of the championship so far.
Filed by Barry J Whyte