Allianz HL D1A: Wexford defeat Tipperary
Allianz Hurling League Division 1A
WEXFORD 1-15 TIPPERARY 1-14
By Ronan Fagan at Innovate Wexford Park
Aidan Nolan's injury-time winner completed a Wexford fight-back from eight points down against 14-man Tipperary to complete back-to-back Allianz NHL Division 1A wins at Innovate Wexford Park .
While Tipperary lost influential centre-forward Noel McGrath to a second yellow-card on 34 minutes, they masked that handicap when out-shooting Wexford by seven points to one either side of half-time to seemingly be pulling purposefully clear by 1-11 to 0-6 after 42 minutes.
But Wexford's determined response was strengthened by a 46th-minute Seamus Casey goal before Lee Chin paved the way for Aidan Nolan to crack the decisive point three minutes into added-time to the massive satisfaction of Wexford supporters amongst the 7,600 attendance.
It represents Davy Fitzgerald's first competitive success over Tipperary in three attempts and his first in management since a National League quarter-final in 2016.
But Tipperary couldn't have hoped for a better start as captain Seamus Callanan steered a ground-shot to the net after only 46 seconds.
However, the close nature of proceedings soon established as a couple of Ian Byrne frees kept Wexford within 1-2 to 0-3 before Aidan Nolan forced a brilliant save out of Tipperary 'keeper Paul Maher on 13 minutes.
Ian Byrne's dead-ball accuracy had Wexford within 1-3 to 0-5 on 25 minutes, and the home-side should have been boosted after Tipperary lost playmaker Noel McGrath to a second yellow-card on 34 minutes.
But Liam Sheedy's men coped more than satisfactorily when controlling the closing stages – including five minutes of added-time – to pull clear by 1-7 to 0-6 at half-time with three more Seamus Callanan frees.
Despite being down a man, the visitors looked business-like as they resumed by extending clear by 1-11 to 0-6 on 42 minutes courtesy of Niall O'Meara (2), Callanan and midfielder Robert Byrne.
But Ian Byrne was key to transforming matters as the Ferns man followed up converting a free on 45 minutes by putting Seamus Casey through one-on-one with the 'keeper for Casey to finish a low drive to the net (1-11 to 1-8).
Wexford supporters amongst the 6,700 attendance were further enlivened as their heroes tied on 1-11 apiece by the 57th-minute with Ian Byrne (free), Seamus Casey and Kevin Foley establishing parity for the first-time.
Seamus Callanan and Jason Forde (free) traded scores with Cathal Dunbar (line-ball) and sub Rory O'Connor as things remained evenly poised, before Tipp sub Jake Morris made it 1-14 to 1-13 on 67 minutes.
But determined Wexford regained parity through Diarmuid O'Keeffe prior to substitute Lee Chin finding Aidan Nolan in space on the left for the Bunclody flyer to loft the decisive blow three minutes into added-time to boost Davy Fitz ahead of Wexford's trip to his native Clare next Sunday.
Scorers for Wexford: Ian Byrne 0-6 (6fs), Seamus Casey 1-1, Diarmuid O'Keeffe 0-3, Pádraig Foley, Kevin Foley, Cathal Dunbar (sideline), Rory O'Connor, Aidan Nolan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Tipperary: Seamus Callanan 1-7 (6fs), Jason Forde (1f) and Niall O'Meara 0-2 each, Ronan Maher, Robert Byrne and Jake Morris 0-1 each.
WEXFORD: Eanna Martin; Damien Reck, Darren Byrne, Shane Reck; Shaun Murphy, Matthew O'Hanlon, Pádraig Foley; Diarmuid O'Keeffe, Aidan Nolan; Liam Óg McGovern, Ian Byrne, Kevin Foley; Seamus Casey, Cathal Dunbar, Conor McDonald.
Subs: Lee Chin for D Reck (ht); Rory O'Connor I Byrne (51); Harry Kehoe for Casey (62); Simon Donohoe (Shelmaliers) for O'Keeffe (temp., 67).
TIPPERARY: Paul Maher; Donagh Maher, James Barry, Ronan Maher; Seamus Kennedy, Pádraic Maher, Barry Heffernan; Robert Byrne, Michael Breen; John O'Dwyer, Noel McGrath, Patrick Maher; Jason Forde, Seamus Callanan, Niall O'Meara (0-2).
Subs: Jake Morris for O'Dwyer (51); Willie Connors for Heffernan (54); Alan Flynn for D Maher (57); John McGrath for O'Meara (59); Tom Fox for Byrne (68).
REFEREE: Colm Lyons (Cork).