Wexford picked up their first win in Division 1A of the Allianz HL as they finished strongly to see off Cork on difficult underfoot conditions at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
The playing surface was cut up following the Cork v Kildare game beforehand as part of the double-header on Leeside, and deteriorated further as the contest progressed.
Level at half-time, 0-10 to 1-7 with Wexford’s goal having come from David Dunne, the Model County hit the front as sub Rory O’Connor had an immediate impact with a 36th-minute point, followed by a score from Diarmuid O’Keeffe, and they never trailed thereafter.
While Cork did draw level at 0-14 to 1-11 as they outscored Wexford by 0-03 to 0-01 in a five-minute period midway through the half, Jack O’Connor and his brother Rory replied to give Davy Fitzgerald’s side breathing space again.
Cork’s Conor Lehane made it a one-point game on 51 but that was the last time the Rebels were that close as Paudie Foley landed a long-range free and then Jack O’Connor added two more points to bring his tally for the day to six points.
That left it 1-16 to 0-15 with five minutes left and though Cork sub Shane Kingston scored, Simon Donohoe and Cathal Dunbar – his third – had Wexford five ahead as the game moved into injury time.
Cork’s Patrick Horgan went for goal from a free but saw his effort blocked by Mark Fanning in the Wexford goal and while the attacker did point another dead ball in the wake of that, there was no time for any other response from John Meyler’s team.
The first half’s crucial score was David Dunne’s goal on 27 minutes, coming at a stage where his side had trailed by 0-9 to 0-7 after a pair of excellent Aidan Walsh points for Cork. When Kevin Foley’s point attempt dropped short, Dunne was chasing in to pressure goalkeeper Anthony Nash and Damien Cahalane, bundling the ball home.
The visitors might have goaled inside 30 seconds of the game starting, with Conor McDonald catching Paudie Foley’s delivery well but Nash saved his shot well. Thereafter, Cork had the edge and while Dunne’s goal put Wexford back in front, Walsh’s third had the hosts level at the break.
Unfortunately for them, Wexford got on top in the second half.
Wexford: Mark Fanning; Damien Reck, Darren Byrne, Simon Donohoe (0-01; Jack O’Connor (0-06, 0-05 frees), Matthew O’Hanlon, Paudie Foley (0-02, 0-01 free); Shaun Murphy (0-01), Diarmuid O’Keeffe (0-02); David Dunne (1-00), Paul Morris, Kevin Foley; Liam Óg McGovern, Conor McDonald (0-01, free), Cathal Dunbar (0-03).
Subs: Rory O’Connor (0-02) for Dunne (half-time), Lee Chin for McGovern (46), Ian Byrne for Morris (64), Harry Kehoe for McDonale (70).
Cork: Anthony Nash; Seán O’Donoghue, Damien Cahalane, Conor O’Sullivan; Christopher Joyce, Tim O’Mahony (0-02), Mark Coleman; Bill Cooper (0-02), Cormac Murphy (0-01); Conor Cahalane, Michael O’Halloran, Daniel Kearney (0-01); Aidan Walsh (0-04), Patrick Horgan (0-05, frees), Conor Lehane (0-01).
Subs: Luke Meade for Conor Cahalane (25, injured), Shane Kingston (0-01) for O’Halloran (45), Declan Dalton for Lehane (64), Ger Millerick for O’Sullivan (68).
Referee: Johnny Murphy (Limerick).