Dublin scored a narrow two-point victory over a resolute Wexford in their Bank of Ireland Leinster Football Championship opener at Carlow's Dr Cullen Park this evening. Tommy Lyons' new look Blues emerged 0-15 to 1-10 winners over a spirited Wexford side who gave as good as they got for much of an eventful second-half having been completely outclassed during a one-sided opening 35.
The 1995 All-Ireland champions got off to the perfect start when Dessie Farrell opened the scoring with just ninety seconds on the clock, but despite enjoying plenty of possession they failed to convert several chances and only led by 0-3 to 0-1 after twenty minutes. Ray Cosgrove added two frees for the Dubs, while Wexford's opener came in the 19th minute through Mattie Forde. Two further scores from the impressive Ciaran Whelan stretched Dublin's lead, while two scores from Senan Connell and one apiece for Paul Curran and Coman Goggins put Dublin firmly in the driving seat at 0-09 to 0-01.
Wexford hit back with injury time points from Forde and Leigh O'Brien which left Dublin with a six point interval advantage, 0-9 to 0-3, but Ger Halligan's men staged a remarkable second-half recovery and almost stole a late victory when Forde's goal-bound shot was blocked by Dublin defender Paddy Christie in injury time. And the victory would not have flattered a gallant Wexford who had threatened a shock with a stirring performance after the interval, but in the end Dublin held their nerve and their lead to earn a semi-final meeting with either Meath or Westmeath who play tomorrow.
Trailing by six points at the interval, Wexford burst into life from the re-start when Redmond Barry fisted the ball to the net from close range following good work by substitute Scott Doran with just thirty seconds on the clock. The deficit was reduced to three points, 0-12 to 1-6, after 48 minutes, but substitute Jason Sherlock hit two points to restore a five point advantage. However, points from Scott Doran, Forde and Redmond Barry reduced Dublin's advantage to just two points, but Sherlock eased Dublin nerves with another point in the dying minutes.
Filed by Shane Murray