Banville goals ensure Wexford progress to Leinster semis

Wexford 2-17 Offaly 0-16

Wexford 2-17 Offaly 0-16

A brace of goals from Stephen Banville powered Wexford into the GAA Leinster Senior Hurling semi-finals after a determined display against a dogged Offaly side at Wexford Park tonight.

Full-forward Banville bagged 2-2 and the RTE man-of-the-match award as Offaly were badly exposed in their full-back line, with David Franks, David Kenny and Paul Cleary coming under huge pressure throughout.

Despite Wexford's excellent finish with Banville's 69th minute goal the icing on the cake, it was Offaly who laid down the early marker.

Two Brian Carroll points, allied to a Daniel Currams score, ensured Joe Dooley's side led by 0-3 to 0-1 after eight minutes.

But Wexford were not far from causing damage. When Banville netted in the 12th minute, after leaving defenders Kenny and Ger Oakley in his wake, it propelled the hosts into the lead for the first time.

However, Offaly remained determined as a trio of scores saw them break 0-6 to 1-2 clear at the end of the opening quarter.

The sides were level on four occasions in the final quarter, including at the half-time whistle as a second Rory Jacob point ensured a 1-6 to 0-9 interval scoreline.

Wexford kept the momentum going on the restart as Offaly looked stunned in the third quarter.

Six points without reply, including a trio of Diarmuid Lyng scores, gave the hosts a 1-12 to 0-9 advantage in the 49th minute.

Offaly's first score of the second half arrived a minute-and-a-half later from Shane Dooley. The sides were well matched at this stage, going point for point.

But Wexford's firepower up front stood them well as they opened up an eight-point gap with 13 minutes remaining following a Tomas Waters score.

To their credit Offaly never gave up and they responded with five points in succession, as Kevin Brady (0-2), Dooley, Joe Bergin and Brian Carroll all found the target.

But Colm Bonnar's charges held that extra bit in resolve as Banville's second goal killed off Offaly's hopes and booked a place in the semi-finals for his side.

Scorers for Wexford: S Banville 2-2; D Lyng (4f, 1 sl) 0-7; R Jacob, T Waters, S Doyle 0-2 each; D Redmond, A Shore 0-1 each

Scorers for Offaly: S Dooley 0-4; K Brady, B Carroll (2f) 0-3 each; B Murphy, J Bergin 0-2 each; D Currams 0-1.

WEXFORD: D Fitzhenry; M Travers, P Roche, D O'Connor; M Jacob, R Kehoe, C Kenny; S Doyle, D Redmond; T Waters, A Shore, D Lyng; R Jacob, S Banville, P Atkinson. Subs: P Carley for Redmond (61); H Kehoe for Doyle (65); W Doran for R Jacob (70).

OFFALY: B Mullins; D Franks, D Kenny, P Cleary; R Hanniffy, G Oakley, J Rigney; K Brady, B Murphy; D Currams, J Brady, D Molloy; B Carroll, J Bergin, S Dooley. Subs: D Horan for Oakley (Blood 3-6); C Parlon for J Brady (45); C Mahon for Molloy, D Horan for Currams (both 51).

Referee: Johnny Ryan (Tipperary)

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