Having lost an early six-point lead to trail by a single point at the break, Dunne’s young charges put in a storming finish hitting 1-6 in the closing 15 minutes as the midlanders could only manage a solitary 0-2 in reply.
“It was close and tense but it showed the young lads are learning and can close out close games. We are happy with the two points for it gives us four from the two games played. Not many expected us to sit top of the table after two rounds but we’ll take it,” said Dunne
Offaly responded with some fine passages of hurling to haul themselves back into the game with a real chance but manager Brian Whelahan believes the effort that took was unsustainable.
“We just could not maintain that intensity in the closing 15 minutes for it took a lot to haul us back into the game after such a poor start,” he said.
“For some reason we didn’t defend well through that opening passage and it cost us in the end. Okay, we are two defeats down and pointless, so we have it all to play for in the remaining games.”
Wexford were excellent through the opening ten minutes striking three early points through Gary Moore, two, and Liam Óg McGovern before the visitors opened their account after six minutes through a Conor McMahon point.
The home attack were continuing to stretch the Offaly defence leading to a fine goal from Ian Byrne following good play from Shane Tompkins, leading them leading 1-4 to 0-1 after eight minutes.
Offaly began to claw their way back into the game with points from Conor Mahon and Brian Carroll, before Joe Bergin goaled an 18th minute 21m free, while just on the break Conor Mahon found the net with a low drive across keeper Mark Fanning, giving his side a 2-8 to 1-10 interval lead.
Early second half points from Brian Carroll and a Joe Bergin 80m free stretched their side’s lead. They were still clinging to that three-point lead but the home side were greatly helped by the support as a Paul Morrisn pointed free lifted the side, while Liam Óg McGovern shot a splendid goal 14 minutes from the end to restore the homesides lead 2-13 to 2-11.
Wexford went on to hit four unanswered points through Gary Moore, Paul Morris, Diarmuid O’Keeffe and a Morris 65 to stretch six points clear, with Offaly’s only response been two Brian Carroll pointed free, before Wexford closed out the game with two late Gary Moore points.
Scorers for Wexford: P Morris (0-6, 1 f, 1 65), G Moore (0-5), L Og McGovern (1-2), I Byrne (1-1, 1f), J Guiney (0-2 frees), D O’Keeffe, S Tomkins, E Martin (0-1 each).
Scorers for Offaly: B Carroll (0-7, 0-3fs), J Bergin (1-3fs), C Mahon (0-2), S Quirke (0-1).
WEXFORD: M Fanning; B Kenny, M O’Hanlon, C Kenny; A Shore, L Chin, J Tonks; D O’Keeffe, H Kehoe; S Tomkins, J Guiney, I Byrne; P Morris, G Moore, L Óg McGovern.
Subs: E Martin for Tonks (23), R Jacob for Byrne (44), L Ryan for C Kenny (44), C McDonald for Guiney (52).
OFFALY: J Dempsey; N Wynne, D Kelliher, B Watkins; S Gardiner, R Hanniffy, D Mooney; D Kilmartin, S Ryan; S Cleary, J Bergin (1-3 frees), C Mahon (1-2); B Carroll (0-7, 0-3 frees), D Currams, S Quirke (0-1). Subs: C McDonald for Kelliher (ht); D Egan for Wynne (60); S Dooley for Quirke (60).
Referee: C McAllister (Cork).