ANTHONY DALY could have been forgiven if a feeling of déjà vu had descended on him during the opening exchanges of this Allianz National Hurling League Division 1B clash at Wexford Park yesterday.
His side’s two-point total after 10 minutes, courtesy of David O’Callaghan and Danny Sutcliffe, was a miserly sum given their early dominance. But they eventually clicked into gear to demolish a disappointing Wexford by 14 points, 3-19 to 0-14.
“Looking at the Limerick match there wasn’t an awful lot wrong apart from our finishing,” said the Clare man. “We actually created more against Limerick than we did today. But overall we were far more clinical today. Conor McCormack finished well for the second goal and David O’Callaghan and Eamon Dillon finished well too.
“The attitude has been good all week. The lads drove it on and Thursday night was probably the worst night we’ve trained since I came to Dublin. West Clare conditions! But they were mad keen to get out and get at it.”
A late change saw Conal Keaney, who was suffering from a slight hamstring problem, replaced by his Ballyboden St Enda’s team-mate Simon Lambert, the latter slotting in at midfield with Kevin Byrne taking Keaney’s place in the half-forward line.
It robbed Dublin of one of their main scoring threats, and they struggled to make an impression on the board early on with the aid of a first-half wind. They shot four poor wides and dropped two into ‘keeper Niall Breen’s hands, while David Treacy also squandered a gilt-edged goal chance as Wexford maintained parity thanks to Rory Jacob and a Paul Morris free.
But with Lambert and Joey Boland hurling a mountain of ball and the Dubs half-forward line completely on top, the pressure eventually told. O’Callaghan shot 1-2 between the 11th and 14th minutes, his goal a ground strike after ref Colm Lyons let play go on following a foul on Treacy.
Boland then split the posts after a typically driving run, with Byrne and Treacy (two) placing their side in a commanding 1-8 to 0-2 position after 20 minutes.
The hosts’ forwards were feeding off scraps but Jacob and Ciarán O’Shaugnessy did manage to grab two quick-fire points. It merely offered brief respite, however. O’Callaghan turned provider to put Conor McCormack clear and he buried past Breen. When a brace of Treacy frees sandwiched further points from Sutcliffe and McCormack to give Dublin a 2-12 to 0-4 lead, there was no way back for the Yellow Bellies.
Predictably, the second period was a drab affair. Liam Rushe ensured his defensive unit remained solid around him while Johnny McCaffrey and O’Callaghan pulled the strings up front.
Treacy continued to punish any indiscretions with unerring accuracy from placed balls while McCormack was always a threat as they eased their way home.
It was McCormack who was central to the game’s final act, his pass allowing sub Eamon ‘Trollier’ Dillon to goal and inflict the final painful wound on the home support.
It means Dublin’s promotion back to the top tier is back on track and a victory over Carlow in Parnell Park next weekend would secure a spot in the Division 1B final – the winner of which progresses to the Division 1 semi-final.
“We won’t look any further than Carlow,” Daly added. “I worked with (Carlow manager) John Meyler at club level in Kerry and they’ve been unfortunate with results. We can’t take anything for granted there either.”