Fatherhood clearly agrees with Wexford’s ageless attacker Ben Brosnan who, days after the birth of his third child, hit the crucial goal to secure victory over Leitrim in the Tailteann Cup on Sunday.
Level with six minutes of normal time remaining at Parnell Park, Brosnan, now 35 and 15 years on from his debut in 2008, struck a stoppage-time goal to set the seal on a battling 1-16 to 1-12 win.
Leitrim approached the tie looking for their first win of their campaign to potentially leapfrog Wexford into third spot and steal a preliminary quarter-final spot.
But a mixture of Brosnan’s excellence, Wexford’s strong showing generally in the final 10 minutes or so and Keith Beirne’s earlier wasted penalty attempt added up to a win for John Hegarty’s side.
The subsequent draw for next weekend’s preliminary quarter-finals paired Wexford with Offaly, the Faithful having home advantage in Tullamore.
Goalkeeper Darragh Brooks impressed for Wexford too, stroking over four points from placed balls aside from his 50th-minute penalty save, although Brosnan naturally stole the headlines.
“Ben is the man you’d want in that position with a couple of minutes to go,” said manager Hegarty of the Castletown man. “He kicked two great scores for us. He only had his third child during the week, so he’s got a six- or seven-day old child at home yet he’s still here performing at the very highest level. For any young lad in Wexford who wants a role model, you just can’t look past Ben.”
Antrim finished at the head of Group 4 after their 3-13 to 1-12 win over Fermanagh in the all-Ulster shoot-out for top spot.
Andy McEntee’s side have secured a home quarter-final fixture with second-half goals from Adam Lonergan, Oisín Doherty and Ruairí McCann sealing the win. Fermanagh, who have finished second, will host Laois next weekend.
In Group 3, Limerick are the table toppers and will have a home quarter-final fixture in a fortnight.
Carlow, who also finished on four points thanks to their 2-13 to 1-14 win over Longford, were nudged into second position and will host New York in a preliminary quarter-final next weekend.
Despite the defeat, Longford have finished third and will travel to Newry to play Down.
Oisín McConville’s Wicklow are out despite their courageous 2-14 to 1-10 win over Limerick. Goals from John Paul Nolan and Jack Kirwan did the trick for Wicklow in Portlaoise.