Dublin through following Wexford scare

Dublin 2-16 Wexford 0-15 (aet)

Dublin 2-16 Wexford 0-15 (aet)

Dublin needed extra-time to overcome plucky Wexford at Croke Park, where they recovered from a disastrous first half to book their place in the Leinster SFC semi-finals.

Wexford led by six points at the break, and extended the advantage to seven, before the Dubs finally started to perform with some desire.

Two-goal Bernard Brogan was once again the hero, inspiring his colleagues to a 14 points swing and a seven points victory.

For Wexford, it’s a Qualifier clash with London, and following their courageous display at Croker, they will be confident they can yet enjoy an extended championship run.

Wexford played with confidence and flair throughout the first half, restricting their opponents to just two points, both scored by Bernard Brogan.

The Dubs could find no way to break down a tenacious Wexford defence, with David Murphy, Aindreas Doyle and Graeme Molloy performing heroics.

Mattie Forde, returning from a two-year injury nightmare, thumped over four frees, three of them from 45 metres, while Redmond Barry drilled a ’45 between the posts.

Eric Bradley and Ciaran Lyng also hit the target, while Pat Gilroy reacted to his side’s problems at midfield by calling Eamon Fennell ashore after just 21 minutes.

Still, they failed to spark, displaying an apparent lack of appetite and direction, their support play vastly superior to that of Jason Ryan’s side.

As the Dublin players left the field with a 0-8 to 0-2 deficit at the interval, they were jeered by their own supporters.

Derision on the Hill grew louder when Forde stretched Wexford’s lead, and the Dubs shot a succession of wides, some of them well off the mark.

Paul Flynn did manage to hit the target from a difficult angle, and Dublin spirits received a much-needed lift when substitute Alan Brogan landed a superb point.

Bernard Brogan reduced the deficit to four in the 53rd minute when he blazed over after Anthony Masterson had saved from Eoghan O’Gara, and finally, there was a sense that the tide was turning.

Substitutes O’Gara and Michael Dara McAuley added a spark to Dublin’s attacking dynamic, and despite the straight red card dismissal of wing back Denis Bastic in ht 57th minute, they continued to prosper.

The breakthrough came just a minute later when Bernard Brogan collected Conal Keaney’s superb pass to crash home a goal, and they took the lead for the first time in the64th minute through Keaney.

But Forde came to Wexford’s rescue, his sixth converted free making it 1-9 to 0-12, and for the second time on a drama-packed afternoon, Croke Park went to extra-time.

The Dubs, who had finished with 13 men following a second booking to Ger Brennan in stoppage time, were restored to the full complement of 15, with Tomas Quinn and Bryan Cullen joining the action.

Bernard Brogan grabbed his second goal, hitting the roof of the net after Quinn’s shot for a point had come back off a post two minutes into extra-time, and midway through added time, Dublin led by 2-11 to 0-12.

Wexford had given their all, and had nothing left in the tank as Quinn reeled off four points and the Dubs stormed into the last four.

Dublin: S Cluxton, M Fitzsimons, Rory O'Carroll, P McMahon, D Bastick, C O'Sullivan, B Cahill, E Fennell, R McConnell, N Corkery, D Henry, P Flynn (0-1), C Keaney (0-2, 1f), B Brogan (2-4, 0-1f), K McManamon.

Subs: G Brennan for O’Sullivan, A Brogan (0-2) for Fennell, E O’Gara for McManamon, M McAuley (0-1) for Henry, T Quinn (0-4, 1f), B Cullen (0-1), Fennell for Corkery, K Nolan (0-1) for Flynn, P Andrews for B Brogan

Wexford: A Masterson, J Wadding, G Molloy, B Malone, C Morris, D Murphy, A Doyle, D Waters, E Bradley (0-1), S Roche (0-2), R Barry (0-2, 1 ‘5), A Flynn (0-1), C Lyng (0-1), PJ Banville (0-1), M Forde (0-7, 7f).

Subs: D Fogarty for Waters, A Morrissey for Doyle, B Doyle for Bradley, C Byrne for Morris

Referee: M Higgins (Fermanagh)

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