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Dunne 'didn't see' red card incident

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Referee Brian Gavin, right, issues a red card to Liam Rushe, Wexford. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

Referee Brian Gavin, right, issues a red card to Liam Rushe, Wexford. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

Referee Brian Gavin, right, issues a red card to Liam Rushe, Wexford. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

TIME was, Dublin celebrated hurling victories over Wexford like moon landings... but context is everything, isn't it?

On Saturday night in Parnell Park, they beat Liam Dunne's team (for whom they are unlikely to have gained any great affection) by 1-17 to 0-12 to set up a meeting with Kilkenny in Portlaoise next Sunday, a result which, not too recently, might have been fanciful.

But in Donnycarney and against 14 men, it was a result – if not the performance – that Anthony Daly would have expected.

The pivotal, game-defining moment of the match arrived just eight minutes in when Andrew Shore, Wexford's centre-back and Parnell's clubman, connected errantly with Ryan O'Dwyer, (who, in a break from long-held custom, finished the match without so much as a blood-subbing, concussion or stitch) and was sent off by Brian Gavin.

"I'll do an Arsene Wenger here – I didn't actually see it," said Liam Dunne of the incident. "If I moved down that part of the field I'd get fined. I'm sure it will be shown quite a bit on television.

"Andrew said that the sun caught him and he pulled and caught your man. He's accepting it. It was Brian's decision and we get on with it. I know how Andrew feels, by the way ... "

In a number of ways, that particular incident set the tone. Dublin, with an extra man, had time, bodies and space to pick their clearances. And their forward line, bolstered by the realignment of Conal Keaney to their ranks, won more ball than they managed a week previous.

And Wexford, in truth, were lucky to stick with the 14 men they had on the pitch for the rest of the match. Keaney, Paul Ryan and Peter Kelly were all victims of bad, late challenges and again, credit to Dublin for maintaining their cool in the face of such attention.

"Everyone kept their heads, but we didn't get intimidated either," agreed Daly. "We held our ground, took our frees, we held our heads. We spoke about that during the week actually.

"We had been told by everyone how terrible we were last week and there was probably a natural reaction to be more physical and the danger of that is that you'd lose a man. We kept our heads, Wexford lost a man – delighted with them that way."

Paul Ryan, another man restored to attack after being dropped last week, nailed the free from the O'Dwyer/Shore clash, but more importantly, applied an industrial portion of salt to Wexford's wounds a couple of minute later with the game's only goal.

Keaney punched a low ball into his clubmate's corner and with Tomás Waters wrong-footed, Ryan read the play and finished impeccably.

From there, the match had all the trademarks of a replay. Plenty of tired minds and bodies, Dublin hurling with the tension of being favourites, wasting plenty of possession.

 

Brilliant

Against that, with the sweeper (played exemplary by Michael Carton after half-time) they never looked susceptible to conceding the goal Wexford needed to significantly diminish Dublin's 1-9 to 0-4 half-time lead.

They had one proper chance when Paul Morris went through, but Gary Maguire's brilliant intervention denied Wexford a goal, just as Mark Fanning's on David Treacy a minute later spared the match from turning into a procession.

On the positive side for Dublin, and in the context of what's to come next Sunday, Keaney made himself unmovable from attack and Carton continues to thrive.

Dotsy O'Callaghan made an impact off the bench, as did Shane Durkin, who injected some much-needed gas around the middle, where Johnny McCaffrey had his best match in a Dublin jersey for some time.

David Treacy – the first to be whipped off last week in Wexford – scored a couple of fine points, a much-needed confidence fillip for a player who will be much-needed in Portlaoise next week.

And, as ever, Kelly's cool head, rangy, explosive stride and sweet striking (and, indeed a brilliant first half point) were the highlights of the Dublin defensive effort.

Against all that (and with Kilkenny in mind), some of their striking was poor, passes fell the careless side of measured and fluid would be too strong a description for much of their forward play.

For Wexford, an accommodating route back to Championship relevance unfolds now, with Antrim and Carlow between them and a crack at an All-Ireland quarter-final spot.

Dublin, meanwhile, arose yesterday morning, both bruised and emboldened, but weighing up the greatest booby prize in Championship hurling with just a week to heal and prepare.

"If you do well, everything is right. That's the way it is," reflected Daly on the fickle nature of managerial praise/scorn in a week when he wasn't exactly drenched in adulation after being asked whether the week lead in to next Sunday was a better kind of preparation than weeks and months of stewing.

"If you train Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and you win ... 'Jaysus that was a great move'.

"Everything Jim McGuinness is doing at the moment sure is gospel. If we could find out what he's doing ... two years ago ye' (the media) were all shooting him for ruining football. If you win everything is right, we realise that. Yeah, we might be as well off."


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