Wexford hold out to see off Dublin as eyes turn to championship

Lee Chin’s freetaking proved to be the main threat for Davy Fitzgerald’s side

Wexford’s Lee Chin with Eoghan O’Donnell and Cian O’Callaghan of Dublin. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Wexford’s Lee Chin with Eoghan O’Donnell and Cian O’Callaghan of Dublin. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Wexford 0-25 Dublin 1-18

Despite Davy Fitzgerald being confined to the stand, Wexford still managed to fashion out a four point victory over a lethargic Dublin outfit in this final round Division 1B Allianz national hurling league game at Chadwicks Wexford Park on Saturday.

The scoreline will be the last thing on the respective managers’ minds when they reflect on the final outcome, but both will no doubt be seeking huge improvement for their championship openers in two weeks’ time.

This was a final warm-up game for both sides. Wexford will be concerned at the lack of goals, particularly their inability to create a single goalscoring opportunity, being mainly reliant on the freetaking of Lee Chin to keep their noses in front for most of the game.

Dublin also showed a lack of creativity up front with midfielder Donal Burke once again their main marksman, with the Na Fianna clubman also scoring a 50th minute penalty that gave them a brief glimpse of hope, but they were unable to build on this as the attack as a unity failed to really trouble the home defence.

It was Wexford goalkeeper Mark Fanning who opened the scoring with a long range pointed free, while it was Dublin corner-back Cian O’Callaghan who advanced forward to bring the sides level after just three minutes.

Very little was to separate the sides, although Dublin would have been expecting to make more of their possession when assisted by the stiff breeze. Chin with a fine point from play edged his side back in front, but the Dublin response was swift with two quickfire points from Burke, free, and Daire Gray to lead 0-3 to 0-2, after 10 minutes.

Neither side could manage to create any real daylight and it was the visitors who led 0-5 to 0-4 after 15 minutes, while Dee O’Keeffe and Danny Sutcliffe exchanged points for the Dubs to hold the minimum lead, 0-6 to 0-5, at the first water break.

Following the break it was Wexford who managed to pull away as Rory O’Connor chipped in with some excellent points, while Chin continued to punish indiscipline in the Dubs defence sending over a variety of frees. For Dublin, Burke’s frees managed to keep the visitors’ scoreboard ticking over, but it was Wexford who led 0-15 to 0-8 at the interval.

Dublin showed more urgency in their play on the resumption with full-back Eoghan O’Donnell driving his side on from defence with some darting long runs. Burke, free, and Fergal Whitley reduced the deficit with points, but it was Chin who managed to stop the flow of play with a pointed free.

Wexford still led 0-20 to 0-14 after 49 minutes when Dublin were handed a real lifeline. Cian Bolan was fouled as he cut in on goal, resulting in 10 minutes in the sin bin for sub Aidan Nolan. Burke coolly sent the resulting penalty low past goalkeeper Fanning, to leave just three points separating the sides, 0-20 to 1-14, after 50 minutes.

Wexford claimed back the initiative through a Connal Flood point but with both Burke and Fanning exchanging pointed frees, it was Wexford who followed with successive points from Nolan and sub Mikie Dwyer to lead 0-24 to 1-16 with seven minutes remaining.

As the sides played down the clock content to see out the game, the final passage of seven minutes produced just a single point apiece, sub Conor Devitt on target for the eventual winners, while Dub sub Oisín O’Rourke had the final say with a pointed free, with Wexford comfortable enough winners in the end.

WEXFORD: Mark Fanning (0-4, four frees); Shane Reck, Liam Ryan, Simon Donohoe; Joe O’Connor, Gavin Bailey, Shaun Murphy; Diarmuid O’Keefe (0-1), Liam Og McGovern; Rory O’Connor (0-3), Conor McDonald (0-1), Paul Morris (0-3); Lee Chin (0-10, seven frees), Jack O’Connor, Kevin Foley.

Subs: Conor Firman for Reck (23), Aidan Nolan (0-1) for Foley (h/t), Mike Dwyer (0-1) for Jack O’Connor (45), Conor Devitt (0-1) for Joe O’Connor (55), Harry Kehoe for Bailey (65).

DUBLIN: Seán Brennan; James Madden, Eoghan O’Donnell, Cian O’Callaghan (0-1); Daire Gray (0-1), Liam Rushe, Conor Burke; Riain McBride, Donal Burke (1-10, 1-0 pen, nine frees); Danny Sutcliffe (0-2), Chris Crummey, Mark Schutte; Cian Boland (0-1), Ronan Hayes, Eamon Dillon.

Subs: Fergal Whitely for (0-1) for Schutte (36), Jake Malone (0-1) for Chris Crummey (h/t), Paddy Smyth for Davy Keogh (42), Paul Crummey for Schutte (64), Oisín O’Rourke (0-1, free) for Keogh (70).

Referee: Cathal McAllister (Cork).

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