Dublin 1-17 Wexford 0-12
Dublin earned themselves the dubious reward of a Leinster SHC semi-final clash with All-Ireland champions Kilkenny by comfortably overcoming 14-man Wexford at Parnell Park.
Wexford faced an almost impossible task in this disappointing replay once they lost centre back Andrew Shore to a straight red card following a melee after just five minutes.
Anthony Daly’s side never appeared to be in any trouble, but the manager will be less than pleased with his side’s form as they prepare for a tangle with the Cats at Portlaoise next Sunday.
Paul Ryan returned to the starting line-up to shoot a 1-9 total, mostly from frees, but Dublin’s lack of firepower in other areas is a worry.
For Wexford, it’s back to the qualifiers, and a clash with Antrim at Wexford Park.
After Paul Ryan and Jack Guiney had exchanged early frees, the game sparked into explosive action of the less desirable variety, with an ugly brawl leading to a straight red card for Wexford centre back Andrew Shore.
Dublin initially faield to capitalise on their numerical advantage, struggling to impose themselves on their opponents despite enjoyuing the advantage fo a gusting wind.
Even when Ryan drilled home a 12th minute goal, they failed to open out and give their expectant supporters the sort of uplifting performance they were expecting.
Conal Keaney’s searching delivery was missed by Eoin Moore, who allowed Ryan in behind to collect and fire his shot past Mark Fanning.
Guiney kept Wexford in touch with a couple of frees, with Garrett Sinnott also slotting over a neat score.
John McCaffrey fired over a long range point to keep wind-assisted Dublin comfortably in front, and by the 23rd minute, they had built up a 1-6 to 0-4 lead.
However, Ryan was the only Dublin attacker to have scored by that stage, five frees among his 1-5 tally.
But all that changed in the final 10 minutes of the half, with Peter Kelly, Keaney and David Treacy all powering over excellent long range scores.
Treacy could have had a goal as well, but just failed to stretch far enough to connect with Conor McCormack’s zipping cross.
Dublin led by 1-9 to 0-4 at the halfway stage, but things started to turn for the better from a Wexford point of view in the early stages of the second half.
Both sides had goal chances in those opening moments. Wexford’s Sinnott was foiled by Gary Maguire, and at the other end, Mark Fanning made a superb stop from Ryan O’Dwyer.
When Guiney thumped over a monster 100 metre free, the deficit was cut back to six, but the handicap of playing with a man short began to tell as the game entered its final quarter, and the home side, having gone 13 almost a quarter of an hour without a score, claimed four in as many minutes.
Even the heroics of Wexford full back Tomas Waters were powerless to prevent Danny Sutcliffe, John McCaffrey, Treacy and Keaney from steering over quality points as the Dubs opened out a 10 points advantage.
Waters took a number of high catches and cleared with conviction as the Dubs piled forward, and he was instrumental in helping the visitors turn the game back in their favour, if only temporarily and very much in vain. Paul Morris, with two, Rory Jacob and Sinnott all managed to break through for points, but there were no worries for a Dublin side that had the result in the bag from a much earlier stage.
In the end, there were no worries for the Dubs, but they will need to dig deep much deeper into their reserves of character when they take on the Cats next weekend.
Dublin: G Maguire, N Corcoran, P Kelly (0-1), P Schutte, M Carton, L Rushe, S Hiney, J McCaffrey (0-2), J Boland, C McCormack, R O’Dwyer, D Sutcliffe (0-1), P Ryan (1-9, 0-8f, 0-1 ’65), C Keaney (0-2), D Treacy (0-2).
Subs: S Durkin for Schutte, D O’Callaghan for McCormack, S Lambert for Rushe, M Schutte for Treacy, N McMorrow for Sutcliffe
Wexford: M Fanning, E Moore, T Waters, B Kenny, R Kehoe, A Shore, C Kenny, H Kehoe (0-1), L Chin, G Sinnott (0-2), E Quigley, D Redmond, P Morris (0-2), J Guiney (0-5, 5f), R Jacob (0-1).
Subs: PJ Nolan for Quigley, P Doran (0-1) for Redmond, M O’Regan for H Kehoe, G Moore for Jacob
Referee: B Galvin (Offaly).