Allianz HL D1: Wexford finish strongly
Allianz Hurling League Division One Group B
WEXFORD 2-14 DUBLIN 0-18
By Shane Stapleton at Croke Park
Jack O’Connor’s late goal set up 13-man Wexford’s two-point win over 14-man Dublin at Croke Park.
After a game which included the dismissals of Conor McDonald (straight red), Shaun Murphy and Eoghan O’Donnell (both two yellows) — it was Davy Fitzgerald’s men who came from four points down to steal the win.
Mattie Kenny’s side looked to have sealed the win when Ronan Hayes put the Dubs two up in injury time, but a breakaway goal from O’Connor and then a brace of Paul Morris points flipped the script.
The first half was two teams cancelling each other out, with a hint of shadow boxing ahead of their summer clash in Leinster.
Just seven of the 16 scores came from open play, as Hayes, Oisin O’Rorke and Paul Ryan for Dublin, along with Lee Chin and Morris for the Models, raised white flag with frees.
Mark Fanning found the net with a penalty on 31 minutes to put the visitors 1-4 to 0-6 ahead, with Morris then extending the lead with a point from play, but Davy Fitz’s men wouldn’t even get a shot off again before the break.
Kenny’s men hit back through Rian McBride (0-2), Donal Burke and a Ryan free to lead 0-10 to 1-5 — ending what had been a stop-start half.
The stalemate continued at the start of the second half as Dublin nudged a point further ahead — 0-14 to 1-8 — but then the niggly undercurrent in the game led to a rash of red cards.
Substitute Conor McDonald was given a straight red for connecting with Paddy Smyth, putting the visitors a man down with 15 to go.
That allowed more space for Dublin, and in particular replacement attacked Eamonn ‘Trollier’ Dillon who won a couple of converted frees and knocked over a beauty from the sideline.
Rory O’Connor led the fightback for Wexford with some nice scores from play, but when Shaun Murphy was given his marching orders for a second yellow, the 13-man Models looked down and out.
Dublin’s Eoghan O’Donnell was then shown the line on a second yellow with Rory O'Connor soon knocking over a free to reduce the deficit to one.
Hayes found the range in minute 72 but Wexford somehow found space in the Dublin defence from the puckout, allowing O’Connor to sear through and finish low to the net.
Cian Boland whipped a goal chance over and then teammate Hayes had a chance to level just after for Dublin, but was hooked brilliantly by Kevin Foley.
Morris, at the other end, took advantage of the space and sealed the win with two late scores — the last a 65.
Scorers for Wexford: Paul Morris 0-7 (4fs, 165) Rory O'Connor 0-4 (1f),Jack O’Connor and Mark Fanning (pen) 1-0 each Paudie Foley, Diarmuid O'Keeffe, and Lee Chin (f) 0-1 each.
Scorers for Dublin: Paul Ryan 0-8 (8fs), Rian McBride and Ronan Hayes (1f) 0-2 each, Eamonn Dillon, Cian Boland, James Madden, Chris Crummey, Donal Burke, and Oisin O'Rorke (f) 0-1 each.
WEXFORD: Mark Fanning; Conor Firman, Liam Ryan, Joe O'Connor; Damien Reck, Paudie Foley, Shaun Murphy; Kevin Foley, Diarmuid O'Keeffe; Aidan Rochford, Aidan Nolan, Lee Chin; Paul Morris, Michael Dwyer, Rory O'Connor.
Subs: Paudie Foley for K Foley (blood, 30-35); Paudie Foley for O’Hanlon (HT); Liam Og McGovern for Rochford (HT); Jack O’Connor for Chin (47); Conor McDonald for Dwyer (48); Cathal Dunbar for Nolan (69).
DUBLIN: Sean Brennan; Paddy Smyth, Eoghan O'Donnell, James Madden; Cian O'Callaghan, Daire Gray, Sean Moran; Chris Crummey, Jake Malone; Donal Burke, Rian McBride, Danny Sutcliffe; Oisin O'Rorke, Ronan Hayes, Davy Keogh.
Subs: Paul Ryan for O’Rorke (14); Cian Boland for Sutcliffe (43); Eamonn Dillon for Keogh (53); Andrew Dunphy for O’Callaghan (58); Tomas Connolly for Madden (63).
REFEREE: Johnny Murphy (Limerick).