Davy Fitz sent to the stands for rowing with Darren Gleeson
The crowds are shouting, the hurling is thrilling, Davy Fitz is fighting and if you stopped to look around for even just a small while, you will see that nature is healing.
It's good to be back here.
Corrigan Park is one of those grounds that wouldn't make sense unless the crowd was going mad. The 500 red-lucky punters had plenty to go mad about on this feisty National League Saturday in the Belfast cauldron, and that was before Davy Fitzgerald was sent up to the stands to join them.
Wexford started this game like a team who, after a sluggish performance against Kilkenny last weekend, had been sent out to the field with a stern bollocking ringing in their ears. Even sterner than the ref and Darren Gleeson would hear half an hour later.
Because Conor McDonald started like a man possessed, scoring goals, celebrating like this was the Leinster championship and then setting up points for the brilliant Rory O'Connor. The most disappointing part of this day for Wexford people, even more so than losing their manager, will have been watching O'Connor limp off after ten minutes.
Please God they'll pray in the sunny south east that it's not serious enough to keep him out of the championship. His brother Jack came in to replace him and in this tense, edgy environment, the eldest O'Connor was right at home because it wasn't long before he was giving Keelan Molloy both barrels in a midfield row.
There were rows breaking out at all angles.
It was rip-roaring stuff by this stage. James McNaughton and that man Molloy were scoring points from everywhere and then Liam Ryan was stopping goals, defending like it was the 1990s again.
For 37 exhilarating minutes, Covid seemed like it was just a bad dream and the best of all was yet to come, with Davy Fitz doing what Davy Fitz does, clashing with Darren Gleeson, clashing with the ref Patrick Murphy, before seeing the road.
Watch the row unfold from 1.40 in the below clip courtesy of TG4.
#ANTvWEX Leath Ama
ANAILÍS! Cluiche spleodrach againn go dtí seo 😱😱
Eoghan Ó Néill & Claire O’Connor with half time analysis below 👇👇@AllianzIreland @GAA_BEO #AlianzLeagues #GAA #GAABEO
BEO/LIVE AR @TG4TV pic.twitter.com/V4UN8Hlw7T
— Spórt TG4 (@SportTG4) June 5, 2021
If the row lit the touch paper, the second half burned the grass up with this game exploding into life as soon as Neil McManus set up Shane Shannon for the goal that would drag Antrim back into the game. From there, Liam Óg McGovern took over the game before the brilliant Keelan Molloy slotted a nerveless leveller with the last puck of the game.
When you consider the time was up, that this was the last puck, that a wide ball would have meant relegation trouble...simply sensational from Keelan Molloy.pic.twitter.com/bkxCk5zcQp
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) June 5, 2021
It was brilliant to see too, that having tore strips off each other for the guts of 79 minutes, Fitzgerald and Gleeson were able to laugh and shake hands by the end of it. All's fair in love and hurling as they say and in this game of honour and respect, it was a fitting end to what was a brilliant day of hurling in Belfast.