The second Leinster SFC semi-final at Croke Park today produced a 1-17 to 2-10 win for Dublin over Wexford in a magnificent contest in front of an enthralled 82,000-strong crowd.
Wexford showed that their national league form was no flash in the pan by giving one of their best championship displays and led Dublin until a goal from substitute Jason Sherlock with 10 minutes to go turned the game for Paul Caffrey’s men.
Dublin got off to a flying start and, with points from Ciaran Whelan, Colin Moran and two from Tomás Quinn, had Wexford in real trouble as they tore into a four-point lead.
It was star player Matty Forde that opened the Wexford account in the 11th minute and while PJ Banville added another Dublin were dominant and two more Quinn pointed frees and a special point from Moran had them 0-7 to 0-2 ahead at the end of the first quarter.
Wexford, however, went on to dominate the second quarter and hit five unanswered scores with points from Matty Forde (2), midfielder David Fogarty and Banville.
Then just before half-time Wexford got a real boost when Diarmuid Kinsella was brought down in the square and the referee pointed to the spot.
Redmond Barry took the kick but when Stephen Cluxton parried his shot the Wexford man was in to force the ball over the line.
The game had certainly increased in intensity with strong physical exchanges but it was Dublin who got the final score of the half from a Quinn free, as Wexford led at the break 1-6 to 0-8.
Wexford struck for a goal on the restart when Fogarty intercepted Shane Ryan and fed Banville who shot low and hard under Cluxton and the Slaneysiders were four points clear.
Dublin hit back with three unanswered points from Conal Keaney and two Quinn close range frees but again Wexford went three clear as substitute John Hudson and wing forward Red Barry found the target.
This was the signal for Dublin to get serious and they enjoyed their best period of the half and there followed scores from Alan Brogan, Quinn before Shane Cullen eventually equalized.
Then, with the game finely balanced, Jayo won possession, sent in a long fisted pass, took the return and buried the ball in the net for the decisive goal. Wexford, however, failed to lie down and hit back with two super scores from wing-back Kieran Kennedy to keep them in contention.
Dublin’s experience told and roared on by their huge following finished with points from Quinn for a four-point victory and despite playing the final minutes with 14 men after Ciaran Whelan was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Dublin: S Cluxton, P Griffin, P Christi, S O’Shaughnessy, P Casey, B Cahill, C Goggins, C Whelan 0-2, S Ryan, C Moran 0-2, A Brogan 0-1, B Cullen 0-, M Vaughan, C Keaney 0-1, T Quinn 0-10. Subs: S Connell for Vaughan, J Sherlock 1-0 for Moran, D Homan for Ryan.
Wexford: J Cooper, C Morris, P Wallace, N Murphy, P Curtis, D Murphy, K Kennedy 0-2, N Lambert, D Fogarty 0-1, R Barry 1-1, D Kinsella, S Cullen, P.J. Banville 1-2, P Colfer, M Forde. Subs: D Breen for Curtis, J Hudson 0-1 for Banville, J Darcy for Lambert, D Foran for Banville.