Dubs surge to title as hotshot Ryan polishes off Wexford
PAUL RYAN turned on the style with 12 points as he inspired Dublin to a six-point victory over a struggling Wexford in a lacklustre match in Bellefield.
Ryan, playing at left full-forward, showed the way with splendid accuracy from frees, which was in stark contrast to the home side, who missed three very scoreable frees at crucial stages in both periods.
David O'Callaghan also played his part for the Dubs by scoring a superb 29th-minute goal.
Wexford boss Liam Dunne has plenty of work to do ahead of the National League opener against Carlow as he was left to rue a lacklustre performance from his side.
The opening 20 minutes were Wexford's best period but their failure to convert a number of chances came back to haunt them.
Dublin really exploded into the game in the closing 10 minutes of the opening period. Level at 0-6 apiece, the Dubs finished the half with an unanswered 1-3 which left the home side playing catch-up for the remainder of the game.
Visiting manager Anthony Daly must have been happy with their performance, for their hurling was slicker while their ability to create space for the pass and score was the difference between the two teams.
After Eoin Doyle had pointed Wexford in front inside the opening minute they went on to lead 0-3 to 0-2 after 11 minutes.
The sides continued to trade points, with Ryan showing supreme accuracy as he punished every indiscretion in the home defence. The sides were deadlocked at 0-6 each when Dublin centre-forward John McCaffrey was forced to retire with a facial injury.
But the introduction of O'Callaghan worked a treat as six minutes before the break he managed to create space despite the presence of three Wexford defenders to shoot home a superb goal from an acute angle.
The Dubs went on to add further points through Conal Keaney, a Ryan free and Mark Schutte, to lead 1-9 to 0-6 at the interval, with the home side failing to score through that closing 10-minute spell.
Within one minute of the restart a Ryan free increased his side's lead. While the home team responded with points from sub Gareth Sinnott and Paul Morris, they were unable to cut into their opponents' advantage as the Dubs responded with a further Ryan pointed free.
While Lee Chin, who made the dash back from Armagh after the county's football league game was postponed, was proving influential around midfield with a superb long-range point, Wexford's lack of discipline in defence was continually punished by Ryan's accuracy from a variety of angles as they moved 1-18 to 0-14 clear with six minutes remaining.
Wexford just couldn't get the goal they needed and Ryan closed out the game with a pointed free in additional time.
Daly, meanwhile, looks to have strengthened his back-room team with former Clare hurler Tony Griffin joining him on the sideline yesterday.
SCORERS – Dublin: P Ryan 0-12 (10f, 1 '65'), D O'Callaghan 1-0, D Sutcliffe, C Keaney 0-2 each, K Byrne, J McCaffrey, M Schutte 0-1 each. Wexford: P Morris 0-7 (2f), A Shore (1 s-l, 1f), L Chin 0-2 each, R Kehoe, E Doyle, P J Nolan, P Doran, G Sinnott 0-1 each.
Dublin – A Nolan; P Kelly, P Schutte, R Trainor; J Boland, M Carton, C Crummey; K Byrne, S Durkin; D Sutcliffe, J McCaffrey, C Keaney; E Dillon, M Schutte, P Ryan. Subs: D O'Callaghan for McCaffrey (26 blood sub), S Lambert for Crummey (26), McCaffrey for O'Callaghan (h-t), D O'Callaghan for Dillon (49), R O'Carroll for M Schutte (55), N McMorrow for McCaffrey (63).
Wexford – N Breen; E Moore, T Waters, B Kenny; J Tonks, R Kehoe, C Kenny; E Doyle, A Shore; H Kehoe, P Morris, P J Nolan; G Moore , M O'Regan, P Doran. Subs: D Redmond for Tonks (30), L Chin for Doyle (h-t), G Sinnott for G Moore (h-t), A Kenny for H Kehoe (58), Shaun Murphy for Doran (58).
ref – T Carroll (Offaly)