DUBLIN joined arch-rivals Meath in this year’s Leinster final when they edged out Wexford in Croke Park, despite having to play with 14 men for most of the second half.
The Dubs survived the second half dismissal of Diarmuid Connolly to progress to the decider but Jason Ryan’s Wexford will fell they let the Dubs off the hook once more.
The Model men had the better of the first half with Ben Brosnan in excellent point scoring form. Redmond Barry raised a green flag after ten minutes and while Connolly found the net for the Dubs, Wexford were full value for their three point lead (1-8 to 1-5) at the break.
The All-Ireland champions came out strong on the restart and had soon pulled level with scores from Stephen Cluxton, Bryan Cullen and Bernard Brogan.
Connolly then saw red for lashing out at Brian Malone and, down to 14 men, Wexford had an excellent chance of recording a first championship win over the metropolitans since 1956. Wexford moved two points clear on 50 minutes before Dublin took over and held the Slaneysiders scoreless for the remainder of the game.
The pressure started to show on Wexford as Brosnan’s shooting let him down. He wasn’t the only one though as Wexford finished the day with
14 wides, 11 of those coming in the second period.
And as Dublin took over, Kevin McManamon found the net to cap a man of the match display and secure the Dubs’ passage.
Pat Gilroy took the chance to give AFL target Ciaran Kilkenny his debut while Bernard Brogan was also, unusually, called ashore.
But by that stage Dublin had done enough to set up a first Leinster final meeting with Meath since 2001.