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Antrim fall apart after red card controversy

There will be tougher days ahead for Wexford than this one sided second half as they steamrolled Antrim with 15 points to spare in this Allianz National Hurling League Division 2 clash at Wexford Park yesterday afternoon.

The story of this game was decided seconds before the half-time break. Antrim were three points clear when they had wing-forward P.J. O'Connell straight red carded for a wild pull under a dropping ball but the decision of referee Seamus Roche was a harsh one when everyone believed a yellow card would have sufficed.

Then on 51 minutes they were dealt a further blow when corner-back Barry McFall was forced to retire injured following a heavy front charge from Wexford substitute Tomas Waters who was brandished just a yellow card.

Antrim Manager Denny Cahill certainly felt the sending off had an effect as he watched his team dismantle in the second half.

“Certainly the sending off made it extra difficult,” he said.

“We were leading by three points at the interval having played with the wind, but losing P.J. O'Connell made it difficult for us. Wexford used the numerical advantage and we weren't good enough in the second half.

“But having said that, we will take the positives out of the first half and build on that for the championship.”

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Whatever Wexford manager Colm Bonnar had to say during the half-time break had the desired effect, as his men came storming out of the blocks with 1-4 inside 10 minutes of the restart, the goal from corner-forward Peter Atkinson.

Having played some quality hurling through the opening period, Antrim were unable to recover from Wexford’s early second half scoring blitz and, a man light, had to wait until the 60th minute for their opening second half score, a Paul Shiels pointed free.

Wexford: N. Carton; L Prendergast (0-1), K. Rossiter, E. Doyle; R Kehoe, C Kenny (0-1), M. Travers; M Molloy, C Farrell (0-1); A Shore, E Quigley (0-1), D Lyng (0-5, 3f); R Jacob (2-3), S Banville (0-2), P Atkinson (2-4). Subs: T Waers for Quigley (43); M. Jacob for Banville (54); H Kehoe for Molloy (56); P Kenny for Shore (61); E Quigley (Rapparees) for Kehoe (64).

Antrim: C O'Connell; B McFall, C Donnelly, A Graffin; N McAuley, J Campbell, C Herron; P Shiels (0-6, 34), E McClo skey (0-1); C McFall, N McManus (1-1 frees), P J O'Connell (0-1); C. McAlister (0-2), D Hamill, S. McCrory. Subs: J McKeague for McFall; M Devlin (0-1) for McAlister (63); T. McCann for McManus (64); K McKeegan for Graffin (67).

Referee: S. Roche (Tipperary)

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