Wexford dejection after Dubs drubbing
Do Wexford really believe they can compete with the best in the land?
Dublin 2-19 Wexford 0-12
Do they believe they can go toe-to-toe and challenge a decent team this summer after falling meekly to Dublin in the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship quarter-finals at Croke Park on Saturday evening last?
It certainly doesn't look like it. Belief was clearly lacking in this contest. There's one train of thought that says it's all Liam Dunne's fault.
There's another that says the players simply aren't good enough. One things for sure, this performance simply wasn't up to scratch.
Wexford looked bright enough in the opening half. They hung in the contest without really threatening Dublin but it wasn't all bad.
After the break the Slaneysiders completely lost the plot and at the end of the day the manager is responsible for what happens on the field.
So blame injuries, blame the lack of talent but the game plan in the second half smacked of desperation and played right into the Metropolitans' hands. Who decided that the best option was to lump balls as long and hard as possible down on an out-numbered, over-matched full-forward line?
These players are better than that. Paudie Foley played some fantastic balls into the channels, ones his side could win, indeed did win, and did score points off in the first half. What happened to those after the interval? It was an ill-advised turn of events and as a 'Plan B' is as basic as they come.
Dublin would have expected more from their opponents. They were given a bit of a run-out in the first half but were able to ease right off the gas in the second period and still pull away with ease. Whether they are realistic challengers to Kilkenny is questionable but nobody could be any the wiser after this contest.
A bright start for Wexford saw one of the few good performers on the day, Liam Og McGovern, pop over a point from just inside the '65.
Andrew Kenny and Daire Plunkett exchanged wides before Niall McMorrow levelled up the match with the first of his four points.
When David O'Callaghan was fouled 50 metres from goal, David Treacy notched the first of six opening period frees. The dead-ball expert missed the target from play in the ninth minute before O'Callaghan flew over his score from 55 metres out.
A lovely Foley ball into the left channel found Podge Doran, cutting in towards the posts the Oylegate-Glenbrien forward was fouled. Conor McDonald stepped up to tap over his first free to slice the deficit to a point (0-3 to 0-2).
Foley was provider, this time into the right corner, when David Dunne was felled two minutes later. McDonald knocked over the dead-ball that resulted. With two points on the board himself, the Gorey man linked up with Andrew Kenny who fed Harry Kehoe and he tapped over from 30 metres out to give Wexford a 0-4 to 0-3 lead after 15 minutes.
Niall McMorrow swept past Foley to tie the game again in the 15th minute but, after Kenny put a long-ranger wide, Paul Morris went long to McDonald, he battled for, and won, possession and flipped over to give his side what would turn out to be their last lead, 0-6 to 0-5 after 16 minutes.
The first big dagger to Wexford's hopes came a minute later. Again McMorrow was involved in the build up but the goal was all about Eamon Dillon, he burst through the heart of the Slaneysiders defence and flipped nonchalantly to the net past Conor O'Leary.
The second dagger was Dunne's sides own making; they failed to respond, going 10 minutes after the goal without a score. Treacy's second free made it 1-5 to 0-5 and his side missed a couple of half-chances before he added another in the 23rd minute.
After a bit of a scramble around the goalmouth, Mark Schutte scooped over the crossbar from the 20. O'Leary was then forced into a smart save from Daire Plunkett as Wexford bordered on collapse.
The Oulart-The Ballagh goalkeeper drilled long to McGovern who added a classy point from left of the posts to stop the rot in the 27th minute.
However, Treacy added back-to-back frees, the first after he was impeded, the second when Matthew O'Hanlon was penalised bursting out of defence.
Down 1-9 to 0-6, Wexford responded with a quick double in less than 60 seconds. Kenny and McGovern combined and the latter hand-passed to McDonald for the first, Eoin Moore's superb crossfield ball found McGovern and he notched the second from the left wing.
If Treacy's sixth free of the half halted the mini-momentum burst at the other end, Dublin's second goal a minute later buried it altogether. It started on the left with Dillon, he fed to the centre, on the edge of the 20 for Schutte who was able to break the ball into his path and offload to the onrushing O'Connell. The finish was a formality with no defensive help for Conor O'Leary.
When a late Kenny free drifted wide and a McDonald '65 fell short, the boys from the capital went in leading 2-10 to 0-8 at the break. The half-time reshuffle saw Cathal Dunbar introduced for Kenny and Wexford did respond for a short period after the restart.
Podge Doran flared a 60-metre stroke wide of the right post. A burst by David Dunne was halted by Eoghan O'Donnell who was happy to take the yellow card in the circumstances. McDonald tapped over the close range free.
McGovern's long-range attempt was tipped over the crossbar by Conor Dooley to cut the gap to six in the 38th minute (2-10 to 0-10). McMorrow responded with a nice point but his side missed several good chances in the next 10 minutes to ease further ahead.
A long Moore ball bounded away from McDonald to Podge Doran but his shot was shepherded behind for a '65 that McDonald converted with ease. John McCaffrey scored a super point from the right wing, just inside the '65, as Dublin led 2-12 to 0-11.
McDonald added Wexford's final score in the 52nd minute after Dunne was given a soft free. From then on it was dire stuff, the Slaneysiders were abysmal. The route one approach almost paid dividends once when Doran had a reaction shot scooped off the goalline by Shane Barrett but that was it.
Just one Wexford substitution was made in the final quarter with the experienced Eanna Martin coming in. With those out on the field completely flat, surely the likes of Aaron Maddock or Joe O'Connor would have added life to Liam Dunne's wilting charges.
Plunkett pointed from a clever David O'Callaghan pass before McMorrow added his fourth point of a fine display (2-14 to 0-12). Making use of their bench, Chris Bennett tapped over an easy score from just inside the '45.
Liam Rushe hit the upright for Dublin in the 66th minute but Wexford scrambled away for a '65 that Treacy pointed. Ryan O'Dwyer knocked over a nice point in the 68th minute and a Treacy free followed. The final nail in the Wexford coffin was delivered by Paul Ryan, only seconds off the bench, in added time.
Wexford now drop into the qualifier draw to be held in due course. The open draw features beaten provincial semi and quarter-finalists in Munster and Leinster. Those fixtures are scheduled to take place on the first weekend in July.
Dublin: Conor Dooley; Eoghan O'Donnell, Cian O'Callaghan, Oisin Gough; Chris Crummey, Liam Rushe (capt), Shane Barrett; Dara O'Connell (1-0), John McCaffrey (0-1); Daire Plunkett (0-1), Niall McMorrow (0-4), David Treacy (0-8, 7 frees, 1 '65); David O'Callaghan (0-1), Mark Schutte (0-1), Eamon Dillon (1-0). Subs: Oisin O'Rorke for McCaffery, temp (8-9), Ryan O'Dwyer (0-1) for O'Connell (56), Chris Bennett (0-1) for Schutte (60), Paul Schutte for McCaffrey (69), Oisin O'Rorke for D. O'Callaghan (70), Paul Ryan (0-1) for Dillon (70+1).
Wexford: Conor O'Leary; Eoin Conroy, Matthew O'Hanlon (capt), Liam Ryan; Eoin Moore (0-1 '65), Paudie Foley, Diarmuid O'Keeffe; Jack O'Connor, Harry Kehoe (0-1); Andrew Kenny, Paul Morris, David Dunne; Liam Og McGovern (0-4), Conor McDonald (0-6, 4 frees), Podge Doran. Subs: Cathal Dunbar for Kenny (36), Ian Byrne for Morris (47), Eanna Martin for Moore (66).
Ref: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)