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Wexford show no sign of complacency against Laois

By Ben Bernie

Laois 1-23 Wexford 5-31 Wexford ran out comfortable winners after taking on a despondent Laois side in Nowlan Park, Kilkenny. This sets up an intriguing Leinster Semi-Final against old rivals Kilkenny next weekend. Laois were not bad in the attacking part of play, but were sliced open time and time again by Wexford, who could have scored even more, and ended with 13 different scorers. Wexford were out of the traps early in this one, attacking the Laois puck out. Their big guns looked back to their best, Conor Macdonald was on fire, scoring 4 points in the first half, and Rory O’Connor wasn’t too bad either, notching 1-4 in the opening 35 minutes. The interesting thing was how O’Connor played so deep for most of the half. He was pretty much operating at midfield, and was even deeper a lot of the time getting involved in the build up play, each time he ventured into the opposition half he seemed to score. The goal came from a sloppy Laois puck out that Lee Chin intercepted, he ran through and handpassed for O’Connor to finish.

This effectively ended the game as a contest leaving 13 points between the sides at half time, Laois 0-10 Wexford 1-20. Laois improved for the beginning of the second half, scoring three of the first four points, including one from the impressive Paddy Purcell. Their mini revival was short lived when Conor Macdonald got his first goal after he connected perfectly with a shot from just inside the 21 after good work from Rory O’Connor. In the second half Laois were a match for Wexford with points, with Cha Dwyer and Purcell getting their best scores, while Rory O’Connor, Paul Morris and Mikey Dwyer kept the points going over for the slaneysiders.

However, Wexford’s goals really put a one sided look to the scoreboard, Macdonald bagged his second, Chin and then substitute David Dunne also hit the net, the latter after a superb pass from Chin. Laois substitute Ciarán Comerford got a goal back for Laois with a fine catch and finish in the 58th minute, but it was little too late. Wexford replacement Cathal Dunbar finished things off with a point to give them their 13th scorer on the day. Next for Laois is an encounter with Antrim in two weeks time, Wexford will face a much stiffer test when they meet Kilkenny next week. With the way Macdonald and O’Connor played they will fancy their chances.

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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