Sunday 25 February 2018

Replay venue is Dublin's call

WEXFORD manager Liam Dunne called it a matter of respect for hurling and for his county that Croke Park should host Saturday's all-ticket replay (7pm) - but the Parnell Park venue is Dublin's call.

Leinster Council said that the decision was not up to them.

'It's very simple. There's a home and away arrangement between Dublin and Wexford, so the replay is automatically in Parnell Park,' explained Leinster Council PRO John Greene.

'Once there was a replay, we had nothing to do but put a time on it.

'It's Dublin's choice. If they came back to us and said 'look, we'd prefer to have this in Croke Park, we'd have said 'no problem.'

'If they opted for it we wouldn't stand in their way, no more than if they said to us they'd prefer to go to Portlaoise. It's their home venue, and they make the call.'

Dunne, speaking after this hectic, dramatic quarter final battle of wills at sunsplashed Wexford Park on Saturday night felt that GAA Headquarters would be the appropriate venue, even though the anticipated attendance would be less than 10,000.

'I think we deserve to be in Croke Park. If the Dublin footballers drew with Wexford down here in the Leinster SFC, it would be in Croke Park. It wouldn't be in Parnell Park,' he said.

'It doesn't make any difference if it wouldn't fill Croke Park. There's games up there in Croke Park, the Nicky Rackard, and Christy Ring and Lory Meagher Cups, and Croke Park would never be full for them.

'All I'm saying is we drew with Dublin in the Leinster Championship down here and we deserve to be playing in Croke Park.'

Dunne got, and will get, plenty of stick from pundits for his 'dummy team' on the programme.

The eventual line-up had only Harry Kehoe in the position as named beforehand, with six personnel alterations, but Dunne wasn't bothered.

'I'm managing the team and I'll do it whatever way I like. If I feel like doing it that way then that's how I'll do it. I don't think there was anyone out there that had a jersey on them that someone didn't know who they were,' he said. 'I think the squad numbers are the way to go.'

Ultimately, the important factor for Dunne and for Dubs boss Anthony Daly is that both sides are still in the Leinster Championship.

Dublin went in as clear favourites, given their 13-point victory in the league meeting between the teams in March, but they had to claw their way out of potential disaster to earn a replay.

At one stage the visitors led by six points to one, but at half-time it was Dublin 0-14 to Wexford's 1-8, and the stage was set for a torrid and tough second half.

Substitute Eamonn Dillon broke Wexford hearts with a 67th-minute goal after another sub, Mark Schutte, had used all his strength to hold off three defenders before palming the ball back.

Dublin had been shooting too many wides for comfort and were two points adrift at 1-15 to 0-16 but, at a stroke, they went a point ahead after Dillon's goal.

But Wexford rallied and Garrett Sinnott hit a great equalising point almost immediately.

The nerves and tension were strung to breaking point on the sideline and in the stands and terraces as over 7,000 spectators were gripped by the unfolding drama.

Then another Dublin sub, Paul Ryan, showed his sharpshooting skills to power over a lead point in the last minute of normal time.

Was that to be it? Hell, no. In the first minute of time added on, Wexford forced a free. Jack Guiney, who only started when illness ruled Paul Morris out of the first 15 - took his time in setting up for the 35-metre free and then nervelessly lashed it over the bar.

The teams were level again for the sixth, and final time.

An exhausted Guiney commented: 'The lads have put a big effort in all year; I wasn't going to miss it.

'I'm just glad to get the draw and glad we're still in it.'

Dublin, powered by strong performances from half-backs Michael Carton, Conal Keaney and Liam Rushe, could have won, but for a crazy period when they missed chances they would normally convert with little difficulty.

Even Joey Boland, who contributed nine points, eight from frees, missed one near the end.

Boland said: 'We just pucked the ball away a bit for a mad 10 or 12-minute spell in the second half. It's most unlike us. Usually we put those chances away, but the character of the team pulled us through.'

Wexford: M Fanning; E Moore, T Waters, K Rossiter; R Kehoe, A Shire, C Kenny; H Kehoe 0-1, C O'Shaughnessy; D Redmond, E Quigley, G Sinnott 0-4; J Guiney 1-8 (0-6f), P Doran 0-1, R Jacob 0-3. Subs: L Chin for O'Shaughnessy (28), P Moris for Quigley (53), PJ Nolan for H Kehoe (59).

Dublin: G Maguire; N Corcoran, P Kelly, P Schute; M Carton 0-2, L Rushe, S Durkin 0-1; J McCaffrey, J Boland 0-9 (0-8f); C McCormack 0-1, R O'Dwyer, D Sutcliffe 0-3; D O'Callaghan, C Keaney, D Treacy. Subs: E Dillon (1-0) for Treacy (44), P Ryan 0-1 for O'Callaghan (46), S Lambert for Durkin (55), R Trainor for P Schutte (58), M Schutte for McCormack (63).

Referee: Diarmuid Kirwan.

Fingal Independent

Promoted Links

Promoted Links