Laois 0-21 Wexford 0-22
Shane Tomkins clinched a last ditch victory for Wexford as they bounced back from last weekend’s defeat to Offaly to sneak over the line on a 0-22 to 0-21 scoreline in Division 1B in Portlaoise.
The Model men were 0-14 to 0-11 up at half-time but Laois came with a spirited onslaught in the second half and Wexford had to dig deep to win it, with Conor McDonald on song.
The Naomh Eanna clubman scored eight points on the day, and PJ Scully got nine points for Laois but despite his five second-half efforts it wasn’t enough and they slumped their fifth defeat of the campaign.
Most of the attention in the division was around what was effectively a promotion play-off between Clare and Limerick in Ennis. But both sides in Portlaoise had different aims and ambitions, and they wanted to stay in the second tier.
Laois knew they needed to win at all costs and then hope results elsewhere went their way if they wanted to relieve their relegation worries. While Wexford were looking for a Division 1 quarter-final place, with a win the bare minimum for them too.
It was 0-14 to 0-11 in favour of Wexford at half-time after they dominated the second quarter despite a promising opening from the hosts.
John Lennon and Willie Hyland scored two early points for Laois, but Tomkins got his and Wexford’s first score in the third minute. McDonald soon gave them the lead, but the Laois forwards were well on top and they continued to tack on the scores.
When Hyland slotted his second point in the 16th minute they held a 0-06 to 0-04 lead. But Wexford finally gained supremacy and hit six points in a row. Ian Byrne, who was a late replacement for Podge Doran, hit three of those.
They were 0-11 to 0-07 up when Byrne scored his fourth point of the day and although the teams exchanged scores, Wexford kept themselves in front.
Two late points from Tomkins, and Paul Morris gave them a 0-14 to 0-11 interval lead, as Scully kept Laois ticking over.
Scully then scored the first two points of the second half as he reduced the arrears to the minimum before Liam Og McGovern got his first point as Wexford got back on track.
But Scully was on fire and a week on from his 1-5 display against Limerick he tagged on another point, before Willie Dunphy and Pat Purcell pushed Laois in front.
Laois were well in control but they didn’t convert their opportunities and shot a couple of wides to let Wexford back into it. McDonald hit his sixth point to tie the game up in the 47th minute.
Another McDonald point, his eighth, levelled the game again with eleven minutes remaining. But Scully and the impressive Purcell looked to have given Laois the win.
However Wexford came with a late surge. Substitute Cathal Dunbar scored from wide out on the left wing and further points from Lee Chin and then Tomkins sealed the victory.
Wexford: C O’Leary; M O’Hanlon, L Ryan, J Breen; L Chin (0-01), P Foley, E Moore; J O’Connor, A Nolan; I Byrne (0-05, 0-01f), L Og McGovern (0-01), S Tomkins (0-04); P Morris (0-02), C McDonald (0-08, 0-06f), H Kehoe.
Subs: D O’Keefe for Breen (45), C Dunbar (0-01) for Kehoe (54), E Conroy for O’Connor (60), A Kenny for Morris (66).
Laois: E Rowland; C Healy, R Mullaney, D Maher; L Bergin, M Whelan, T Delaney; P Purcell (0-02), C Stapleton (0-01); J Lennon (0-01), C Dwyer (0-03), W Hyland (0-02); PJ Scully (0-09, 0-07f), W Dunphy (0-02), S Maher (0-01).
Subs: P Lalor for Delaney (23), C McEvoy for Bergin (45), R King for Dunphy (45), B Reddin for Stapleton (55), B O’Meara for D Maher (64).
Referee: Sean Cleere (Kilkenny).