Veteran marksman Ben Brosnan unleashed his goalscoring power on a wayward Offaly side as he inspired Wexford to a dramatic but deserved victory in this entertaining encounter played at Chadwicks Wexford Park.
e Brosnan, 34, inspired his younger colleagues with a dazzling attacking display that gave it a personal 1-5 tally, his 53rd-minute goal a clinical finish that gave the role model men a 1-12-1 lead -7, having fallen four points behind earlier in the second half.
Brosnan was clearly delighted after the game as the long-serving striker tried to secure the victory orchestrated by young Wexford boss Shane Roche.
“We don’t have many days like this. I love playing for Wexford, I’ve been playing since 2008, but these are the days you dream of,” Brosnan said.
“I went through a devastating time with an injury, a recurring hamstring problem. I missed last year’s game with Dublin but now I’m really looking forward to being at the Dubs this Saturday night here at Wexford Park.
“Look, it’s a young team. We may not have had the best of the domestic leagues, but there’s huge potential in this team. We have a lot of great players, so for young players, playing in Dublin will be a wonderful experience.
Offaly entered the match as a 1/5 favorite but manager John Maughan later insisted his charges were taking nothing for granted, saying the faithful expected a huge challenge from him. of their hosts.
“I wasn’t surprised at all by Wexford. I had seen them, they are well organized in defense and play a fast and attacking game. There is no doubt that they were the best team on the day. We have had our injury problems, but we don’t offer that as an excuse – Wexford deserved the win.
Wexford were fired on from the start despite playing in the wind – leading 0-2 to 0-1 after five minutes thanks to two points from Brosnan, with Offaly keeper Paddy Dunican slotting a free-kick in between.
The visitors picked up the pace with three unanswered points through free Bernard Allen, Mark Abbott and Johnny Moloney to take a two-point lead (0-4 to 0-2) after 12 minutes, but the teams continued to trade points while Mark Rossiter and Bill Carroll exchanged points late in the game, to leave Faithful County with a slight advantage (0-6 to 0-5) at the break.
On the restart, Offaly hit the home side with an early second-half assault that saw sub Lee Pearson score a 39th-minute goal – leaving them 1-7 0-6 ahead. However, it was Wexford who hit a real purple spot soon after.
Brosnan led the way by scoring three successive points, and with points from Eoghan Nolan and Martin O’Connor, the Slaneysiders took a 0-11 to 1-7 lead as the final quarter loomed.
The decisive moment came in the 58th minute after a sweeping move from deep within their own defense with the ball going through numerous hands before Brosnan finished superbly with a raspy shot towards the net.
It gave Roche’s charges a crucial five-point advantage (1-12 to 1-7), and while Offaly dug deep to stage a determined rally in the final 10 minutes, Wexford retained his composure admirably. to secure their quarter-final meeting with Dublin. at Wexford Park on Saturday (6.30pm).
Wexford: B Brosnan 1-5 (3s); G Malone (1f), E Nolan (1m) 0-2 each; D Brooks (f), M O’Connor, P Hughes, K O’Grady (f), M Rossiter, T Byrne 0-1 apiece.
Offali: P Dunican 0-4fs; L Pearson 1-0; B Carroll, B Allen (1f) 0-2 each; J Moloney (f), M Abbott, D Hyland (f), J O’Connor 0-1 apiece.
WEXFORD- D Brooks 7; L O’Connor 7, E Porter 7, M O’Connor 7; P Hughes 7, G Malone 7, D Furlong 7; N Hughes 7, L Coleman 7; A Tobin 7, D Shanley 7, K O’Grady 7; M Rossiter 7, E Nolan 7, B Brosnan 9. Subs: R Brooks 6 for Nolan (60), T Byrne 7 for Rossiter (60), D O’Toole 6 for Shanley (63), S Ryan 6 for Tobin (73 ).
OFFALY- P Dunican 7; D Hogan 6, J Lalor 7, K Dolan 7; C Doyle 5, D Dempsey 7, N Darby 6; J Hayes 7, J Moloney 7; D Hyland 6, B Carroll 7, M Abbott 6; Subs: L Pearson 7 for Doyle (inj, 25), C Stewart 7 for Allen (51), J O’Connor 7 for Flynn (52), C Donohoe for Hyland ( 65), C McNamee for Abbott (70).
Ref – Dr. O’Mahoney (Tipperary)