Joseph's turned it on after the break
A SUPERB second-half display gave St Joseph's a comprehensive victory over Tara Rocks in Bellefield and set up a quarter-final clash with Blackwater in the JFC.
After an out-of-sorts, unenergetic performance in their last outing against Castletown, the Bishopswater side again seemed a little lethargic when they failed to take advantage of a stiff tailwind in the opening half.
Indeed it was Tara Rocks, buoyed by points from James Mordaunt, Joe Bolger and Declan Breen, who led throughout the first period until Derek Bergin released John Bergin for a crucial first goal in injury time (1-2 to 0-3).
Still, the Wexford side were hardly worthy of their interval lead. That all changed in the second 30 minutes. Back was the direct, powerful running and the hunger for the battle.
As well as that, manager David Murphy was able to introduce former Wexford Youths midfielder Shane Dempsey into the game and he made an immediate impact with two goals inside four second-half minutes.
Andy Moore and Robbie Mullins both had points on the board by the time Dempsey drilled home his first after being released by Eddie Lawlor.
No sooner had Tara Rocks got the ball back in play than Dempsey was streaking clear again, this time lashing past Brian McDermott after latching on to Kyle Dempsey's pass (3-4 to 0-3).
Dempsey almost grabbed his hat-trick when blazing over in the 40th minute but the fourth St. Joseph's goal did come and it was Fenlon adding his second from close range.
With little fight left in the border side, the deficit increased as the half drew to a close with Ian Fitzgerald putting the seal on victory with a stunning last, long-range point for the victors.
St. Joseph's: Brian Fenlon; Paddy King, Lee Wadding, Seamus King; Gary Byrne (0-1), Paddy Harnett, Paul Underwood; Andy Moore (0-2), Kieran Kelly; Derek Bergin, Kyle Dempsey, Eddie Lawlor; Robbie Mullins (0-1), John Bergin (2-1), Ian Walsh (0-1 free). Subs. - Shane Dempsey (2-1) for D. Bergin, Ian Fitzgerald (0-1) for K. Dempsey, Philip Leniston (0-1) for Lawlor, John Fenlon for Wadding, Darren Dempsey for King.
Tara Rocks: Brian McDermott; Damien Tobin, Liam Fitzpatrick, Danny Howard; Rhys Owley, Tomás Owley, Martin Sheehan; Niall Breen, Dean Redmond; Patrick Fortune, Declan Breen (0-1), Shane Tobin (0-1); James Mordaunt (0-1 free), Joe Bolger (0-3 frees), Richie McDonald. Subs. - Paddy Phelan for Redmond, inj., David Conway for Mordaunt, inj., Dylan Marshall for Owley.
Referee: Paul Browne (Clonee).
Tara Rocks will have to lift themselves immediately after this setback as they will take on Monageer-Boolavogue in the quarter-final in Bellefield on Sunday next at 5.30 p.m.
The first game in the last eight stage will take place earlier in the day when Volunteers lock horns with Rathgarogue-Cushinstown in Taghmon at 1.30 p.m.
St. Joseph's will now meet Blackwater in an appealing Wexford District derby, while the fourth quarter-final will pit Glynn-Barntown against Crossabeg-Ballymurn, ensuring that at least two teams from the District will contest the semi-finals.