Second half goals from Paul Morris and Rory Jacob helped Wexford claim a 2-15 to 0-15 win over 13-man Carlow at Dr. Cullen Park in the Allianz Hurling League Division 1B.
With free-taker Gary Moore on target six times, Wexford scrambled their way to a 0-09 to 0-07 interval lead. Marty Kavanagh and Tomas Waters earned straight red cards.
Carlow had a real period of dominance midway through the second period but defender Eoin Nolan’s dismissal and Jacob’s late goal saw the game slip from their grasp.
That goal in the 67th minute from substitute Jacob finally shook off the plucky Carlow challenge as Wexford won this south-east derby.
The prospects of a repeat of their 2010 success in the same competition looked good for the home side when they edged into a 0-15 to 1-11 lead with 13 minutes left.
However, points from two Moore frees and Harry Kehoe steadied the pre-match favourites before Jacob pounced for the clinching goal.
New Carlow boss John Meyler saw his charges take the game to his native county as they moved into a 0-06 to 0-02 lead after 12 minutes.
Wexford though hit seven of the next eight points to take an interval advantage of 0-09 to 0-07, with Moore particularly influential from placed balls.
Both sides were reduced to 14 men in the 30th minute when Wexford full-back Tomas Waters and Carlow attacker Marty Kavanagh were dismissed for getting involved in an off-the-ball skirmish.
Wexford pounced for a crucial goal less than five minutes into the second half when Harry Kehoe and Paudge Doran combined to set up Paul Morris who finished to the net with a low drive past Nicky Roberts. Wexford were now 1-09 to 0-08 to the good.
Carlow responded strongly midway through the half should have goaled when Padraig Nolan sent the ball wide following a neat Craig Doyle hand-pass.
Still, the Barrowisders picked off five points on the trot from Shane Kavanagh (two frees), Mark Brennan, Jack Kavanagh and Doyle to move 0-14 to 1-10 clear at the start of the final quarter.
Paul Morris equalised for Liam Dunne’s men, only for Shane Kavanagh to restore the Carlow lead from another placed ball.
Wexford needed all of their guile to stave off a shock defeat. They had moved 1-14 to 0-15 clear before Carlow full-back Eoin Nolan was sent-off for a second booking in the 65th minute, with Moore converting the resultant free.
The winning Wexford goal started in their own square as defender Andrew Shore caught a dangerous Shane Kavanagh free under his own crossbar.
Shore's clearance found team captain Garrett Sinnott who in turn picked out his Oulart-the Ballagh club-mate Jacob, and the substitute raced clear before planting a low shot beyond the reach of goalkeeper Roberts.
Wexford: G Moore 0-09 (0-08f), P. Morris 1-02, R Jacob 1-00, D Redmond, A Kenny, G Sinnott, H Kehoe 0-01 each
Carlow: S Kavanagh 0-05 (0-03f), M Kavanagh 0-04 (0-03f), J Kavanagh, M Brennan 0-02 each, JM Nolan, R Coady (0-01 ’65') 0-01 each
WEXFORD: N Breen; B Kenny, T Waters, E Moore; R Kehoe, A Shore, L Chin; D Redmond, A Kenny; H Kehoe, S Murphy, M O’Regan; P. Morris, G Sinnott, G Moore.
Subs used: R Jacob for O’Regan, P Doran for Murphy, E Doyle for R Kehoe, J Tonks for Chin, C O’Shaughnessy for A. Kenny.
CARLOW: N Roberts; HP O’Byrne, E Nolan, D Shaw; J O’Hara, R Coady, J Corcoran; D English, E Coady; S Murphy, S Kavanagh, M Kavanagh; J Kavanagh, JM Nolan, P Nolan.
Subs used: M Brennan for JM Nolan, D Byrne for Corcoran, P Coady for P Nolan.
Referee: Brian Gavin (Offaly)