Thursday 18 January 2018

Dunne lauds effort as focus turns to Antrim

WEXFORD MAY have lost to Dublin but they now have the qualifiers to look forward to and a meeting with Antrim at Wexford Park this Saturday.

Indeed, it was not a night to remember for Wexford hurling as this match began to slip away from them even before the team took to the pitch.

During the pre-match warm-up, defender Keith Rossiter felt a recurring problem with his groin which forced his late withdrawal minutes later, leading to the introduction of Bobby Kenny who turned out to be one of his side's best defenders.

Then with the match just seven minutes old, centre-back Andrew Shore was shown that red card by referee Brian Gavin, this coming after Ciarán Kenny was on yellow from the opening minute following a wild pull as he endeavoured to connect with a ground ball.

These early encounters proved the crucial difference as the game developed over the ensuing 63 minutes-plus, with Wexford doing remarkably well to remain within touching distance until the closing stages, thanks to a resolute defensive showing from the full-back line of Eoin Moore, Tomás Waters and Bobby Kenny. Meanwhile 'keeper Mark Fanning, despite this being only his second championship outing, showed remarkable coolness in goal.

In the wake of this adversity Wexford must now make their way through the championship in the qualifiers, with Dublin opposing reigning All-Ireland champions, Kilkenny.

Dunne was dealing with adversity from a very early stage as Shore was dismissed. The nature of the aerial hit led to a melee involving a number of players that saw Tomás Waters and Conor McCormack shown yellow cards.

But Dunne was non-committal regarding what actually occurred. 'I'll do an Arsene Wegner here - I didn't actually see it,' he claimed.

'If I moved down that part of the field I'd get fined. Andrew said that the sun caught him and he pulled and he caught your man. He's accepting it and we will get on with it.'

Dunne acknowledged that Dublin deserved their victory. 'It's hard enough trying to beat Dublin with 15 men but it makes it a little more difficult when you have 14. We'll dust ourselves down and we have Antrim next week in Wexford Park.'

Wexford had one second-half opportunity of a goal, with captain Garrett Sinnott denied by a superbly-timed flick of the stick by Dubs 'keeper Gary Maguire, while at the opposite end Fanning saved excellently from corner-forward David Treacy.

Had that Wexford goal gone in, who knows what might have happened. 'We got one opportunity, that was it,' said Dunne.

'At this level you have got to be able to take them. We didn't take that goal opportunity. But I can't say anything bad about the fellas, they put in a performance as best they could. They were under pressure from the very start.

'Fair play to Dublin, they deserved their win. We had two seriously good games against a top four or five team in Ireland. That's where we want to be and they're the teams we want to play.

'I'd prefer to be going to Nowlan Park next week (to play Kilkenny) but we'll take Wexford Park as well.'

Throw-in on Saturday is at 3 p.m.

New Ross Standard

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