Goals not enough for Wexford

Wexford 2-8 Laois 0-16

Ross Munnelly accumulated eight points and Eoin Culliton produced two crucial second-half saves as Laois overcame hosts Wexford in a hard-fought All-Ireland SFC third round qualifier tonight.

Wexford shot out of the traps at Wexford Park with PJ Banville pointing after 25 seconds and the same player finished off the game's opening goal in the 14th minute, profiting from Redmond Barry's diagonal ball in and a lovely set-up close in by Ciaran Lyng.

Munnelly led the Laois response for whom senior Championship debutant Evan O'Carroll - Donie Kingston's late replacement - settled his nerves with an early score.

Despite a second goal from Adrian Flynn who left-footed home from a Barry assist, Wexford grew wasteful in front of goal as half-time approached.

Accurate shooting from Colm Begley and Munnelly, who added four frees to a point from play, had the visitors back within a point at the break (2-4 to 0-9).

Goalkeeper Culliton's two cracking saves, the first early on the resumption from Wexford full-forward Paddy Byrne, provided further inspiration for a Laois side that only posted their first wide with 20 minutes remaining.

The Model men stayed in the hunt but continued to blow scoring chances, adding to the 12 wides they hit in the opening 35 minutes.

Barry had a goal-bound shot blocked by Laois full-back Mark Timmons, while Culliton gobbled up a tame attempt from Banville.

Once Justin McNulty's charges grasped the lead, they never let it slip despite the close nature of the match with Munnelly shooting them through to the fourth round where they will meet the losers of tomorrow's Ulster final - Donegal or Monaghan.

WEXFORD: A Masterson; M Furlong, G Molloy, R Tierney; B Malone, D Murphy, A Flynn (1-0); D Waters, R Quinlivan; C Carty (0-1), R Barry (0-1), A Doyle (0-1); C Lyng (0-4, 0-2f), P Byrne, PJ Banville (1-1).

Subs used: B Brosnan for Doyle (40 mins), J Holmes for Tierney (50), S Roche for Banville (62), K Gore for Byrne (65), S Culleton for Gore (67).

LAOIS: E Culliton; P Begley, M Timmons, P O'Leary; D Strong, K Lillis, P McMahon; P Clancy, J O'Loughlin; R Munnelly (0-8, 0-5f), E O'Carroll (0-1), C Begley (0-2); B Sheehan, C Meredith, D Conway (0-4, 0-3f).

Subs used: C Boyle for Clancy (43 mins), S Attride for Timmons, D Kingston for Conway (both 50), C Kelly (0-1) for O'Carroll (63), D Booth for Lillis (65).

Referee: Ciaran Branagan (Down)

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