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All-Ireland SHC: Wexford march on

Tom Cuddy, Laois, and Tomás Kinsella, Wexford, in All-Ireland SHC action. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Tom Cuddy, Laois, and Tomás Kinsella, Wexford, in All-Ireland SHC action. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

All-Ireland SHC Preliminary Quarter-Final

Wexford 0-32 Laois 0-20

By Barry McEvoy at Laois Hire O'Moore Park

Wexford march on to the quarter-finals of the All-Ireland after a 12-point win over Laois in front of a sea of purple and gold in the stands and terraces of Portlaoise.

Wexford supporters turned out in their thousands to support Keith Rossiter's men and roared every score over the bar and cheered every sub like it was a match winning goal.

Lee Chin and Conor McDonald starred for the visitors, combining for 16 points in two excellent performances.

Laois won't be disappointed with their showing as they kept up with Wexford for a lot of the contest, but Wexford's ability to score from range proved to be the difference in the end.

The Laois back line defended mightily on occasion to ensure they kept a clean sheet, while Aaron Dunphy's scoring from dead balls was top quality.

The visitors took an early lead through Cian Byrne and Conor McDonald, but they survived a scare in between when Jer Quinlan was hauled down for a penalty, however Mark Fanning denied his opposite number Enda Rowland with a save in his bottom left corner.

Aaron Dunphy and Picky Maher combined for four points in the opening quarter for Laois, but a couple of Lee Chin frees kept the sides level and excellent scores from Conor Hearne and Simon Donohoe saw Wexford go ahead by two.

Aidan Corby struck for Laois with a long range effort on 15 minutes, but Wexford would rampage for the next 10 with seven unanswered.

McDonald, Chin, Liam Og McGovern, Tomas Kinsella and Cian Byrne were amongst the scorers in the rout, with two attempts from McDonald under intense pressure out wide being the picks of the litter.

Laois saw a number of efforts go awry before Dunphy and Maher were on the mark again, but Chin hit back with another brace of frees as Wexford continued to apply pressure with impeccable passing from the back line into the forwards.

The final five minutes of the first half were tight with Laois arguably taking the upper hand with some dangerous attacks from Aidan Corby.

Dunphy slotted four frees in that period in response to Chin, McGovern and Damien Reck to make it 0-18 to 0-11 at the break.

The opening scores of the second half came by way of Rory O'Connor and Lee Chin.

A trio of frees split the posts from Dunphy early in the half, but Keith Rossiter's side stayed ticking at the other end through Chin, McDonald and Cian Byrne.

A flurry of five scores in a row for Wexford saw them go 13 points ahead by the 55th minute as the O'Moore men struggled to get out of their own half for that 10 minute period.

A mini resurgence from Willie Maher's charges saw them rack up three points from play on the trot from Dunphy, Cody Comerford and an epic effort from Ryan Mullaney after intercepting a pass on his own 21 and charging up field.

After a ling seven minute scoreless period for Wexford they found their rhythm once again and slotted through Hearne and McDonald before a brace of frees from Seamus Casey.

Laois had a couple of chances at goal late on denied and had to settle for a trio of Dunphy frees before Hearne's third of the game sealed the win for the visitors.

Scorers for Wexford: Lee Chin 0-11 (5fs, 2 65s), Conor McDonald 0-5, Cian Byrne 0-3, Liam Og McGovern 0-3, Conor Hearne 0-3, Seamus Casey 0-2 (2fs), Tomas Kinsella 0-1, Simon Donohoe 0-1, Damien Reck 0-1, Rory O'Connor 0-1, Corey Dunbar Byrne 0-1.

Scorers for Laois: Aaron Dunphy 0-15 (12fs, 1 65), Stephen Maher 0-2, Aidan Corby 0-1, Cody Comerford 0-1, Ryan Mulamey 0-1.

Wexford: Mark Fanning; Shane Reck, Conor Foley, Eoin Ryan; Simon Donohoe, Damien Reck, Matthew O’Hanlon; Conor Hearne, Tomas Kinsella; Liam Óg McGovern, Lee Chin, Charlie McGuckin; Cian Byrne, Conor McDonald, Rory O’Connor.

Subs: Corey Dunbar Byrne for Kinsella (45), Cathal Dunbar for Byrne (50), Kevin Foley for Chin (56), Seamus Casey for McGovern (67), Darragh Carley for McDonald (70).

Laois: Enda Rowland; Diarmaid Conway, Ryan Mullaney, Donnchadh Hartnett; Ian Shanahan, Podge Delaney, Tom Cuddy; Aidan Corby, David Dooley; Gearoid Lynch, Paddy Purcell, Aaron Dunphy; Jer Quinlan, Picky Maher, Tomas Keyes.

Subs: Fiachra C-Fennell for Conway (20, inj), Cody Comerford for Lynch (32), Martin Phelan for Maher (51), Ross King for Quinlan (57), John Lennon for Corby (62).

Referee: Shane Hynes (Galway).