Dubs make short work of modest Model
Dublin 2-19 Wexford 0-12
Dublin's hurlers got their summer off to a great start on a night borrowed from winter at Croke Park last night. Eleven different Dubs scored as they broke Wexford's resistance with two first-half goals and a stream of second-half points.
It was impressive stuff from the boys in sky blue, but now the stripey men from Kilkenny await next month. That will be harder - a lot harder.
Conor McDonald and Liam McGovern were excellent in attack for Wexford, but they didn't get enough support from their colleagues. In truth, Wexford shot far too many wides from good positions.
By contrast all six Dublin forwards, and their two midfielders, found the target as Ger Cunningham's team seemed to find it a bit easier to find the space to take a score.
Yet the key figure for Dublin was behind all these players with skipper Liam Rushe having at outstanding game at centre-back. He was superb in reading the game, having the gift of being in the right place all the time to sniff out danger.
Rushe's wing-backs, Shane Barrett and Chris Crummey, also played well in a line that broke Wexford's resistance, while centre-forward Niall McMorrow scored superbly from play.
For Wexford now it is off to the qualifiers where there is every chance they will play a strong Munster county.
This match had begun in appalling conditions as the rain teemed down at Croker. Given the slippery surface and ball, the players on both sides did well with their handling. Still it was a dropped hurley that brought the first big score of the match in the 17th minute.
Wexford's corner-back Liam Ryan was coming out of defence when he spilled his stick in a challenge. The sliotar fell to Dublin's Eamonn Dillon who scorched through the heart of the other Wexford backs for a goal.
Dublin grabbed the momentum of the goal and ran with it, tacking on a couple of quick points from David Treacy and McMorrow. But they were only five points ahead as half-time neared before the Dubs struck a killer blow.
Mark Schutte won a great ball in the air and with a clever reverse-pass put midfielder Dara O'Connell clear through on goal. The Cuala player didn't miss his chance to ease Dublin clear.
Wexford did begin the second half better, getting a few early points, but the goal they needed was elusive. In truth it never looked like coming. Dublin coasted to the end of the contest, picking off points as Wexford's challenge waned.
Scorers - Dublin: D Treacy 0-8; N McMorrow 0-4; E Dillon, D O'Connell 1-0 each; J McCaffrey, D Plunkett, M Schutte, D O'Callaghan, R O'Dwyer, C Bennett, P Ryan 0-1 each. Wexford: C McDonald 0-6; L McGovern 0-4; E Moore, H Kehoe 0-1 each.
Dublin: C Dooley; E O'Donnell, C O'Callaghan, O Gough; S Barrett, L Rushe, C Crummey; D O'Connell, J McCaffrey; D Plunkett, N McMorrow, D Treacy; M Schutte, D O'Callaghan, E Dillon. Subs: R O'Dwyer for O'Connell (57), C Bennett for M Schutte (60), P Schutte for McCaffrey (69), O O'Rourke for O'Callaghan (70), P Ryan for Dillon (71).
Wexford: C. O'Leary; L Ryan, M O'Hanlon, E Moore; D O'Keeffe, P Foley, J O'Connor; E Conroy, A Kenny; L McGovern, P Doran, H Kehoe; P Morris, C McDonald, D Dunne. Subs: C Dunbar for Kenny (h/t), I Byrne for Morris (47), E Martin for Moore (66).
Referee: F Horgan (Tipperary).
Sunday Indo Sport