Dublin 1-24 Wexford 0-4
By Ronan Fagan at Chadwicks Wexford Park
Whatever about their relegation hurt in the league, Dublin’s quest for a 12th straight Leinster SFC title began with Saturday’s quarter-final destruction of Wexford at Chadwicks Wexford Park.
All-Star midfielder Brian Fenton lorded matters as together with a personal salvo of 0-5, he made his presence felt with a hugely influential contribution, while Con O’Callaghan dazzled with a handsome 1-6 in his first appearance of the season.
Wexford simply struggled as the Division Four outfit are consigned to the Tailteann Cup.
Dublin, are readying themselves for their first real test as they seek to extend their remarkable run of 34 straight victories in Leinster.
Dublin overcame a couple of early misses as Fenton set up Dean Rock for the opener, before Fenton made it 0-2 to 0-0.
Wexford centre-back Glen Malone did well to feed Eoghan Nolan to peg it back to 0-2 to 0-1 in the tenth minute.
Wexford were making little headway, with Ben Brosnan, the star of their victory over Offaly, even forced to defend as they were put under mounting pressure, and Brian Howard got in on the act as Dessie Farrell’s men carved out a 0-5 to 0-1 lead before the Wexford goal twice survived close shaves.
Dublin defender John Small raced through on to an O’Callaghan delivery to crash a powerful strike off the crossbar in the 23rd minute.
And after Fenton’s third score – first off his left peg – made it 0-6 to 0-1, the Dubs saw O’Callaghan fed by Ciarán Kilkenny before seeming to also strike the crossbar. But the umpires declared a point despite a linesman bringing the score into question, and Dublin stretched clear by 0-10 to 0-1 at the break.
Although slow in returning, Dublin were merciless in further extinguishing Wexford ambitions, as Fenton added a fifth point before O’Callaghan netted a 40th minute goal from a rebound after Dean Rock’s angled drive came back off the crossbar (1-11 to 0-1).
O’Callaghan was in his element as he quickly tagged on three points by the 47th minute (1-16 to 0-2).
Dublin then took the opportunity to introduce newly appointed captain James McCarthy along with Niall Scully.
Niall Hughes pegged back a mark for Wexford, who then threatened to goal when Kevin O’Grady’s delivery was fumbled by a defender before ‘keeper David O’Hanlon intercepted.
Busy midfielder Tom Lahiff and sub Lorcan O’Dell added to the Dublin tally, while Páraic Hughes pegged one back for a deflated Wexford against a Blue Machine that looks to be revving up nicely for the championship.
Scorers for Dublin: Con O’Callaghan 1-6, Dean Rock (1 ‘45, 1 mark), Brian Fenton 0-5 each, Brian Howard, Cormac Costello 0-2 each, Ciarán Kilkenny, John Small, Tom Lahiff, Lorcan O’Dell 0-1 each.
Scorers for Wexford: Eoghan Nolan, Ben Brosnan, Niall Hughes (mark), Páraic Hughes 0-1 each.
Dublin: David O’Hanlon; Eoin Murchan, Michael Fitzsimons, Lee Gannon; John Small, Jonny Cooper, Robert McDaid; Brian Fenton, Tom Lahiff; Seán Bugler, Brian Howard, Ciarán Kilkenny; Cormac Costello, Dean Rock, Con O’Callaghan.
Subs: James McCarthy for McDaid (49), Niall Scully for Bugler (49), Seán MacMahon for Murchan (53), Aaron Byrne for Costello (54), Lorcan O’Dell for Small (62).
Wexford: Darragh Brooks; Liam O’Connor, Eoin Porter, Dylan Furlong; Martin O’Connor Glen Malone, Kevin O’Grady; Niall Hughes, Liam Coleman; Alan Tobin, Donal Shanley, Páraic Hughes; Mark Rossiter, Eoghan Nolan, Ben Brosnan.
Subs: Tom Byrne for Shanley (42), Robbie Brooks for Rossiter (46), Michael Furlong for Tobin (60), John Tubritt for Brosnan (69), Seán Ryan for Nolan (69).
Referee: Barry Cassidy (Derry)