McDonald brace puts Wexford in driving seat
WEXFORD had to endure a first-half scare at a rain-swept Portlaoise before eventually running out convincing winners in an exciting clash.
Two early second-half goals from Conor McDonald put the Model County into the lead for only the first time since the fifth minute of the game.
It was a crushing blow to the home side, who witnessed star player Stephen Maher suffer an ankle injury, while centre-back Will Young was dismissed for an off-the-ball incident following McDonald's second goal.
Laois had been far superior in the opening half, with a fine goal from Charles Dwyer proving the difference between the sides.
The powerful full-forward gathered a splendid pass from defender Dwayne Palmer before blasting past goalkeeper Conor O'Leary from close range.
However, Wexford always looked dangerous on the attack with a late brace of scores from Aidan Nolan narrowing the margin before the interval.
The O'Moore's were 30 minutes away from a major shock but the visitors were simply top class after the half-time break.
That brace of goals from McDonald, along with points from Rhys Clarke and Nolan, were enough to ensure Martin Storey's side will meet Kilkenny in the provincial semi-final.
Scorers -- Wexford: R Clarke 0-8f, C McDonald 2-1, A Nolan 0-2, J Quiney 0-1. Laois: S Maher 0-4 (2f), C Dwyer 1-0, J Campion, R Peacock, PJ Scully 0-1 each.
WEXFORD -- C O'Leary; S Murphy, A Kenny, G Foley; C Heffernan, S O'Gorman, W Furlong; J Guiney, C Devitt; G Moore, A Nolan, C Hughes; R Clarke, C McDonald, P Roche. Sub: P Doyle for Hughes (h-t)
LAOIS -- E Rowland; M Collier, P Lawlor, D Palmer; B Duggan, W Young, G Burke; J Ryan, C Gleeson; PJ Scully, S Maher, R Peacock; T Dowling, C Dwyer, J Campion. Subs: K Lalor for Gleeson (45), MJ Lalor for Dowling (45), C Hyland for Maher (52).
REF -- J Keenan (Wicklow)