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Wexford 0-18 Laois 0-12

Updated: Monday, 23 Jun 2008 12:05

Mattie Forde was key to Wexford's victory over Laois at Croke Park today
Mattie Forde was key to Wexford's victory over Laois at Croke Park today

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Wexford toppled Laois to reach their first Leinster SFC final in 52 years with a terrific Croke Park display.

And had Mattie Forde been at his clinical best, the winning margin would have been much greater.

Forde kicked eight wides on what would have been for him a frustrating afternoon, had it not been for a combination of the six efforts he did steer between the posts and this sweet victory for the Slaneysiders.

Jason Ryan's side were full value for a six point success that was inspired by terrific displays from wing-backs Adrian Morrissey and Colm Morris and midfielder Eric Bradley.

Laois made the early running, and were two points ahead through full-back Mark Timmons and Michael Tierney, before Wexford took the lead with scores from Brendan Doyle, Morrisey and PJ Banville.

Colin Parkinson's second point brought the sides level for the third time on 20 minutes, after Forde had stroked a '45' between the posts to edge the Slaneysiders back in front.

That was the only score Forde managed in a first half which saw him well shackled by Joe Higgins.

The introduction of Padraig Clancy after just 14 minutes had helped the O'Moore men revive their flagging midfield challenge, but they soon lost Brian McCormack to injury, and it was Wexford who continued to impress, with Morrissey shooting his second point, and PJ Banville squeezing over a score from a tight angle.

Laois goalkeeper Michael Nolan then got away with a foot block when he advanced to deny Adrian Flynn.

Late in the half, Padraig McMahon and Wexford's Ciaran Lyng swapped points, and at the break, it was Wexford who led by 0-08 to 0-06.

After shooting six wides, Forde registered his first point from play in the 48th minute, and within a minute he was on target again for a five point advantage.

Stradbally's Colm Kelly came off the bench to hit three points for Liam Kearns' men, and while Parkinson brought his tally to four, Laois never looked like getting the goal that they needed to drag themselves back into contention.

And it was Wexford who finished with a triumphant flourish which yielded scores from Forde and Banville.

Laois finished with 14 men after midfielder Padraig Clancy was sent off in the 68th minute following a clash with Bradley.

Wexford: A Masterson, N Murphy, P Wallace, B Malone, A Morrissey (0-02), D Murphy, C Morris, T Howlin, E Bradley (0-01), PJ Banville (0-03), R Barry (0-03), A Flynn, C Lyng (0-01), B Doyle (0-01), M Forde (0-06, 2 '45').

Subs: D Walsh for Murphy, S Roche (0-01) for Flynn, R Stafford for Howlin, C Byrne for Doyle.

Laois: M Nolan, C Healy, M Timmons (0-01), J Higgins, T Kelly, D Rooney, P McMahon (0-01), K Meaney, J O'Loughlin, R Munnelly (0-01, f), B McCormack, B Sheehan, MJ Tierney (0-02, 1f), C Parkinson (0-04), P Lawlor.

Subs: P Clancy for Meaney, P O'Leary for McCormack, B Quigley for Sheehan, D Brennan for Tierney, C Kelly (0-03, 2f) for Lawlor.

Referee: R Hickey (Clare).

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