Five-star Wexford hand out Tullamore thrashing to Offaly

Davy Fitzgerald’s side continue excellent form as Offaly finish with 12 men

Wexford’s Jack O’Connor celebrates after scoring a goal in the Leinster SHC round-robin game against Offaly at   Bord na Mona O’Connor Park in Tullamore. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Wexford’s Jack O’Connor celebrates after scoring a goal in the Leinster SHC round-robin game against Offaly at Bord na Mona O’Connor Park in Tullamore. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

 

Offaly 2-9 Wexford 5-24

Wexford produced a five-star show as they annihilated a shockingly disjointed Offaly in Bord na Mona O’Connor Park in Tullamore.

While it is not mathematically certain, they took a giant step towards the semi-finals with a really top-class display that left the home side floundering and searching for answers.

Wexford played some sensational hurling as they simply overpowered Offaly in all sectors. The bare statistics tell an indisputable tale: 5-24 to 2-9 and 17 wides compared to seven.

They were on top in every sector and their pace, power and ability to brush past tackles left Offaly chasing shadows for much of the evening.

The dominance of Wexford was extraordinary as Offaly had targeted this as a game they could win in their desperate fight against relegation to the Joe McDonagh Cup.

Against Galway and Kilkenny, Offaly had given somewhat respectable performances but there was absolutely no consoling factors for them here. They now face into a must win game against Dublin in Parnell Park on Saturday next and Offaly’s cause was not helped by second half red cards for Oisín Kelly and sub Ronan Hughes as they finished with 12 men after Seán Gardiner had been sent off for picking up two yellow cards in the first half.

Manager Kevin Martin faces a big challenge to raise morale this week but Wexford will have no such problems for their home game against Galway next weekend.

They were highly motivated for this one and tore into it with abandon from the start. Playing against the wind in the first half, Wexford didn’t allow Offaly one moment to settle and they had the result in the bag from an early stage.

A first-minute goal from Conor McDonald put them in the driving seat. Offaly were shockingly loose and non-existent marking allowed Aidan Nolan in for a goal in the 12th minute to give them a 2-5 to 0-2 lead.

It all unravelled horrifically for Offaly before the interval as Gardiner was dismissed for picking up two cards in the space of three minutes from the 30th to 33rd minutes, both resulting in Wexford penalties . The first was saved by Eoghan Cahill from Aidan Nolan but he could do nothing with the second one as Wexford goalkeeper Mark Fanning wrong-footed him.

Wexford led by 3-12 to 2-6 at half-time and goals from Lee Chin and the outstanding Jack O’Connor pushed them 5-13 to 0-8 clear by the 43rd minute. After this Wexford eased off, running in a spate of subs as Offaly got consolation goals from Oisín Kelly in the 46th minute and Shane Dooley deep in injury time.

OFFALY: E Cahill; P Delaney, S Gardiner, B Conneely; D Egan, P Camon, D O’Toole-Greene; S Kinsella, D King; O Kelly (1-1), C Mahon, B Murphy; S Dooley (1-5, five frees), J Bergin (0-1), K Dunne (0-1).

Subs: C Egan for Mahon (h/t), T Geraghty (0-1) for Murphy (h/t), D Currams for Kinsella (42 mins), P Rigney for Conneely (47), R Hughes for Bergin (53). Yellow cards: S Gardiner (2), D King, D Currams, T Geraghty, D O’Toole-Greene, P Camon. Red cards: O Kelly and R Hughes.

WEXFORD: M Fanning (1-0, pen); D Reck (0-1), L Ryan, S Donohoe; P Foley, M O’Hanlon, D O’Keeffe (0-1); K Foley (0-1), S Murphy; L Chin (1-4, four frees), A Nolan (1-1), J O’Connor (1-3); P Morris (0-2), R O’Connor (0-7, four frees, one 65), C McDonald (1-1).

Subs: C Firman for Donohoe (45 mins), L Og McGovern for McDonald (50), H Kehoe (0-3, free) for R O’Connor (50), W Devereux for Morris (53), D Dunne for Chin (64). Yellow cards: C McDonald, M O’Hanlon.

Referee: J McGrath (Westmeath).

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