Dublin lay down summer marker with rout of Wexford
Ger Cunningham?s side have 10 points to spare in Walsh Cup decider
Dublin captain Liam Rushe lifts the Walsh Cup after the victory over Wexford at Croke Park. Photograph: Tommy Grealy/Inpho
Dublin 1-22 Wexford 1-12
Championship first blood was claimed by Dublin at Croke Park as the Sky Blues cruised to a seventh Bord na Mona Walsh Cup hurling title with a 10-point win over Wexford.
Paul Ryan’s 10-point haul was significant as the Blues capped strong pre-season form with silverware, their third success in the competition since 2011.
Equally significant was the fact that the sides will return to Croke Park in May for a Leinster quarter-final tie and if Dublin can repeat this performance they will fancy their summer chances.
They were opened up a little easy at times in the first half but improved as the game wore on and Eamonn Dillon capped a thrilling month for him personally with a 55th-minute goal.
Boss Ger Cunningham made five changes to the officially published Dublin line-up. Fionn Ó Riain Broin came in at wing-back while the Treacy brothers, Daire Plunkett and David O’Callaghan all started up front.
O’Callaghan got Dublin off the mark with a second-minute point and they were three clear by the sixth minute.
But Wexford were back within a point at 0-3 to 0-2 after the quarter-hour mark and should have been at least level.
Diarmuid O’Keeffe had a third Wexford goal attempt that Rushe cleared off the line and Dooley also denied David Dunne.
Dublin had fewer chances but were more clinical and reopened their three-point lead at the half-hour mark, 0-7 to 0-4.
Dublin scored six points without reply in total before half-time to take a slightly flattering 0-11 to 0-4 lead.
But there was no doubting their dominance after the break and they put the result to bed in the third quarter.
Dublin led by 10 points when McGovern fielded and blasted expertly beyond Dooley but Dillon responded moments later with Dublin’s goal.
DUBLIN: C Dooley; J Boland, L Rushe, O Gough; F Ó Riain Broin (0-1), C Crummey, J McCaffrey (0-1); R McBride, N McMorrow (0-1); D Plunkett (0-1), P Ryan (0-10, eight frees, one 65), D Treacy (0-3); S Treacy (0-1), D O’Callaghan (0-3), E Dillon (1-1).
Subs: R Hardy for Boland (32 mins), M Schutte for Hardy (36 mins), S Reilly for Ryan (66 mins).
WEXFORD: M Fanning; J Breen, M O’Hanlon, A Kenny; A Shore (0-1), L Ryan, D O’Keeffe; L Chin (0-1), H Kehoe (0-6, six frees); A Nolan, S Tomkins (0-1), P Morris; C Dunbar (0-2, one sideline), L Óg McGovern (1-0), D Dunne (0-1).
Subs: J O’Connor for Morris (10 mins), A Maddock for Nolan (48 mins), B Carton for Dunne (66 mins)
Referee: J Keenan (Wicklow).