Wexford eliminate Laois

Wexford 0-18 Laois 0-12

Wexford 0-18 Laois 0-12

Jason Ryan's Midas touch came to bear again at Croke Park this afternoon as his Wexford team swept Laois aside and qualified for the county's first Leinster SFC final since 1956.

Waterford man Ryan, the second youngest manager currently on the inter-county scene, roared on from the sidelines as the Division 3 champions clinched their place in the July 20 decider.

Laois were sluggish and devoid of ideas as they allowed Wexford to dictate the pace and although he had an indifferent day, Mattie Forde's six-point haul drove the Model men home.

Forde, who remains Wexford's only All-Star, kicked eight wides during a enigmatic display but with the likes of Ross Munnelly, Padraig Clancy and Tom Kelly failing to make an impact, Laois struggled to find any form.

The O'Moore men did hit the front early on with Mark Timmons and MJ Tierney finding the target.

But Wexford, with their defenders roaming forward, were quick to reply through Brendan Doyle, the impressive Adrian Morrissey and PJ Banville.

Colin Parkinson was the go-to man in the Laois attack as he notched a number of well-taken points - his second had the sides level for the third time in the 21st-minute.

Laois struggled in midfield throughout the opening quarter and substitute Clancy's 15th-minute introduction for youngster Kevin Meaney was a much-needed change.

But luck was not on Laois manager Liam Kearns' side as he soon lost centre-forward Brian 'Bruno' McCormack to an ankle ligament injury.

Further points from Morrissey and Banville edged Wexford ahead and they remained ahead for the interval, heading for the dressing rooms with an 0-08 to 0-06 buffer.

Wexford could have been further ahead but Mick Nolan blocked Adrian Flynn's goal-bound effort - although Nolan's save was clearly a foot block.

Forde hit his only point of the first half from a '45' but the Kilanerin clubman, after shooting six wides from play, ended his poor run with a brace of points early in the second half.

As Wexford stretched into a six-point lead, Laois were clambering to get back in touch but they never looked like grabbing a vital goal.

Colm Kelly made a good impression off the Laois bench, slotting three points at the Hill 16 end.

Parkinson too remained lively, keeping Philip Wallace on his toes, yet Wexford kept their foot in the gas and rubber-stamped the win with late points from Forde and the tireless Banville.

Laois' woes were compounded when Clancy was given a straight red card, four minutes from the finish, for felling Eric Bradley in an off-the-ball clash.

WEXFORD: A Masterson; N Murphy, P Wallace, B Malone; A Morrissey (0-02), D Murphy, C Morris; T Howlin, E Bradley (0-01); PJ Banville (0-03), R Barry (0-03), A Flynn; C Lyng (0-01), B Doyle (0-01), M Forde (0-06, 0-02 '45').

Subs used: D Walsh for Murphy, S Roche (0-01) for Flynn, R Stafford for Howlin, C Byrne for Doyle.

LAOIS: M Nolan; C Healy, M Timmons (0-01), J Higgins; T Kelly, D Rooney, P McMahon (0-01); K Meaney, J O'Loughlin; R Munnelly (0-01, 0-01f), B McCormack, B Sheehan; MJ Tierney (0-02, 0-01f), C Parkinson (0-04), P Lawlor.

Subs used: P Clancy for Meaney, P O'Leary for McCormack, B Quigley for Sheehan, D Brennan for Tierney, C Kelly (0-03, 0-02f) for Lawlor.

Referee: Rory Hickey (Clare)

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