Dublin and Wexford both happy enough to get another crack after error-ridden draw

Late scoring spree from Dublin is not enough at Wexford Park as Guiney earns home side a replay with last-gasp free

Wexford’s Eoin Quigley (left)  tackles John McCaffrey of Dublin during the Leinster Hurling Championship quarter-final at Wexford Park. James Crombie/Inpho

Wexford’s Eoin Quigley (left) tackles John McCaffrey of Dublin during the Leinster Hurling Championship quarter-final at Wexford Park. James Crombie/Inpho


Wexford 1-17 Dublin 1-17: Ryan O’Dwyer stood on the grass when it was all over looking like an extra from a splatstick movie. Nose painted all over his face, blood as the primer. His number 30 shirt stuck to him, the third jersey he’d bled through over the course of the evening. Yet as kids flooded the pitch for autographs and photos in the setting sun, all O’Dwyer had was a rueful grin. “Can’t believe I didn’t get a free,” he cracked.

It was that kind of night in Wexford Park. Plenty of blood and guts, a dash of laissez-faire refereeing and both sides delighted to get another day out of it. If there was a sense of two bald men fighting over a comb to proceedings, it did nothing to quell the fever in the 7,512 crowd. Jack Guiney’s late free to equalise for Wexford shook the stand and sent everyone off into the night happy enough.

Either manager
It’s not that they were particularly enthused by the result, more by the prospect of coming on for the run. Saturday’s replay will be in Parnell Park, the winners of which are down to face Kilkenny the following week. It’s fair to say there wasn’t a lot for either manager here by way of encouragement ahead of such a searching assignment.

“I think by the standard of hurling both teams needed it,” said Anthony Daly. “But it was probably an exciting game to watch all the same. Neither of the two teams would be doing well in a Leinster semi-final unless they can up it from now. So hopefully the match will stand to both teams and whoever wins it will go forward a stronger unit.”

It was a rum sort of game in that Dublin were probably the better side but Wexford were definitely the more dangerous.

Daly was mystified afterwards as to what brought on the complete systems failure in attack, so serious as to see his whole full-forward line replaced. For years, David Treacy and Dotsy O’Callaghan have been the pasta and rice of Dublin’s scoring tallies. On Saturday night they offered only empty calories, both of them hooked to the sideline with 25 minutes to go.

By contrast, Wexford had Guiney and Gareth Sinnott in full cry, with Rory Jacob a darting, jinking presence throughout as well. Sinnott ended the day with four points from play, three of them coming in the final 15 minutes just as the jury was arriving at its decision. That it wasn’t enough to avoid deadlock was hardly his fault.

Distant prospect
In any case, level scores would have seemed like distant prospect to Wexford for much of the early doings. Dublin were 0-6 to 0-1 up and cruising after 11 minutes, Danny Sutcliffe already having scored the point of the day and Joey Boland steady as the rent with his frees.

But even as they led, there was still a sense that Dublin were having trouble making the ball stick in the inside forward line. Conor McCormack knifed an early point but Tomás Waters and Keith Rossiter quietly assumed control thereafter – helped, it must be said, by some see-no-evil refereeing from Diarmuid Kirwan.

At the other end, Guiney, Jacob and Sinnott all slung over points to close the margin and Dublin were relying on long-rage frees from Boland to keep them at bay. The arrival of the athletic Lee Chin after 27 minutes gave Wexford added thrust from midfield and by the time Guiney flashed home a goal on the half-hour mark, it was reasonable to posit that it had been coming. Eoin Quigley zipped through the Dublin defence before dishing off to Guiney, whose turn and strike whistled past Gary Maguire.

It put Wexford 1-8 to 0-10 ahead and roused Dublin into action. Sutcliffe’s third point regained the lead before the break and they pushed on soon after the restart with another three from Boland. But though they led by a couple with 20 minutes to go, Dublin still offered zero goal threat and it was increasingly obvious that they were going to need one.

Four points on the bounce from Sinnott, Jacob and Guiney (two) only reinforced the point. Daly knew some battlefield surgery was needed quickly so he sent Eamon Dillon for Treacy and Paul Ryan in for O’Callaghan, moving Conal Keaney up from centre-back to wing-forward as well. With Boland now missing frees for the first time all day, a timely Maguire save from Chin on the hour kept the margin at two points.

Enter another sub in the Dublin full-forward line, Mark Schutte battling for possession on the endline before scooping a handpass out to Dillon. His first-time pull made the net dance and with four minutes to play, Dublin were ahead. Sinnott and Ryan swapped scores before Guiney tied up the loose ends with the last puck.

WEXFORD: M Fanning; E Moore, T Waters, K Rossiter; R Kehoe, A Shore, C Kenny; H Kehoe (0-1), C O’Shaughnessy; G Sinnott (0-4), E Quigley, D Redmond; R Jacob (0-3), P Doran (0-1), J Guiney (1-8, 0-6 frees). Subs: L Chin for C O’Shaughnessy, 27 mins; P Morris for E Quigley, 51 mins; PJ Nolan for H Kehoe, 57 mins; G Moore for P Doran 69 mins

DUBLIN: G Maguire; N Corcoran, P Kelly, P Schutte; M Carton (0-2), C Keaney, S Durkin (0-1); J McCaffrey, J Boland (0-9, 0-8 frees); C McCormack (0-1), R O’Dwyer, D Sutcliffe (0-3); D O’Callaghan, D Treacy. Subs: E Dillon (1-0) for D Treacy, 44 mins; P Ryan (0-1) for D O’Callaghan, 46 mins; S Lambert for S Durkin, 56 mins; R Trainor for P Schutte, 56 mins; M Schutte for C McCormack, 64 mins

Referee: Diarmuid Kirwan (Cork)