Dubs go top but Hiney injury blow worries Daly

DAVID O’CALLAGHAN came in as a late replacement but proved his value to Dublin with two first-half goals setting his side up for a nine-point victory over a battling Wexford outfit at Wexford Park yesterday.

Dublin not alone raced to the win but also top the table. They were far superior to a Wexford side that struggled in almost every sector. Physically stronger, quicker to the breaking ball with an excellent first touch, they picked off some huge scores.

Another interesting statistic is that 11 players figured on the scoresheet, even without Conal Keaney, who cried off before the game.

The only blight on this Dublin victory was an injury to right half-back, the experienced Stephen Hiney, who was taken off on a stretcher with a knee injury which is a huge concern to Anthony Daly with three huge games on the run-in against Kilkenny, Cork and Galway.

“We are not yet sure of the seriousness of the injury. It’s a knee problem so we’ll have to await a scan. We’ll know early in the week the extent of the problem,” said Daly.

With seven points from four games, Daly said he would have taken the nine-point win if he had been told that before leaving the capital yesterday.

“We were a bit topsy-turvy and indulged ourselves, giving away some scores as a result. But the build-up to Daithí’s (David O’Callaghan) second goal was superb, while we also picked off some superb long-range points.”

Wexford are now in real trouble. Pointless from four games along with Offaly, they face a relegation showdown when the two sides meet.

The scars won’t heal easily from four successive defeats, but it was the nature of this latest setback which will be of most concern. They were outmuscled, out hurled, and left playing catch-up for the entire game.

It’s of little concern to Dublin though.

“Now we’ve won two games on the road, against Offaly and Wexford today,” said Daly.

“Conal Keaney had been our chief scorer so it was pleasing to hit 3-21 in his absence. We’re happy enough and now look forward to three huge games on the run-in. They could not be tougher but it’s nice to have them, given our present run.”

Dublin raced into a 1-4 to 0-1 lead by the sixth minute. Four points flowed from John McCaffrey, Ryan Dwyer, Joey Boland and Simon Lambert, while Jim Berry managed a pointed free in between.

Just six minutes into the game Ryan Dwyer played a superb ball into O’Callaghan, who rounded his marker, Ciaran Kenny, going on to place the ball wide of keeper Noel Carton into the corner of the net.

Although Jim Berry responded with a pointed free, the second goal was a splendid team effort. Joey Boland, Daire Plunkett and Ryan Dwyer worked possession through to O’Callaghan who rounded his marker to finish a shot to the corner of the net leaving his side leading, 2-4 to 0-2.

Dublin still led 2-6 to 0-4, Wexford’s points coming from Jim Berry frees before the home side managed to put pressure on the Dublin corner-backs, resulting in goals from Berry, having taken a pass from Rory Jacob. A second from Gareth Sinnott three minutes before the break gave Wexford hope but still the Dubs looked comfortable, leading 2-9 to 2-5 at half-time.

Any hope Wexford had of a second-half revival disappeared within five minutes of the restart when substitute Shane Ryan struck for his side’s third goal.

Although Wexford picked off some nice points, Dublin responded on each occasion with scores of their own.

McCaffrey showed superb accuracy leaving them easy enough winners in the end, as the home side were unable to fashion a further goal, which the game so badly needed.

Scorers for Wexford: J Berry 1-7 (7f), G Sinnott 1-1, P J Nolan, R Jacob 0-2 each, H Kehoe, S Banville, D Redmond 0-1 each.

Scorers for Dublin: D O’Callaghan 2-1, R Dwyer 0-6 (4f), S Ryan 1-1, J McCaffrey 0-5 (4f), P Carton 0-2, S Lambert, J Boland, D Plunkett, C McCormack, P Schutte, P Ryan 0-1 each.

Subs for Wexford: M Jacob for Hobbs (25); P J Nolan for Waters (41); D Redmond for Quigley (55); E Martin for Banville (65); J Leacy for Doyle (68).

Subs for Dublin: O Gough for Lambert (35); S Ryan for L Ryan (35); P Schutte for Hiney (inj. 46); P Ryan for Carton (63); C Clinton for McCormack (68).

Referee: M Wadding (Waterford).

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