Leinster GAA Football Senior Championship Final
Dublin v Wexford, Croke Park, 2.00pm
The Story so far…
Dublin have been solid but definitely not spectacular so far in the Leinster GAA Championship, beating Laois by 1-16 to 0-11 in the quarter-final before they had a narrow 1-12 to 1-11 win over Kildare in the last four.
Wexford’s progress has been impressive, although they were on the easier side of the draw and have not yet faced any of the province’s big guns. Offaly, Westmeath and Carlow have been swept aside with the minimum of fuss, the Models scoring 7-52 along the way
They meet for the third time in four seasons in the Leinster championship with Wexford seeking their first championship success over Dublin since winning a Leinster semi-final by 2-7 to 0-7 in Carlow in 1956.
Dublin are seeking their 50th title and their sixth in seven seasons, having won in 2005- 06-07-08-09. Wexford are chasing their 11th title and their first since 1945. Dublin beat Wexford in last year’s Leinster quarter-final while the counties last clashed in the Leinster final on 2008 when Dublin won by 3-23 to 0-9. It was evenly contested in the first half with Dublin leading by 0-10 to 0-7 at half time but they ran away with the second half, out-scoring Wexford by 3-13 to 0-2.
Last Five Championship Clashes
2010 – Dublin 2-16 Wexford 0-15 (After extra-time)
2008 – Dublin 3-23 Wexford 0-9
2005 – Dublin 1-17 Wexford 2-10 2002 – Dublin 0-15 Wexford 1-10
2000 – Dublin 2-20 Wexford 1-8
Unsurprisingly, Bernard Brogan leads the way for Dublin, his 0-11 to date leaving him well clear of Diarmuid Connolly, who has 1-3 to his name.
Wexford have been free scoring and two of their players, Ciarán Lyng (1-17) and Ben Brosnan (0-20), have reached 20 points in the Championship, a single point behind the Championship’s leading scorer, Cork’s Daniel Goulding.
You can quote me on that
Dublin manager Pat Gilroy
"In comparison to the last two teams we played in the championship, their forwards are really firing well at the minute. That will be a big challenge for us.
"When you get to that stage of the championship, big scores won't be racked up by any team but certainly their forwards have been the in-form forwards of the championship so far and it will be a big challenge for our defence."
Wexford defender David Murphy
"This year there was no slapping ourselves on the back. It's full steam ahead, hopefully for a Leinster title. That's what we're looking for. There's a good atmosphere, good belief in the squad.
"These younger guys have no hang-ups - it's Leinster final, Leinster title, and it's coming from the top. Jason [Ryan, manager] is the most positive, single-minded person I have met and he thinks nothing but victory.
"I can see a big difference in it already from 2008 when we were just happy to be there."
2008 and all that. Wexford’s 23-point drubbing in the Leinster final three years ago just won’t go away. No matter that Wexford forced Dublin to extra-time in the quarter-final last year, Wexford’s detractors will continue to harp back to 2008. Wexford supporters will point out that Jason Ryan’s side recovered from that drubbing and actually progressed further than the Dubs that year and were only beaten by champions Tyrone in the semi-final.
Dublin’s victory over Kildare in the semi-final was, in the eyes of some, tainted by the last-minute free awarded to Bernard Brogan, which the Footballer of the Year took himself and won the game for his side. Brogan says he was fouled while Kildare were up in arms with the referee’s decision. In any event, Dublin were the better side and deserved to win; a big win over Wexford would put that controversy to bed.
The Wexford attack. It’s not often you see two Wexford forwards near the top of the Championship scoring charts, but Ben Brosnan and Ciarán Lyng are in joint second place in the rankings, just behind Daniel Goulding of Cork, after scoring freely in their three games to date. Brosnan has been lethal from placed balls and Lyng’s left boot has been as reliable as ever. In total, Wexford have scored 7-52, a remarkable total by any standards, but the quality of the opposition they have faced on the weak side of the draw may have helped them along the way.
Key Battle: Rory O’Carroll v Ciarán Lyng
Lyng has been selected at number 11 but is expected to take up his usual role in a two-man full-forward line on Sunday (Colm Morris will draft back to around the middle of the field), where he will most likely face Rory O’Carroll. Lyng is the oil that makes the Wexford attacking machine move so smoothly. Not only is he prolific and blessed with a quality left foot, Lyng, a former soccer star with Preston in England, is also capable of creating space and chances for his colleagues, as he demonstrated in the semi-final win over Carlow. However, the St Martin’s man is facing a much tougher opponent in O’Carroll this Sunday. With far less space available, the question is can Lyng play his usual influential role?
The winners go into the All-Ireland quarter-finals, while the losers go into the draw for Round 4 of the Qualifiers, where they will face one of the Round 3 winners.
Wexford are unchanged, while Dublin have brought Eamon Fennell into midfield in place of the injured Michael Dara Macauley.
Dublin: S Cluxton; M Fitzsimons, R O’Carroll, P Conlon, J McCarthy, G Brennan, K Nolan; D Bastick, E Fennell; P Flynn, A Brogan, B Cullen, E O’Gara, D Connolly, B Brogan
Wexford: A Masterson; J Wadding, G Molloy, B Malone; A Flynn, D Murphy, A Doyle; R Quinlivan, D Waters; S Roche, C Lyng, B Brosnan; C Morris, E Bradley, R Barry.