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Davy Fitzgerald sent off as Antrim secure last gasp draw with Wexford

Wexford and Antrim played out a 1-21 to 2-18 draw at Corrigan Park in today’s NHL.

Patrick Murphy sends off Davy Fitzgerald.
Patrick Murphy sends off Davy Fitzgerald.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

ANTRIM 1-21

WEXFORD 2-18

WEXFORD MANAGER DAVY Fitzgerald was sent off in today’s National Hurling league game against Antrim at Corrigan Park.

Fitzgerald was dismissed in the first half after referee Patrick Murphy consulted with his linesman, the Wexford manager appearing to have engaged in a verbal row with his Antrim counterpart, Darren Gleeson.

To add to the drama, each team then had a player each sent off in the second half, first Matthew O’Hanlon for the visitors before Antrim’s Neil McManus joined him on the sidelines with just three minutes of regulation time to go.

In the middle of all this, an enthralling game occurred. Wexford settled first, establishing a five-point lead at half-time following goals from Liam Óg McGovern and Paul Morris – the latter’s being a superb strike.

However, Antrim stayed in touch via James McNaughton who scored five points in the first half and then continued his form after the break, scoring two more points, including a vital one from play on 71 minutes, just after Wexford had sneaked back in front via a Lee Chin free.

The injury time drama was gripping. Chin missed two frees – both from tricky angles – as well as landing a key score (one of nine points he’d get on the day) while Keelan Molloy had a shot well saved by Wexford keeper, Mark Fanning.

Earlier, Shea Shannon had slotted home a fine goal under Fanning’s body to give Antrim hope of victory but as is so often the case with underdogs, the closing minutes proved unbearably tense. In the end though they secured a draw when Keelan Molloy scored a superb equaliser with the last shot of the game – his fourth point of the day.

Afterwards McNaughton said: “We are absolutely delighted to get the draw (which secures their Division 1 status). If anything, we are disappointed not to win given the position we were in with 15 minutes to go.

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“We have always believed that we belong in Division 1 and we are glad we were able to show the whole of Ireland that we are back where we belong.

“We have a real good professional set-up. Darren has put in the set-up. We always had the players but we did not really have the buy-in to the senior set-up. Now we have all our best players hurling for the county, we are showing what we can do.

“We have grown in our belief. The win over Clare told us that we are where we belong.

“Having a crowd back in for our game really lifted us today. It is brilliant to have them back in here.”

About the author:

Garry Doyle

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