Monaghan demolish Wexford to advance to next round of qualifiers
Wexford 1-11 Monaghan 3-23
Monaghan’s Division One class eased them past the predictably limited challenge laid down by their old taskmaster Seamus McEnaney, whose fitful sleeping since this draw was fully justified.
Fintan Kelly’s opening goal at Innovate Wexford Park, as he coursed the play from a deep defensive position, arguably ended the contest in just the ninth minute, as Malachy O’Rourke’s men responded well to their dismal Ulster championship defeat to Down.
“That’s what it is all about and we know from last year, the first game of the qualifiers can be difficult because there is a hangover after losing in the Ulster championship so we are just delighted with the victory and we’ll move on now,” said O’Rourke.
“We’ll see who we get on Monday and move on then. It took us a while to get going but that early goal settled us down and our experience showed in the middle of the park.”
Wexford had opened the scoring with a PJ Banville free, but then went 12 minutes without even managing an attempt on goal, as Monaghan’s powerful middle third, bolstered by the pre-match introductions of Dermot Malone and Gavin Doogan held sway.
The main talking points were the abysmal decisions by the raft of officials who seemed determined to minimise any contact between the players; when there was eventually a significant hullabaloo, Conor McManus was black-carded for retaliating against his aggressors.
Ironically, Lane, who awarded several yellow cards which were utterly unnecessary, then ignored a blatant black card late in the first-half that should have seen the Ulster side’s other twin terror up front, Jack McCarron, dismissed.
In all, there were three red cards brandished - all double yellows, two for Wexford - to add to the trio of black cards and a plethora of yellows which helped ruin a game already ragged in its one-sidedness.
Shane Carey, McCarron and Kieran Hughes - with a couple of booming points - all bagged a brace of points each as Monaghan went in for tea with a formidable 2-10 to 0-5 lead, with the handicap spread the only point of interest thereafter.
The Banty Derby was, as even Wexford’s Monaghan inside McEnaney had conceded well beforehand, a one-horse race.
Kieran Duffy’s third goal added gloss; the officials’ heavy-handedness aided the ongoing dross as Ciaran Lyng and John Leacy doubled on yellow to see red; joining Monaghan’s Fintan Kelly in an early (ice) bath.
Lyng may now retire after he, like McManus, retaliated to rough treatment. Who could blame him if this is the game he now plays?
Two lone hurlers occupied the field pucking ball to each other long after the 5,000 or so - most of them from Monaghan - departed. Wexford’s championship hopes rest on Davy Fitz and his crew now.
Scorers: Wexford: Brosnan 1-3 (3f), Lyng 0-5 (4f), Banville 0-2, A Flynn.
Monaghan: K Duffy 1-2 (1f), Freeman 0-4, C McCarthy 0-3 (1f), Kelly and O’Connell 1-0 each, K Hughes, G Doogan, O Duffy, 0-3 each, S Carey 0-2, D Ward, D Malone, D Mone 0-1 each.
Wexford: S Roche; B Malone, J Rossiter, M Furlong; E Nolan (bc, 18), J Wadding, T Rossiter; D Waters capt (YC 59), N Rossiter; K O’Grady (YC 12), J Firman, A Flynn; C Lyng (YC 23 and 6), C Carty, PJ Banville (YC 24).
Subs: B Brosnan for Nolan bc (18), C Kehoe for Rossiter bc (33), M Dwyer for Carty (HT), J Leacy (RC 70) for Wadding (44), P Curtis for Kehoe 55).Monaghan: R Beggan; F Kelly (YC 24+68; RED), D Wylie (K Duffy HT), R Wylie; C Walshe capt, D Mone, N McAdam; K Hughes, K O’Connell; S Carey, G Doogan, O Duffy; D Malone, J McCarron, C McManus.
Subs: D Freeman for McManus bc (30), C McCarthy for McCarron (48), D Hughes for K Hughes (51), T Kerr for Carey (54), D Ward for O’Connell (60).
Referee: Conor Lane (Cork).