It was a game that struggled to catch fire, but it was worth staying with for the dramatic conclusion.
The first half was a scrappy affair, with both sides racking up a number of wides. Brian Doyle put Wexford ahead in the third minute. Two frees from Jack Kelleher then put Tipp in front before the
Premier men conceded the first goal of the encounter.
Harry Wallace was the man on target for Wexford as he applied the finish following a fabulous fetch by Padraig O’Farrell.
If anything, though, that goal only served to spark Tipp into life, and they rattled the net themselves soon enough. Kevin O’Brien was the scorer, as he made no mistake after finding himself in behind the Wexford full-back line.
The Slaneysiders were giving a good account of themselves, however, and two important scores before the break gave them a three-point lead at the interval, 2-4 to 1-4.
The first was a goal credited to Peter Ryan after the forward got a crucial touch to a long free that landed on top of the square. And Doyle tacked on a point to give Wexford an advantage their performance warranted.
The quality did not improve immediately in the second period, and it took eight minutes for the first score of the half to be registered. Tipp’s Kelleher was the man to trouble the scoreboard, and his point was the first of five unanswered points as the Premier assumed control.
It was a full 14 minutes before Wexford scored again, but when it came it was something special. Wallace provided the entertainment, cutting a sideline over the bar from 40 metres out.
That memorable point marked the start of a purple patch for Wexford, which culminated with a super point by Doyle from his own 65-metre line that levelled the scores at 1-12 to 2-9.
But just as Wexford had dragged themselves back into the match, Tipp smashed home two goals (through O’Brien and Michael Harney) in quick succession to seemingly finish the game as a contest.
To Wexford’s credit, the Slaneysiders never gave up and another goal from Wallace and a Mark Mansfield point left just the minimum between the sides after two minutes of injury time had been played.
Unfortunately from Wexford’s perspective, the final whistle blew after the next puck-out and they didn’t get the chance to launch one final attack.
Tipperary: C Hennessy, N O’Connor, S McGarr, S O’Halloran, P Flaherty, J Kindregan, C Dempsey, S Nally, R Sludds, S Moriarty, J Kelleher, K O’Brien, M Harney.
Wexford: E Sprughan, D O’Leary, M Ryan, T Moloney, M O’Regan, B Barron, D Redmond, B Doyle, H Wallace, M Mansfield, P Ryan, T Ryan, P O’Farrell.
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