Dubs too good for Wexford
Dublin 2-20 Wexford 0-17
As the second half approached one anticipated Wexford had a real chance of victory but their second half fall off can be attributed to superior skill and team play of Dublin as the homeside eventually went on to a comfortable nine point victory in this Leinster Under-17 special hurling championship semi-final at Parnell Park on Saturday afternoon.
Wexford's approach through the opening 30 minutes gave hope of laying the Dublin bogey, having lost to the same opposition in the provincial minor semi-final at the same venue seven days earlier.
Having led by three points at the interval, things looked bright when they stretched that to four points immediately on the resumption, but amazingly, thereafter, it was all one-way traffic as Dublin took control, with two well executed goals leaving them far the superior side in the closing 20 minutes.
There was a time when Wexford could push on from such a position, four points clear, two minutes into the second half, but that's no longer, for they could only manage a further five points in the following 28 odd minutes, with four of those being Ross Banville pointed frees, just a single point, a Cathal Doyle forty-eighth minute effort, coming from open play.
Wexford's performance was quite good through the opening 30 minutes but it's their lack of goal power which came back to haunt them, for during the course of the entire game they they never once troubled the home keeper with a direct shot on goal, in contrast to Dublin who blazed two goals chances wide in the opening half, while their finishing for the two goals was superb.
In addition, 11 of their seventeen points came through Rory Banville frees, leaving just six points from play, statistics that will never help you win a game of this calibre.
What Wexford will also be concerned about is that the skill levels and teamwork of Dublin was so superior. Their first touch was excellent, while their striking for position or for scores was such that it helped them stretch the Wexford boys at every opportunity.
Wexford, no doubt, showed great commitment, but they were unable to match the skill sets of the opposition, and really were beaten in every line, with Dublin's half-backs and midfield taking total control from the halfway mark, while the half-forward line played with such verve and confidence, they created havoc in the Wexford defence, and could have finished with more scores to their credit.
But that just an example of where Wexford are but given what was shown through the first half there is hope of progress with professional coaching.
At the end of the opening quarter Wexford led 0-5 to 0-3, through three Ross Banville pointed freed, while Ben Stafford and Sean O'Connor also got in on the scoring act, with Dublin responding through centre-forward Billy Ryan, who was to prove so influential finishing the game with 0-6 from play, Kevin Kirwan and a Liam Murphy free.
Then after 18 minutes Dublin full-forward Kevin Kirwan when through on goal shot just wide, while at the opposite end Eoin Doyle stretched Wexford into a 0-6 to 0-4 lead after 19 minutes. Dublin responded through Ryan but three Banville frees saw Wexford lead 0-9 to 0-6. Wexford finished the half with points through Sean Delaney and Banville to lead 0-11 to 0-8 at the interval.
Within two minutes of the restart, Banville stretched his sides lead after Sean O'Connor had been fouled.
Dublin responded with three unanswered points through Liam Murphy, two frees, and Michael Murphy, before the games opening goal arrived in the 35th minute.
It was midfielder Michael Murphy who moved through the defence before laying the ball off to his midfield colleague, Tom Aherne, who finished with a superb 25-meter shot to the bottom right hand corner of the net, giving his side a 1-11 to 0-12 lead.
After Murphy and Banville had exchanged two points apiece from frees, it was Dublin who stretched into a 1-17 to 0-14 lead by the end of the third quarter. With the Wexford full-forward line starved of ball there was to be no way back for the model county, and it was Dublin who finished out the game with a superb goal from sub Andrew Carroll who was found in space by a great ball inside from Kevin Kirwan.
Wexford finished with a Banville pointed free but a stark reality is that the forward line could only manage 0-3 between them.
Wexford: Sean Cooper (Davidstown-Courtnacuddy); Sam Audsley (St. Martin's), Tommy Ryan (Gusserane), Cillian Gahan (Faythe Harriers); Eoin Doyle (Craanford Fr. O'REgans 0-1), Michael Gahan (Monageer-Boolavogue), Conall Crowley (Faythe Harriers); Ben Stafford (St. Martin's 0-1), Ross Banville (Shelmaliers 0-12, 0-11 frees); Liam Coleman (Liam Mellos), Sean Delaney (Naomh Eanna 0-1), Michael O'Connor (Rathnure); Rhys Broaders (St. Mary's, Rosslare), Sean O'Connor (Rathnure 0-1), Cathal Doyle (Taghmon-Camross 0-1). Subs: James Lawlor (Ferns) for Michael O'Connor (34), Conall Clancy (Faythe Harriers) for Stafford (41), Kevin Donoghue (Gusserane) for Delaney (57).
Dublin: Eddie Gibbons; Andrew Dunphy, Kevin Burke, Tommy Kinnane; Lee Gannon, Enda O'Donnell, Herkus Sviglinskas; Tom Aherne (1-0), Michael Murphy (0-1); Mark Grogan, Billy Ryan (0-6),Kevin Desmond (0-2); Liam Murphy (0-9, 0-7 frees), Kevin Kirwan (0-1), Luke McDwyer. Subs: Sean Clerkin (0-1) for Grogan (21, inj); Andrew Carroll (47, 1-0) for McDwyer; Alex Hatt for Aherne (59), Conor Berigan for Liam Murphy (59).
Referee: Conor Daly (Kildare).