Wexford’s desire to seize moment leaves Dunne walking tall
“We needed a break. I needed a break. Everyone needed a break,” says manager
Cork’s Damien Cahalane and Conor O’Sullivan tackle Wexford’s Podge Doran at Semple Stadium in Thurles. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
Wexford manager Liam Dunne said he was delighted to finally see the breaks falling his way as Wexford beat Cork in Semple Stadium. Dunne conceded that his side were the ‘easy picking’ of the draw, but a first championship win over Cork in 60 years has his side back in the quarter-finals after missing out last season.
A late goal from Cork substitute Daniel Kearney looked to have wiped out all the positive work of the Wexford men as they fell behind for the first time in 45 minutes, but Dunne could barely contain his delight as the masterful Lee Chin and Liam Óg McGovern both hit a couple of points each in a stylish finale from his side.
“I am thrilled. We were the easy picking of the draw on form, if we’re being honest. I am delighted because we put in a really good performance last week and we weren’t going to get any credit for that,” said Dunne.
“We backed it up with another good performance. I am delighted with the victory because sometimes you need a break and we haven’t had too many this year with the way things have gone with injuries and different guys not wanting to commit to it. The boys stood up and I am delighted for them.”
In Conor McDonald, Wexford had a consistent source of scores and his 13 in total went a long way to keeping Cork at arm’s length.
In the early stage it appeared as if the dangerous Cork attack would overrun Wexford, but after they fired six points from play in the opening 15 minutes their scores dried up as the Wexford defence got on top.
“Twenty-one scoreless minutes after that cost Cork, but Dunne knew they were a constant threat.
“They have forwards there that are going to punish you any day. But I thought we coped really well.
“The goal was a sucker punch, but to be fair, Lee Chin responded with a point straightaway, which I thought had a settling effect on the team. Liam chipped in with another two scores off his left side.
“Look, I think we deserved it, to tell you the truth. We needed a break. I needed a break. Everyone needed a break. There has been a lot of hard work gone in over the last couple of years. People don’t realise there has been a phenomenal transition of the team over the last two years.”
Wexford deserved to lead by 0-12 to 0-9 at half-time after that flurry of scores, but three points in added-time before the interval – two from Conor Leahane – meant Cork were never far away.
With Patrick Horgan settling his team with five frees after the break, Kearney’s goal following Paudie Foley’s error edged Cork ahead.
But they were unable to finish the job and their season ended abruptly.
“They cleaned us out on the ground as well and that’s all about desire and work-rate,” said Cork selector Pat Ryan.
“I suppose as players, they’ll have to take responsibility but we have to take it as management as well.
“We’re putting them out there, maybe we didn’t put the right desire into them. We talked about it, playing as a team and we created some very good scores when we did play as a team but there were just too many times that we took the wrong option.
They played as individuals as opposed to a team and that was the issue.”
WEXFORD: M Fanning (0-1, free); E Moore (0-1, free), M O’Hanlon, J Breen; D O’Keeffe, P Foley, E Martin; J O’Connor (0-1), E Conroy; L Óg McGovern (0-2), L Chin (0-4), P Doran; P Morris (0-1), C McDonald (0-13, 10 frees), D Dunne. Subs: H Kehoe for Doran (35 mins), A Kenny for Martin (43 mins), S Donohoe for O’Connor (63 mins), C Dunbar for Moore (66 mins), A Nolan for Morris (73 mins).
CORK: A Nash; C O’Sullivan, D Cahalane, S McDonnell; A Walsh C Joyce, M Ellis; B Cooper (0-1), W Egan (0-1); L O’Farrell (0-3), S Harnedy (0-1), J Cronin, A Cadagon (0-1), P Horgan (0-7, six frees), C Lehane (0-3). Subs: D Kearney (1-0) for Cronin (31 mins), B Lawton for Cooper (55 mins), S Kingston for Harnedy (60 mins), C Murphy for Joyce (63 mins), M Coleman for McDonnell (68 mins).
Referee: Barry Kelly (Westmeath).