Wexford 1-11 Monaghan 3-23
Malachy O’Rourke will have been more than pleased watching on on Saturday as he saw his Monaghan side totally demolish Wexford in their Round 2B qualifier.
Wexford finished the game with 12 players, with Ciarán Lyng the first to be dismissed for a second yellow card on 62 minutes. With Wexford having used their their six substitutes, Adrian Flynn was flashed a black card four minutes later, soon to be followed by John Leacy who was shown a straight red on 70 minutes after coming off the bench himself.
There was no hangover for Monaghan following their Ulster championship exit to Down as they dominated this game, leaving Wexford reeling with a succession of well taken scores.
Having gained the ascendancy early in the game the manner in which they executed their moves against a Wexford side, who for most parts had 10 to 12 players behind the ball, suggests that they were a side hurting and it was Wexford who bore the full brunt of that anger.
Monaghan led 2-10 to 0-5 at half-time, but the game was well on the way to being over by the 10th minute when corner back Fintan Kelly got on the end of a sweeping move to finish to the net leaving them leading, 1-3 to 0-1. PJ Banville free had opened the scoring after two minutes, the one and only time Wexford led in the game.
With midfielder Kieran Hughes kicking over two magnificent long-range points, Monaghan's second goal arrived from Owen Duffy after 26 minutes with Lyng, Banville and sub Ben Brosnan posting points for the home side.
Wexford were unable to respond in the second half as the new Monaghan midfield pairing of Kieran Hughes and Neil McAdam provided the platform for a steady supply of quality ball to the attack. Regardless of how Wexford tried, there was never any doubting the eventual winner’s superiority as they led 2-11 to 0-5 five minutes into the second half when Brosnan gave the home side a lift with a goal, thanks to some fine approach play from Kevin O’Grady.
While Brosnan and Lyng pointed a free apiece, Monaghan were refusing to concede as they kicked over some excellent points before adding a third goal through Kieran Duffy. The second-half substitute finished a Conor McCarthy pass low to the net, extending his side into a 3-18 to 1-8 lead with 10 minutes remaining.
“There is always a hangover from losing in the championship,” O’Rourke said afterwards. “We lost to Down, had to return to the training ground, put the heads down and prepare for the qualifiers. It was not easy but the boys really got down to the task facing them so we are delighted to get the victory.
“It was a case of approaching the qualifiers in a positive frame of mind. We did not want to go out like last year when we lost to Longford in the opening qualifier round. We always knew Wexford would be up for the game, but we also knew that once we settled, kept patient, we would break them down. The first goal was crucial and we settled after that to take control of the game.
"After Down it was a case of putting the head down. We have a strong squad with everyone playing for their places. Darren Freeman came in today. He has been back training for a couple of months, he got his chance and took it. He could be first man on the next day for they (players) are all fighting for their places."
Wexford’s season is over and Manager Seamus McEneany must be satisfied with promotion from Division 4 in his first season in charge.
"Look, Monaghan were in a different class," he said. "They have been playing Division 1 football for the last 10 years and the gulf in class was there for all to see. We never envisaged ending up with 12 players, but it was borne out of frustration. I have nothing to say about the referee, it had no bearing on it. Conor Lane refereed last year's All-Ireland final and is top class.
“This is a huge setback for Wexford football having been promoted from Division 4.”
WEXFORD: S Roche; B Malone, J Rossiter, M Furlong; E Nolan, J Wadding, T Rossiter; D Waters, N Rossiter; K O'Grady, J Firman, A Flynn (0-1); C Lyng (0-3, three frees), C Carty, P J Banville (0-2, one free).
Subs: B Brosnan 1-5 (three frees, one 45) for E Nolan (b/c, 17 mins), M Dwyer for Carty (h/t), J Tubritt for Firman (h/t), J Leacy for Wadding (39 mins), C Kehoe for T Rossiter (40 mins), P Curtis for Kehoe (47 mins). Sent off: Ciaran Lyng (62 mins), J Lacey (70 mins).
MONAGHAN: R Beggan; F Kelly (1-0), D Wylie, R Wylie; C Walshe (0-1), D Mone, N McAdam; K Hughes (0-2), K O'Connell; S Carey (0-3), G Doogan (0-2), O Duffy (1-1); D Malone (0-1), J McCarron (0-3, one free), C McManus (0-1).
Subs: D Freeman (0-3)for McManus (b/c, 28 mins), K Duffy (1-1) for D Wylie (h/t), C McCarthy (0-4, two frees) for Carey (47 mins), T Kerr for McCarron (47 mins), D Hughes for K Hughes (50 mins), D Ward (0-1) for O'Connell (65 mins).
Referee: C Lane (Cork).