A confident and purposeful display from Wexford earned them the Allianz Football League Division 4 Shield at an overwhelmed Sligo's expense at a sun-baked MW Hire O’Moore Park in Portlaoise.
John Tubritt was the Wexford ace, shooting six points, while Ben Brosnan’s first-half goal set up this ultimately comfortable victory.
For the honour of being the inaugural winners of the Division 4 Shield, Sligo got here by beating Leitrim in Division 4 North and then losing to Antrim – by a point – and Louth (after impressing for the first-half against Mickey Harte’s charges who’ve since earned a return to the third tier).
The Shane Roche-managed Wexford lost twice in their section, Division 4 South, with one-point defeats to Carlow and Waterford.
Sligo manager Tony McEntee handed Knockmore star Peter Naughton his first start of the campaign – Naughton, whose father, Declan is from west Sligo’s Castleconnor, top-scored for Knockmore when they won last year’s Mayo SFC.
Sligo started with intent in the sweltering conditions and Sean Carrabine surged through the centre to fire over a superb point after 32 seconds.
But Sligo only scored once more in the opening 16 minutes – a Niall Murphy free – as Wexford found their feet and stretched their legs, leading 0-04 to 0-02 by the water break.
Three rapid scores from John Tubritt, Michael Furlong and Kevin O’Grady confirmed Wexford’s control – the point from O’Grady was a monster finish from long-range.
Sligo responded briefly with a point from an acute angle by Red Og Murphy but Wexford made a big statement on the scoreboard when Ben Brosnan finished a slick move for a 20th minute goal.
The goalscorer was injured in the move, however, and had to leave the fray.
Sligo’s situation worsened when injury forced captain Keelan Cawley off – he picked up a knock when stopped on his way through on goal by what referee David Hickey deemed was a fair challenge by Wexford’s impressive wing-back Michael Furlong.
Wexford finished the first-half in style with fine points from Michael Furlong and John Tubritt, with a good point from Sligo’s Niall Murphy leaving six between them at the break, 1-07 to 0-04.
Sligo were a little brighter after the restart, with points from their best performers, Niall Murphy and Sean Carrabine, but Wexford continued to be much the better side.
When the second-half water break came along the winners’ lead was seven points, 1-12 to 0-08, as a series of wonderful scores from corner-forward John Tubritt kept them on track.
One of these scores from Tubritt, a shot blasted over Sligo’s crossbar, came from a move that involved Kevin O’Grady and Mark Rossiter – a move that had goal written all over it.
Sligo goalkeeper Eamonn Kilgannon did well to get a touch on a pile-driver from Robbie Brooks to deny Wexford a second goal.
Wexford strolled to victory, with no chance of a Sligo comeback at this stage.
Midfielder Liam Coleman’s goal in stoppage time added the icing to Wexford’s victory cake.
Sligo: Eamonn Kilgannon, John F Carr, Eddie McGuinness, Evan Lyons, Conor McGovern, Peter Laffey, Sean Carrabine (0-03, 1f 1 '45’), Darragh Cummins, Paul Kilcoyne, Keelan Cawley, Red Og Murphy (0-01), Mikey Gordon, Peter Naughton, Niall Murphy (0-04, 3f), Cian Lally
Subs: Sean Power for Carr (33), Donal Conlon for Cawley (34), Gavin Gorman for Lally (35), Liam Gaughan for Naughton (50), Barry Gorman (0-01, 1 mark) for Murphy (50), Kyle Cawley for Gordon (54), Karl McKenna for McGovern (54), Nathan Rooney for Carrabine (70)
Wexford: Patrick Doyle, Gavin Sheehan, Martin O’Connor, Conor Carthy, Padraic Hughes, Brian Malone, Michael Furlong (0-02), Liam Coleman (1-00), Daithi Waters, Kevin O’Grady (0-03), Ben Brosnan (1-00), Liam O’Connor, John Tubritt (0-06), Mark Rossiter (0-01, 1f), Sean Nolan (0-02)
Subs: Robbie Brooks (0-01) for Brosnan (21) Eoin Porter for Carthy (44) Darragh Brooks for Doyle (54) Tom Byrne for Rossiter (54) Donal Shanley for Nolan (61), Niall Hughes for Waters (61) Sean Ryan for Tubritt (70)
Referee: David Hickey (Carlow)