Dublin to play Kilkenny in final

Dublin 0-18 Wexford 1-13

Dublin 0-18 Wexford 1-13

Dublin finished as two-point winners over Wexford at Nowlan Park this afternoon, qualifying for their first Leinster SHC final since 1991.

The Dubs made an impressive start. Alan McCrabbe scored five first half points as his side held a 0-11 to 0-07 interval lead.

Wexford began the second half brightly with a Nicky Kirwan goal, while Diarmuid Lyng was accurate from frees.

A tense finale was set up as Dublin had Kevin Flynn sent off and lost McCrabbe to injury, but Anthony Daly’s side doggedly held on.

There was no silverware on offer, yet Dublin's victory over Wexford in this Leinster SHC semi-final was greeted in the manner of a provincial or All-Ireland triumph as the Metropolitans ended their 18-year wait for a place in the final.

Tears flowed, excitement was at its most intense, and the skill level of hurling was a joy to behold as two passionate sides locked horns, with the only blip on a riveting game being the dismissal of Kevin Flynn for his second yellow card.

In ideal conditions, hurling was certainly the real winner with the 9,490-strong crowd, which included Kilkenny manager Brian Cody, treated to a spirited encounter.

Dublin looked in fine form the opening half, such was the enthusiasm and exuberance they showed in the early exchanges.

After 20 minutes, Anthony Daly's charges held a comfortable 0-08 to 0-02 lead, with David Redmond chipping in with both of Wexford's scores.

Craobh Chiarain clubman Alan McCrabbe was very much Dublin’s danger man up front. He helped himself to five of those early Dublin points, with Shane Durkin and David Treacy (0-02) also on target.

But gradually Wexford came into the game, with the hard-working Diarmuid Lyng leading the charge.

As Wexford tried to come to terms with Dublin's effectiveness in midfield and attack, the Slaneysiders found frustration setting in with four yellow cards in the opening half.

Lyng, Tomas Waters, David 'Doc' O'Connor and Malachy Travers had all entered the book of referee Cathal McAlister by the interval.

After Wexford's shaky start, they did well to get back in touch thanks to the efforts of Lyng, Willie Doran and Stephen Banville but Dublin still led by 0-11 to 0-07 at the turnaround.

A goal from substitute Nicky Kirwan gave Wexford the lift they needed on the restart, and although the sides were level in the 44th minute – following Lyng’s fourth point – Dublin showed the greater hunger in the final quarter.

Scores from David O'Callaghan and McCrabbe edged Dublin three points clear with 21 minutes remaining, but the respective defences then got out on top.

It would take a further 14 minutes for either side to produce a score with Simon Lambert helping to edge Dublin into a 0-17 to 1-10 advantage.

Lyng was on fire in the closing stages as three unanswered points, including two frees, cut the gap to the minimum as injury-time approached.

However, Dublin withstood this Wexford onslaught and the loss of both Flynn and McCrabbe in the closing ten minutes to hold out for victory, with Lambert's second point the vital insurance score.

There were scenes of unbridled joy after the final whistle, but Dublin boss Daly will be keenly aware of the need to keep his players grounded ahead of their biggest test yet against Kilkenny in the July 5 decider at Croke Park.

Scorers: Dublin: A McCrabbe 0-10 (0-09f, 0-01 '65’), D Treacy, D O'Callaghan, S Lambert 0-02 each, S Durkin, L Rushe 0-01 each

Wexford: D Lyng 0-07 (0-06f), N Kirwan 1-00, D Redmond 0-02, W Doran, S Banville, S Doyle, R Kehoe 0-01 each

Dublin: G Maguire; N Corcoran, T Brady, O Gough; S Hiney, J Boland, M Carton; J McCaffrey, S Durkin; D Treacy, P Kelly, K Flynn; D O'Callaghan, L Rushe, A McCrabbe.

Subs used: D Sweeney for McCrabbe (60 mins).

Wexford: D Fitzhenry; M Travers, P Roche, D O'Connor; M Jacob, R Kehoe, C Kenny; D Lyng, P Atkinson; W Doran, T Waters, R Jacob; D Redmond, S Banville, S Doyle.

Subs used: N Kirwan for Atkinson (half-time), J Tonks for Kehoe (53 mins), PJ Nolan for Banville (54), E Martin for R Jacob (66).

Referee: Cathal McAllister (Cork).

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