Leinster SHC: Wexford too strong for Laois
Leinster Senior Hurling Championship
WEXFORD 5-31 LAOIS 1-23
By Ronan Fagan at UPMC Nowlan Park
Wexford set up a mouthwatering Leinster semi-final clash against defending provincial champions Kilkenny.
Laois’s tactic of dropping deep was exploited by Wexford as they sauntered clear by 1-20 to 0-10 at half-time, and second-half goals from Conor McDonald (2), Lee Chin – on his 100th appearance – and substitute David Dunne completed the one-sided victory.
Wexford boss Davy Fitzgerald will be fully aware that the challenge ramps up considerably next Saturday against Kilkenny, while Laois face Antrim in a mammoth assignment in the qualifiers.
Wexford had ample room at the back from where to launch continuous raids and effectively reduce the fixture to nothing more than a practice game by the interval.
Defenders Kevin Foley (2) and Shaun Murphy along with ‘keeper Mark Fanning (free) were among the target-finders as Wexford recorded eleven different scorers while amassing a 1-20 to 0-10 interval advantage.
The first goal arrived in the 35th-minute when Lee Chin turned-over a Laois puck-out and fed Rory O’Connor for the simple finish.
Laois had threatened the Wexford net twice during the second quarter, with Ross King and Willie Dunphy both being thwarted.
Conor McDonald piled on the misery with a couple of third-quarter goals – rocketing a ground shot to the net in the 41st-minute (2-22 to 0-13) before opening-up a 3-27 to 0-17 gap with a lethal finish after 53 minutes.
Substitute David Dunne paved the way for Lee Chin to put away a tidy goal on 53 minutes.
And while Laois sub Ciarán Comerford immediately hit back with a consolation goal, Wexford continued to fill flex their scoring muscle - Chin supplying substitute Dunne with the ammunition to net a 5-28 to 1-18 advantage after 59 minutes in a consummate victory.
Scorers for Wexford: Rory O’Connor 1-7, Conor McDonald 2-4, Paul Morris 0-5 (1f), Lee Chin 1-2 (0-1f), Kevin Foley 0-3, David Dunne 1-0, Diarmuid O’Keeffe, Mikie Dwyer, Liam Óg McGovern 0-2 each, Mark Fanning (free), Shaun Murphy, Gavin Bailey, Cathal Dunbar 0-1 each.
Scorers for Laois: PJ Scully 0-8 (5fs, 1 ‘65), Charles Dwyer 0-4, Ciarán Comerford 1-1, Paddy Purcell 0-3, Ciarán Collier, Ross King 0-2 each, Jack Kelly, Lee Cleere, Matthew Whelan 0-1 each.
WEXFORD: Mark Fanning; Simon Donohoe, Liam Ryan, Shane Reck; Gavin Bailey, Matthew O’Hanlon, Shaun Murphy; Diarmuid O’Keeffe, Liam Óg McGovern; Rory O’Connor, Mikie Dwyer, Kevin Foley; Paul Morris, Lee Chin, Conor McDonald.
Subs: Jack O’Connor for O’Keeffe (50); Connal Flood for Donohoe (54); David Dunne for Dwyer (54); Conor Firman for Bailey (61); Cathal Dunbar for Chin (67).
LAOIS: Enda Rowland; Donnacha Hartnett, Seán Downey, Jack Kelly; Stephen Maher, Ciarán McEvoy, Ryan Mullaney; Fiachra C. Fennell, James Ryan; Charles Dwyer, Paddy Purcell, Ciarán Collier, PJ Scully, Willie Dunphy, Ross King.
Subs: Eanna Lyons for Ryan (HT); Lee Cleere for Hartnett (47); Aaron Dunphy for W. Dunphy (53); Ciarán Comerford for Purcell (53); Matthew Whelan for Downey (54).
REFEREE: Thomas Walsh (Waterford).