Davy Fitzgerald couldn't hide his dissatisfaction despite Wexford easing past Laois in Sunday’s Allianz Hurling League Division 1B opener at dry but blustery Chadwicks Wexford Park.
Two first-half Mikie Dwyer goals and injury-time net-rattlers from Rory O’Connor and debutant Conor Hearne powered the purple-and-gold home in this warm up for next month’s Leinster championship quarter-final rematch.
But the Wexford boss’s frustration was obvious as the locals struggled for much of a wind-assisted closing period having crafted a 2-6 to 0-4 interval advantage.
Wexford, with Niall Corcoran a fresh recruit from his successful two-year involvement with Laois, will certainly be seeking improvement away to Fitzgerald’s native Clare next Sunday.
Laois teenager David Dooley was deprived the novelty of debuting for his county senior team before even playing with the club’s senior outfit after Croke Park had identified that he cannot play top-grade until his 19th birthday.
It was a real blow for the midlanders as they struggle with a significant list of injuries, including star attacker Mark Kavanagh.
Harry Kehoe pointed twice while also being denied a goal as the sides shared the first four points, before Conor McDonald contributed on 13 minutes to afford Wexford a 0-3 to 0-2 edge at the first water-break as they faced the strong wind.
Debutante Conor Hearne added to Wexford's tally before they were bolstered by a two minute two-goal salvo from Mikie Dwyer to lead 2-4 to 0-2 after 25 minutes.
The corner-forward flicked home a smart delivery from Conor Hearne on 23 minutes, before connecting on a long free from Jack O’Connor to flash home from the front of the square.
As Laois continued to spray wides, and Ross King was prevented from goaling, Wexford were happily leading 2-6 to 0-4 at the break having faced the gale.
But Wexford were not able to capitalise upon the wind as the sides traded scores (2-9 to 0-7) before Laois were reduced to 14 players with the sin-binning of defender Lee Cleere.
Substitute Lee Chin had a shout for a penalty after being impeded as he forced a save.
But after Fitzgerald’s harsh words to his charges during the last water-break, Wexford upped the ante, out-shooting Laois by 2-08 to 0-03 for the remainder.
Sub Rory O’Connor dashed through for a powerful finish to the town-end net, before midfielders Diarmuid O’Keeffe and Conor Hearne outwitted Laois with a series of passes before Hearne swept home for an injury-time clincher.
Wexford: Seamus Casey (0-1f); Damien Reck, Liam Ryan, Conor Firman, Gavin Bailey (0-2), Simon Donohoe (0-2), Conal Flood; Diarmuid O’Keeffe (0-2), Conor Hearne (1-1); Kevin Foley, Jack O’Connor (0-1 '65), David Dunne; Mikie Dwyer (2-0), Conor McDonald (0-1), Harry Kehoe (0-3, 1f).
Subs: Shane Reck for D. Reck (28); Rory O’Connor (1-0) for J. O’Connor (40); Lee Chin (0-3fs) for Kehoe (40); Liam Óg McGovern for McDonald (50); Aidan Nolan for Dwyer (57); Matthew O’Hanlon for Ryan (67); Conor Devitt (0-1) for Dunne (67).
Laois: Enda Rowland; Lee Cleere, Seán Downey, Donnacha Hartnett; Jack Kelly (0-1), Podge Delaney, Ryan Mullaney; Fiachra Fennell, Paddy Purcell (0-1); Ciarán Comerford, Aaron Dunphy, Ciarán Collier; Ross King (0-2), Cha Dwyer, PJ Scully (0-6, 3f, 1’65).
Subs: James Ryan for Fennell (temp. 13-16); Ryan for Dunphy (31); Diarmuid Conway for Comerford (53); James Keyes for Purcell (63); Colm Stapleton for Collier (69); Conor Phelan for Fennell (72); Ciarán McEvoy for Mullaney (72).
Referee: Thomas Walsh (Waterford).