Wexford 5-31 Laois 1-23
Wexford are very much back on track as they handed Laois a 20-point defeat in this totally one-sided Leinster senior hurling championship quarter-final at UPMC Nowlan Park, Kilkenny, on Saturday evening.
Having had a mixed league campaign where their game was filled with inconsistent display, Davy Fitzgerald’s side finally showed the flair, attacking power, and finishing skills to leave this game over as a contest from very early in the first half.
Wexford’s finishing was exemplary, for of the 5-31 final tally, 5-28 came from play, while during the course of the 70 minutes they struck just 13 wides, in contrast to their opponents, who had a wide tally of 19, 15 in the second period.
While Laois won the toss they chose to play into the stiff breeze, with the result they found themselves 0-6 to 0-1 adrift after just 12 minutes, with Rory O’Connor in sparkling form in the Wexford attack.
Their dominance was to continue to the water break when they led 0-9 to 0-2, while PJ Scully pointed frees gave Laois brief hope, but the crucial opening goal came after 34 minutes.
Laois tried to play a short puck-out through the lines, but Lee Chin intercepted a misplaced pass to race through the left side of the defence before placing the ball across the face of the goal for Rory O’Connor to apply the finishing touch, leaving them leading 1-20 to 0-10 at the interval, with the end result well and truly decided.
Laois managed to increase the tempo of their game on the resumption with a Scully pointed free reducing the deficit. While Paul Morris replied with a well-taken point, Laois managed further points through Paddy Purcell and Scully, to leave Wexford still leading 1-21 to 0-13 after 35 minutes.
While Laois showed some neat approach play, their finishing was dreadful, so it was no surprise when Wexford regained the initiative, with a Conor McDonald goal on 41 minutes ending the Laois resistance.
Wexford were intent on finishing the game with a flourish which they managed as they added further goals through McDonald, his second of the game, to be followed by majors from Chin and sub David Dunne, while Ciarán Comerford replied with his side's solitary goal in between.
But in the end it was Wexford who set up a semi-final clash with Kilkenny in O’Moore Park, Portlaoise, next Saturday.
WEXFORD: M Fanning (0-1, free); S Reck, L Ryan, S Donohoe; G Bailey (0-1), M O'Hanlon, S Murphy (0-1); D O'Keeffe (0-2), L Óg McGovern (0-2); P Morris (0-5, one free), L Chin (1-2, one free), C McDonald (2-4); M Dwyer (0-2), R O'Connor (1-7), K Foley (0-3).
Subs: Jack O'Connor for O'Keeffe (49); C Flood for Donohoe, D Dunne (1-0) for Dwyer (both 54); C Firman for Bailey (60); C Dunbar (0-1) for Chin (66).
LAOIS: E Rowland; J Ryan, S Downey, D Hartnett; SMaher, C McEvoy, R Mullaney; F Fennell, J Kelly (0-1); P Purcell (0-3), C Dwyer (0-2), C Collier (0-2); P J Scully (0-8, five frees, one 65), W Dunphy, R King (0-3).
Subs: E Lyons for Ryan (h/t); L Cleere (0-1) for Hartnee (47); A Dunphy for W Dunphy, C Comerford (1-2) for Purcell (both 52); M Whelan (0-1) for Downey (53).
Referee: T Walsh (Waterford).