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late drama Davy Fitzgerald sent-off as late point seals draw for Antrim in thriller with Wexford

Antrim 1-21 Wexford 2-18

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Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald is sent off by referee Patrick Murphy during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group B draw with Antrim at Corrigan Park in Belfast. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald is sent off by referee Patrick Murphy during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group B draw with Antrim at Corrigan Park in Belfast. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald is sent off by referee Patrick Murphy during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group B draw with Antrim at Corrigan Park in Belfast. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

A point in the tenth minute of injury time from midfielder Keelan Molloy secured Antrim a deserved draw and a priceless league point against Wexford at Corrigan Park, Belfast.

It will probably be enough to secure the home side their top-flight status for another season provided Laois don’t beat Kilkenny on Sunday.

This was an action-packed contest which saw Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald sent to the stand after a verbal altercation with his Antrim counterpart Conor Gleeson before half-time.

Wexford also had centre-back Matthew O’Hanlon red carded followed an incident with Neil McManus in the 43rd minute.

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Antrim's Neil McManus appeals from the bench during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group B draw with Wexford at Corrigan Park in Belfast. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Antrim's Neil McManus appeals from the bench during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group B draw with Wexford at Corrigan Park in Belfast. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Antrim's Neil McManus appeals from the bench during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group B draw with Wexford at Corrigan Park in Belfast. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

McManus who was yellow carded at the time didn’t see out the game either as he picked up a second booking in the second of nine allocated minutes of injury time played.

Goals from Conor McDonald and Paul Morris in the third and ninth minutes respectively put Wexford in control in the opening quarter and they led 2-4 to 0-4 at the first water break.

Gradually, Antrim’s excellent midfield partnership of Keelan Molloy and James McNaughton – who between them scored eight points from play – started to dominate which enabled the home side haul themselves back into the contest.

By half time the deficit was down to five points (2-9 to 0-10) but the third quarter was totally dominated by Antrim as Wexford adjusted to the loss of O’Hanlon.

They persisted with using Kevin Foley as a sweeper but were outscored 7-2 by the home side who drew level (2-11 to 0-17) just as the whistle for the second water break sounded.

Lee Chin’s long range free-taking was again off target – he missed four – and a goal from substitute Shea Shannon in the 67th minute gave Antrim a one-point lead.

In a hectic finish Liam Óg McGovern’s second point looked set to give Wexford the points but at the death Molloy popped up on the right flank to swing over a magnificent equaliser much to the delight of the Antrim fans.

Scorers: Antrim - J McNaughton (4f), C Cunning (6f, 1 65) 0-7 each, K Molloy 0-5, S Shannon 1-0, N McManus and C Johnston 0-1 each. Wexford - L Chin 0-9 (8f), C McDonald, P Morris 1-1 each, L Og McGovern 0-2, M Fanning (1f), S Donohoe, A Nolan, R O’Connor, J O’Connor.

Antrim: R Elliott; D MCMullan, G Walsh, S Rooney, E Campbell, P Burke, J Maskey; K Molloy, J McNaughton; N McKenna, E O Neill, N McManus; D McCloskey, C Cunning, C Johnston. Subs: A O Brien for Maskey (27), C Clarke for McCloskey (49), S Shannon for O’Neill (62), C Bohill for Johnston (69), P Duffy for Rooney 70 +4).

Wexford: M Fanning; C Flood, L Ryan, S Donohoe; G Bailey, M O’Hanlon, S Murphy; L Og McGovern, D O’Keeffe; A Nolan, C McDonald, P Morris; R O’Connor, L Chin, K Foley. Subs: Jack O’Connor for R O’Connor (14), Joe O’Connor for Bailey (53), C Hearne for Nolan (62), C Firman for Murphy (65), M Dwyer for Morris (65).

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Referee: Patrick Murphy (Carlow).

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