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Victorious Wexford wary of 'big gap' to elite

WEXFORD manager Aidan O'Brien is playing down his side's chances of a provincial breakthrough after a 2-13 to 1-15 win over Louth in Drogheda yesterday.

O'Brien's side will now face the winners of Saturday's clash between Wicklow and Meath in the Leinster semi-final.

Wexford are the only Division Two side left in the 'front door' and on the evidence of the past few seasons, best placed to wrestle control of Leinster from the Dubs.

"Look at both promoted teams from Division Two. Westmeath got wiped by Dublin and Derry got comfortably beaten by Down, who had been relegated from Division 1," pointed out O'Brien.

"That would suggest there is a big gap there. There is no point denying it but at least if you know what is in front of you, you can go about tackling it."

Wexford held a five-point lead in at the break (1-10 to 1-5) thanks to a superb Ciarán Lyng goal and some excellent dead ball work from Ben Brosnan.

But the Slaneysiders failed to press home their advantage, and grew more nervous as the game wore on.

Lee Chin was taken off as his exertions with the hurlers the day before took their toll while Daithí Waters, brilliant at midfield, also made way.



A stroke of luck ultimately decided this game. Shane Roche came off the bench and his first involvement was to hit the post.

The rebound fell into the arms of PJ Banville who finished to the net to open up a seven-point lead.

The final quarter saw Brian White and Paddy Keenan come to the fore for Louth and while it was gutsy, it was too little too late.

Brosnan did keep his nerve with a tricky late free as Wexford did enough to get home against a resurgent home side.

Louth manager Aidan O'Rourke lauded his players' character.

"They were five down at half-time, fought their way back into the game. The second goal was a freak, you know, it was a carbon copy of a freak goal they got here in the League as well. But we pegged them back again after that."

O'Rourke's biggest challenge is ensuring the county keep their squad together ahead of the qualifiers but he hinted he could lose some of his number to the US for the summer.

"The economic situation is what it is and if fellas have work, it is what it is. At the end of the day I would feel that if the fellas feel like we're making progress and want to kick on then they'd want to be here.

"We're hopeful that will be the case with the majority of the players. It may not be the case entirely but we'll have to wait and see about that."