Rampant Wexford scorched Laois 5-31 to 1-23 at UPMC Nowlan Park on Saturday to set up a much-awaited Leinster SHC semi-final against Kilkenny.
Davy Fitzgerald's men raced 1-20 to 0-10 clear at half-time and never had to extend themselves against the rather abject midlanders.
It was a sobering experience for 'Cheddar’ Plunkett’s charges two years after the high of their championship elimination of Dublin.
Laois must now try to pick up the pieces for a high stakes qualifier against Antrim – with the losers doomed to relegation.
Wexford, meanwhile, must quickly consign this assignment to the back of their minds as they prepare for a mammoth task against Kilkenny next Saturday.
While Laois, having won the toss, strangely chose to face the fresh breeze first, even more peculiar was their decision to drop deep.
This afforded Wexford optimum room at the back from where to inflict considerable damage, and they had reduced the tie to no more than an academic affair by half-time.
Wexford featured no fewer than 11 different scorers during the opening half, including eight individual contributors en route to building a 0-09 to 0-02 lead at the first water-break, with defenders Kevin Foley (two) and Shaun Murphy together with 'keeper Mark Fanning (free) among the tally.
The margin extended to 0-14 to 0-04 before Laois corner-forward Ross King called Fanning into a smart save on 24 minutes.
Wexford countered with a couple of Conor McDonald points, and stretched clear 0-19 to 0-07 before Laois full-forward Willie Dunphy was thwarted in a determined goaling bid at the expense of a ‘65, which PJ Scully pointed.
But Laois woes were added to on 35 minutes when a puck-out was overturned on the left wing by Lee Chin who fed Rory O'Connor to rattle the City-end net as Wexford sauntered clear by 1-20 to 0-10 at half-time.
Conor McDonald sent a ground-shot to the net on 41 minutes to extend the gap to 2-22 to 0-13, and McDonald made it a double on 53 minutes with a precise finish (3-27 to 0-17).
Sub David Dunne fed Lee Chin for the fourth goal on Chin’s 100th appearance – having also enjoyed 19 outings with the footballers.
Laois replacement Ciarán Comerford quickly struck back with a consolation goal in the 53rd-minute as Wexford swelled their position, with Chin turning provided for substitute David Dunne to net a 5-28 to 1-18 advantage after 59 minutes in a routine passage.
Wexford: Mark Fanning (0-01 free); Simon Donohoe, Liam Ryan, Shane Reck; Gavin Bailey (0-01), Matthew O’Hanlon, Shaun Murphy (0-01); Diarmuid O’Keeffe (0-02), Liam Óg McGovern (0-02); Rory O’Connor (1-07), Mikie Dwyer (0-02), Kevin Foley (0-03); Paul Morris (0-05, 1 free), Lee Chin (1-02, 0-01 free), Conor McDonald (2-04).
Subs: Jack O’Connor for O’Keeffe (50); Connal Flood for Donohoe (54); David Dunne (1-00) for Dwyer (54); Conor Firman for Bailey (61); Cathal Dunbar (0-01) for Chin (67).
Laois: Enda Rowland; Donnacha Hartnett, Seán Downey, Jack Kelly (0-01); Stephen Maher, Ciarán McEvoy, Ryan Mullaney; Fiachra C. Fennell, James Ryan; Charles Dwyer (0-04), Paddy Purcell (0-03), Ciarán Collier (0-02), PJ Scully (0-08, 5 frees, 1 ‘65), Willie Dunphy, Ross King (0-02).
Subs: Eanna Lyons for Ryan (HT); Lee Cleere (0-01) for Hartnett (47); Aaron Dunphy for W. Dunphy (53); Ciarán Comerford (1-01) for Purcell (53); Matthew Whelan (0-01) for Downey (54).
Referee: Thomas Walsh (Waterford).
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