WEXFORD MANAGER Liam Dunne declared himself satisfied with his young side's comprehensive victory over N.U.I.G. in this totally one-sided Walsh Cup Senior hurling quarter-final played at Páirc Uí Síocháin, Gorey, on Saturday last.
Class was the deciding factor as the young home side were far superior throughout the 70 minutes. And given such dominance, their winning margin would have been far greater had they availed of two more goalscoring opportunities close to the finish.
But still, credit to the side for the manner in which they reeled off the scores, particularly through the opening half when a feature of their play was the ability to pick off long-range points, a factor that helped them take advantage from very early on.
The platform was laid by the Wexford defenders who totally dominated their opponents. Corner-backs Liam Ryan and Eoin Conroy, having their first outings at this level, fitted in well beside the experienced Keith Rossiter, getting in timely interceptions and well-placed clearances.
A youthful Wexford side was inspired from the half-back line comprised James Tonks, Lee Chin and Diarmuid O'Keeffe. The trio were totally on top of their games, continually driving the side forward, with a particular feature of their play being their well-directed deliveries, while O'Keeffe into the bargain struck over two superb long-range points. With Ian Byrne, Paul Morris and Shane Tomkins shining in the attack, they dominated the opening 35 minutes as N.U.I.G. struggled despite the best efforts of John Hanberry and Cormac Devaney in defence.
The Galway students, who had disposed of Laois the previous weekend, were hugely disappointing as they were totally outclassed in every sector of the pitch.
Wexford manager Liam Dunne was happy with the win. 'We took control from early on and put them on the back foot. It was important to win given that we had so many young players in the side, while it also ups the competition for places given the number of regulars that were absent. It was very pleasing, particularly the showing of a number of the young players. It also gives us at least one more game in preparation for the league.'
Playing with the breeze in the first-half, the home side dominated despite falling behind to a first-minute point from Niall Deasy, the only time the visitors led in the game. Having started brightly by picking off some excellent long-range points through Ian Byrne, Shane Tomkins and Diarmuid O'Keeffe, they led by 0-7 to 0-4 after 16 minutes.
Wexford soon turned their dominance into goals from a Mark Fanning free on 17 minutes, and Ian Byrne who booted the ball to the net two minutes before the break.
Those scores sent the home side in with an interval lead of 2-15 to 0-4, which was a true reflection on the opening 35 minutes.
The Galway students failed to raise their game on the resumption, as the home side seemed even more energised. They continued to control matters, increasing their lead through an Ian Byrne 39th-minute pointed free.
After Gary Moore had extended his side's lead even further, John Hanberry with a long-distance point had his side's opening second-half score after 51 minutes, but they now trailed by 2-17 to 0-5.
N.U.I.G. were unable to make any worthwhile impression on the home side as they lacked the class and were devoid of ideas, particularly in attack where they failed to threaten home 'keeper Mark Fanning with a single direct shot on goal.
Wexford now used their bench but it did not affect their flow of attacks as they struck for further goals from Kevin Foley after 65 minutes and Podge Doran on full-time to ease into a semi-final game next weekend.
Wexford now await the winners of Dublin versus U.C.D. whose game was deferred to tonight (Tuesday), with Páirc Uí Síocháin once again the venue this coming weekend.