Ryan on hand for flat Dublin
DUBLIN 1-17 WEXFORD 0-12
AS incentives for winning championship matches go, Dublin's ticket to meet Kilkenny in next Sunday's Leinster semi-final in Portlaoise could hardly be considered much of a gift.
In this quarter-final replay they made an improvement from the drawn game in their defeat of 14-man Wexford, but they'll face a massive step up in class in seven days' time. There were signs that Conal Keaney and David Treacy can provide more of a scoring threat for their team and Paul Ryan's free-taking remains excellent, but while some Dublin moves looked well planned at times and almost came off, the truth is their handling could be a bit sharper.
As for Wexford, they, ironically, have a much more manageable task when they tackle Antrim in the qualifiers at Wexford Park on Saturday evening. They were well served by a hard-working defence and attackers like Jack Guiney and Rory Jacob.
Liam Dunne's men started crisply enough but their hopes were dented when the injured Keith Rossitter had to pull out before the game. And their hopes of a big Leinster championship win were dented much further after just six minutes when Andrew Shore was red- carded for a pull on Ryan O'Dwyer.
This sending-off was an immediate game-changer. It really sapped Wexford of energy after the break, as Dublin found space and laid off to team-mates at their ease.
There wasn't much silky hurling in the first half, save for two classy points from Keaney and Treacy near the end of the first 35. Both sides lacked touch and control. Four yellow cards and one red were issued to Wexford while Dublin received three yellows in the game.
Dublin gradually got to grips with their lot, firstly leaving Peter Kelly free at the back and then putting Michael Carton into the role. Wexford had targeted Carton and the left flank of the Dubs' defence with their puck-outs all evening but now, down a man, they found little breaking ball anywhere in attack and relied hugely on Guiney's free-taking to keep them in touch.
They could make no impact from play at all. Along with Guiney's three placed balls, Gareth Sinnott was the only forward to score from play in the first half.
After 13 minutes the game ebbed further away from their reach when Keaney rifled in a beautiful, angled ball to their inside forwards. Eoin Moore was out first to that ball but he failed to cut it out and Ryan, lurking inside like an opportunist, didn't need a second invitation. He buried it and also hit five frees to keep his side well on top.
Wexford trailed 1-9 to 0-4 at the break. While they pitched away with points from Sinnott, Harry Kehoe and Podge Doran in the second half, Dublin also tacked on six points to keep them ticking over. They hit four of the last six points of the game which is of some consolation.
The highlight of the second half was two decent saves from respective goalkeepers Gary Maguire and Mark Fanning. But, in truth, both teams have a lot of work still ahead of them.
Scorers – Dublin: P Ryan 1-9f (0-9f), J McCaffrey, C Keaney, D Treacy 0-2 each, P Kelly, D Sutcliffe 0-1 each Wexford:
J Guiney 0-5f, G Sinnott, P Morris 0-2 each, H Kehoe, P Doran, R Jacob 0-1 each
Dublin: G Maguire; N Corcoran, P Kelly, P Schutte; M Carton, L Rushe, S Hiney; J McCaffrey, J Boland; C McCormack, R O'Dwyer, D Sutcliffe; P Ryan, C Keaney, D Treacy. Subs: S Durkin for P Schutte (h/t), D O'Callaghan for C McCormack (43), S Lambert for L Rushe (60), M Schutte for D Treacy (63), N McMorrow for D Sutcliffe (67)
Wexford: M Fanning; E Moore, T Waters, B Kenny; R Kehoe, A Shore, C Kenny; H Kehoe, L Chin; G Sinnott, E Quigley, D Redmond; P Morris, J Guiney, R Jacob. Subs: PJ Nolan for E Quigley (42), P Doran for D Redmond (42), M O'Regan for H Kehoe (65), G Moore for R Jacob (68)
Referee: B Gavin (Offaly)