Dunne says tough road ahead after demoralising defeat
THERE was a time when Wexford would relish an opportunity to display their qualities in Croke Park - they had been waiting some eight years for a championship appearance at headquarters.
But some of the aspects to emerge from this demoralising defeat to Dublin were simply not good enough - even manager Liam Dunne was at a loss to explain.
Even those in the 13,000 odd supporters at rain-soaked Croke Park must still be stretching for an explanation as to what what went so horribly wrong with the Model county, whose display was one of the poorest from the county seen for many a year especially on the hallowed sod of Croke Park.
Dunne tried to explain: 'When you look at a performance like that, to answer your question straight up, you'd have to say 'no'. But there's such a transition of players from this team in the last two or three years. It's just phenomenal. It's about getting a settled team for us, getting everyone back.
'You've Jack Guiney going over to America in the middle of last week and Kevin Foley with three U21 Leinster medals and he doesn't want to hurl for Wexford at the minute. He just feels he can't give the commitment. We can't afford not to have everybody. It's a tough one.
'People will say you are not making progress but we are introducing young fellas all of the time. They're learning harsh lessons at the moment.'
On the game Dunne said: 'We were well in the game up to the opening goal. Liam Ryan went for the ball, lost his hurley in the challenge, we might have defended a little better, but that was a real sucker-punch. We had two goal chances, did not take them and the life was sucked out of us.
'Dublin did the simple things and did them better than us. Take your eye off the ball for a split second at this level and it's gone away from you.
'We did not score for the final twenty-two minutes. One has to think on your feet, put them under pressure, keep the scoreboard ticking over. We did not put them under pressure, but the heads did drop which is disappointing.
'The injuries are well documented but that goes for both sides. We still had fifteen players on the pitch, players who had prepared over the months. It was a huge learning curve for them.
'This team will take some heavy beatings along the way. We will just have to stick at it. We will have some players coming back, but we are not going to make excuses.
'It will be a tough road, a hard road. When it does not happen one has to take it on the chin. I did not say much to the players in the dressing room for they will now be going back to their clubs. I told them that I will see them after the club championship games.'