Gold finish in last place after fifth defeat on trot
Dublin Clarke 7-18 Wexford Gold 2-15
A spirited second-half display couldn't prevent Wexford Gold from falling to their fifth consecutive defeat in Group D of the Celtic Challenge Under-17 hurling tournament in the Halo Tiles and Bathrooms Ferns Centre of Excellence on Wednesday.
The Slaneysiders were in dire straits at the break, trailing by 5-12 to 1-3 to what essentially is Dublin's Under-16 team. However, they showed a lot more spirit in the second-half, racking up a decent tally of 1-12 to give the end result a shot of respectability.
It's been a tough campaign for this Wexford second string. They have finished last in the table which means they should now get some games against similar quality opposition in the knockout stages, which start on June 10.
Management were able to pick from a good number of players and were able to get a look at everyone. The team that started probably falls into the 'experimental' bracket and they struggled to contain a hungry Dublin Clarke side.
John Murphy did race away for a classy opening goal in the third minute and Anthony Murphy also picked off a point. However, the hosts were already trailing by 0-5 to 1-1 when Liam Dunne sent a rasping shot past Kevin Cosgrave for Dublin's opening goal.
Eoghan Buckley soon added a second major as it became obvious that this was going to be a long evening for the Slaneysiders. By the end of the opening quarter a third Dublin Clarke goal, scored by Dunne, had Wexford 3-7 to 1-2 behind.
Jake Nobbs, who would end the game with eight scores, added a '65. However, Buckley and Fergal Ryan also hit the net as the visiting full-forward line ended the first-half with 5-8 shared between them.
Playing with the breeze, Wexford kept the scoreboard ticking over. Nobbs was the primary scorer but Tomás Cosgrave and Anthony Murphy also added third quarter points. Dublin netted twice more and led by 7-14 to 1-7 after 43 minutes.
While their opponents scored just four more points, Wexford had their best spell. Good anticipation from substitute Ben O'Connor saw him sweep a breaking ball to the net while Nobbs, John Murphy and David Mernagh all added points as the hosts ended with a flourish.
Wexford Gold: Kevin Cosgrave; Philip Redmond, Nathan Byrne, Robert McGuinness; Evan O'Dwyer, Niall Parker (capt.), Seán O'Neill; Alex Sludds, Jake Nobbs (0-8, 7 frees, 1 '65); Jack Fortune, Anthony Murphy (0-3, 2 frees), Jamie Doyle; Tomás Cosgrave (0-1), John Murphy (1-1), Ethan Freeman. Subs. - Conor Morris for Sludds (12), Tadhg Kelly for Doyle (15), Jake Clancy for O'Neill (18), Cameron O'Leary for McGuinness (27), Seamus Doyle for Nobbs, temp. (30+2-HT), Art Sinnott for K. Cosgrave (36), Ben O'Connor (1-1) for Freeman (38), Seamus Doyle for Byrne (44), Niall Murphy for T. Cosgrave (46), David Mernagh (0-1) for Fortune (49), Glen Carton for Redmond (49), Aaron Byrne for A. Murphy (51).
Dublin Clarke: Shane O'Leary; Robert Halpin, Jamie McDonnell, Jack Kelly; Seán Foran, Karl Morgan, Tom Cullen; Alex O'Neill (0-2, 1 free), David Bohan; Alex Carroll (0-2), Adam McDermott, Shane Lawlor (0-3); Fergal Ryan (1-3), Liam Dunne (capt., 3-6, 0-2 frees), Eoghan Buckley (3-2). Subs. - Adam Kelly for McDonnell (26), William McDonnell for Cullen (29), Niall Power for McDermott (31).
Referee: Matt Dowling (Wicklow).