ANTHONY DALY’S Dublin rediscovered their scoring touch, totally outplaying Wexford in this one-sided clash at Wexford Park and eventually emerging with a comprehensive 13-point victory.
After their disappointing defeat to Limerick last weekend, Dublin could not afford another slip-up, with the two points gained here setting them up for a possible promotion play-off with the Shannonsiders.
Dublin had Wexford’s backs to the wall from a very early stage, leading 1-8 to 0-3 after 20 minutes, and going on to build a commanding 14-point interval advantage.
Such was their composure and control, there was never the remotest chance of the Model County side staging a second-half recovery.
Dublin boss Daly hailed the response of his players to last week’s setback.
“Overall, I’m delighted with the performance,” he said. “We gave away so many chances last week that it was a positive response from the players.
“To come to Wexford Park and put up a score like that is pleasing. The players learned from the loss to Limerick, but it’s now important that they drive on.
“But for Liam Dunne and Wexford it’s a work in progress. We as a management are there five years, which leaves us in a strong position. But this was a league game, so no doubt they will have a much hotter reception for us come championship on June 8.
“We are back in the promotion race but we still have Carlow, who have been surprising many with their challenges to date. We will not be treating them lightly.”
For Dunne his side’s league aspirations are over.
“Goals mean so much,” he said. “They got two in the first half, giving them a cushion, but overall we were disappointing. It shows where we are, and exactly where we have to go to achieve a championship result.
“We were unable to keep in touch in the first half, which made the second period difficult for us. We have to learn from this and drive on.”
In the opening 35 minutes, the Dublin half-back line of Michael Carton, Liam Rushe and Shane Durkin stepped up to the mark, while Joey Boland was dominant in midfield. With inside-forwards David O’Callaghan, Conor McCormack and David Treacy running riot, they ensured the result was a foregone conclusion by the interval.
Wexford looked to put down an early marker and Paul Morris (free) and Rory Jacob points either side of O’Callaghan and Danny Sutcliffe efforts, saw the sides level 0-2 each after 10 minutes, with the home side playing into the strong breeze.
But it was the Dubs attack that began to do the business, with two excellent O’Callaghan points, followed by a superb Treacy effort.
Then came the game’s opening goal on 15 minutes with McCormack splitting the defence with a run in from the wing, laying off to O’Callaghan, who sent a great first-time shot off the ground and into the net, putting his side 1-5 to 0-2 ahead.
In the 24th minute it was McCormack who found the net, and, with Wexford struggling all over the pitch, Dublin took a 2-12 to 0-4 lead into the break.
Wexford continued to struggle to get to grips with the game as Dublin were better balanced, more skilful, and playing with the greater composure.
When Eoin Quigley fired over a point within one minute of the restart it raised the hopes of the home supporters briefly, but, once Dublin responded, they picked off scores at will with Treacy, Sutcliffe and Simon Lambert all on target.
Wexford were unable to impose themselves in any sector, and, just to sum up their dominance, three Dublin players figured in the build-up to their third goal on 70 minutes, as they waltzed their way through a porous home defence, before sub Eamonn Dillon fired past an unprotected Niall Breen in the home goal.
It was a fitting summation of Dublin’s total dominance.
Man of the match: J Boland (Dublin)
Scorers – Dublin: D O’Callaghan, C McCormack 1-3 each, D Treacy 0-6 (3f, 1 ’65’), E Dillon 1-0, D Sutcliffe 0-3, K Byrne 0-2, J Boland, S Lambert 0-1 each. Wexford: G Moore 0-3 (1f, 1 ’65’), E Martin (2f), E Quigley, P Morris (2f), R Jacob 0-2 each, D Redmond, H Kehoe, G Sinnott, C O’Shaughnessy 0-1 each.
Dublin – G Maguire 7; P Kelly 7, P Schutte 7, R Trainor 6; M Carton 7, L Rushe 7, S Durkin 7; J Boland 9, S Lambert 8; J McCaffrey 7, K Byrne 7, D Sutcliffe 8; C McCormack 8, D O’Callaghan 8, D Treacy 8. Subs: N McMorrow 7 for Byrne (53), E Dillon 7 for O’Callaghan (55), S McGrath 6 for Sutcliffe (59), R O’Carroll 6 for Treacy (61), S Hiney for Carton (69).
Wexford – N Breen 7; B Kenny 6, A Shore 6, C Kenny 7; E Martin 6, R Kehoe 7, E Doyle 7; D Redmond 6, H Kehoe 7; P J Nolan 6, G Sinnott 7, E Quigley 7; P Morris 6, R Jacob 7, C O’Shaughnessy 7. Subs: G Moore 7 for Nolan (46), M O’Regan 7 for Morris (55), W Devereux 6 for B Kenny (57), S Murphy for Rossiter (69).
Ref – C Lyons (Cork