National Football League Division Four South: Darragh Foley kicks last gasp winner for Carlow
By Aidan Delaney
Carlow have proven themselves the kings of the South East as a strong start and finish was enough to give them a one point victory over winless Wexford.
Shane Roche’s men were pipped by Waterford last weekend and they were still in the starting blocks as the home side at Netwatch Cullen Park opened up a 1-1 to no score lead with 8 minutes gone. Jordan Morrissey struck to the net after losing his marker Brian Malone.
The Yellowbellies looked shocked by the lightning quick start from the hosts and couldn’t lay a glove on their neighbours. Sean Gannon put himself about and got on a lot of ball but he missed with a looping effort with 15 minutes gone. Paul Broderick stretched the lead from a free. 1-2 to 0-0
The experienced Tinryland man got his second of the day from a 45 and Wexford still hadn’t worried the umpires with 18 minutes gone. Tom Byrne eventually registered the first score for the visitors before the water break.
Roche needed something to get his men up and running and turned to his centurion Daithi Waters on the bench. The St Martin’s man came on for the ineffective Niall Hughes and had an instant impact helping Ben Brosnan to his first white flag of the day.
Points from Byrne and Martin O’Connor kept Wexford in touching distance but Sean Nolan should have done better with a goal bound effort that was easily batted away by Ciaran Cunningham in the Carlow goal. 25 minutes gone 1-3 to 4 to Carlow.
They were handed a lifeline when goal scorer Morrissey was sent to the sin bin for an off the ball incident with 29 minutes gone meaning the 14 men would have to hold on until the break.
Hold on they did as Darragh Foley scored a monster of a free to cancel out efforts from Mark Rossiter as Carlow were somewhat lucky to go in to the break with a 1-4 to 6 point lead.
John Tubritt followed Waters example by putting his stamp on the game straight away with the first point of the second half before Kevin O’Grady levelled the game from long range. 1-05 to 8 with 38 minutes elapsed.
It was all Wexford from there as Nolan made sure to bury his effort this time and raised the green flag to turn this game on its head. 1-8 to 1-5 with half an hour left.
Foley stopped the rot for the Scallion Eaters with their first point in 12 minutes but Wexford would stretch their lead when young Castletown midfielder Liam Coleman found the net with 45 minutes gone. 2-8 to 1-8.
Wexford have been in this position before but once again allowed their opponents back into the contest. Not even a second black card to John Murphy for a rugby tackle could stop the Carlow momentum rising.
Broadrick scored 2 frees as the sides went for a second water break after 54 minutes, the deficit down to 2-9 to 1-10.
Sean Nolan, who was without a doubt the best man in purple and gold fired over his first point of the game to regain a 3 point advantage. Carlow thought they had wiped that out when Morrissey finished his second goal of the evening from the floor but the referee spotted a throw in the buildup.
Niall Carew’s men made it harder on themselves when sub James McGrath was bummed for a needless third man tackle and leave his side with 13 men and 59 minutes gone. Wexford still leading 2-10 to 1-10
You can’t deny the Carlow spirit though and they deservedly equalised through the fist of Foley who guided an excellent line ball past Darragh Brooks. 2-10 a piece and 4 minutes left.
The away side with the numerical advantage made it count when Sean “Mini” Ryan came off the bench to put the Slaneysiders back in front but that was quickly answered by John Murphy’s booming point from the sideline.
That knocked the stuffing from Wexford and they’d no answer to Darragh Foley won the game with a point right over the post to hand the men in green red and yellow the win.
Carlow go into the promotion semi finals now while Wexford will have to comfort themselves with a Shield game in two weeks time.
Carlow: Ciaran Cunningham, Jordan Lowry, Shane Redmond, Liam Roberts, Sean Gannon, John Murphy 1-1, Josh Moore, Eoghan Ruth, Darragh Foley 0-4 Jordan Morrissey 1-1, Shane Clarke, Conor Doyle, Chris Blake 0-1, Paul Broderick 0-5, Cormac Mullins
Wexford: Darragh Brooks, Eoin Porter, Martin O’Connor 0-1, Conor Carty, Pauric Hughes, Gavin Sheehan, Brian Malone, Liam Coleman 1-0, Niall Hughes, Tom Byrne 0-2, Sean Nolan 1-1, Kevin O’Grady 0-1, Mark Rossiter 0-3, Robbie Brooks, Ben Brosnan 0-1
Subs: John Tubritt 0-1 Sean Ryan 0-1