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Tuesday 30 May 2017

Currie points way into Leinster decider for Dubs

Dublin 0-20 Wexford 1-14

Dublin's Jason Byrne and Wexford's Cathal O'Connor in action in Saturday's Electric Ireland Leinster MHC semi-final
Dublin's Jason Byrne and Wexford's Cathal O'Connor in action in Saturday's Electric Ireland Leinster MHC semi-final

Dublin advanced to the final of the Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Hurling Championship following their ultimately comfortable three point victory over Wexford in Parnell Park on Saturday afternoon.

The holders dominated a strangely subdued Wexford outfit for the large part with Seán Currie's personal tally of 12 points proving pivotal by the final whistle.

Dublin would have been delighted with the manner of their opening, especially the accuracy that they showed as they carved open a generous amount of chances in the first quarter.

They focussed almost exclusively on their right flank, exposing an apparent weakness on the left side of the Wexford defence, and Diarmuid Ó Floinn, Liam Murphy and Currie all fired over cracking points from under the stand.

However, their opponents were proving just as clinical at the opposite end of the field and while they rarely troubled the Dublin defence in open play, the free-taking of the impeccable Ross Banville was keeping the contest evenly matched.

As we entered the second quarter, Dublin's accuracy deserted them as they spurned presentable opportunities to put a more accurate complexion on the scoreboard, given the control that they exerted for the large part.

Influential

Lee Gannon proved hugely influential during this period of dominance for Dublin, cleaning up impeccably from wing-back but with every wide that the hosts registered, the greater the anxiety grew in terms of shot conversion.

Such were Wexford's issues in attack that their first score from play arrived as late as the 24th minute with Banville almost inevitably splitting the posts while the normally reliable Currie was errant on two frees as we approached the break.

However, the Na Fianna clubman made amends at the end of the half with a close-in free inching his side four points (0-10 to 0-6) ahead at the interval.

Despite Banville landing another free in the opening minute of the second-half, Dublin resumed in a similarly controlled fashion and a superb point from Currie in the 33rd minute was as positive an indicator of the team's well-being after the turnaround.

Banville's nuisance value was still proving relevant as the half progressed with another free trimming his side's deficit to three points by the 35th minute but with Ben Coffey and Grogan beginning to offer even more in terms of leadership, Dublin clikked for their most compelling and fluent period of the game.

A brace of Currie frees kick-started this ascendancy with Cuala team mates Ó Floinn and Murphy adding points as the hosts made a decisive move in terms of sealing a final berth.

After Banville and Murphy had traded points soon after, Wexford's tactic of playing Jack Cullen at full-forward finally but belatedly bore fruition in the 42nd minute as he outfielded Ben McHugh before finding the corner of the net via a deflection off the stick of Dublin goalkeeper Conor O'Donoghue.

Response

What was most encouraging from a Dublin perspective was the response that this score prompted from the team as they seemed determined to ensure that their good work would not go to waste and Grogan's brilliant point a minute later helped puncture the optimism that Cullen's goal could have offered the visitors.

Currie added two points in the following three minutes and when David Keogh had fired over a cracking point in the 49th minute, Dublin looked to have weathered that brief Wexford storm as they enjoyed an eight point lead.

However, Keogh's point proved their final score and as Dublin retreated towards their own goal, this allowed their opponents to dominate possession around midfield and Banville converted three frees on the bounce to offer his side a modicum of hope but they could only manage two further scores as the Dubs deservedly held on for a noteworthy win and now face Kilkenny.

SCORERS - Dublin: S Currie 0-12 (0-7f), L Murphy 0-4, D Ó Floinn 0-2, D Keogh, M Grogan 0-1 each. Wexford: R Banville 0-13 (0-12f), J Cullen 1-1.

DUBLIN: C O'Donoghue; T Glynn, B McHugh, A Dunphy; M Grogan, L Walsh, L Gannon; B Coffey, D Ó Floinn; E O'Neill, E Allen, D Keogh; L Murphy, K Desmond, S Currie. Subs: J Byrne for Desmond (half-time), M Murphy for Ó Floinn (48), S Lambe for Allen (51), E O'Donnell for Keogh (62).

WEXFORD: J Henebery; C Scallan, G Sheehan, C O'Connor; M Codd, E Molloy, J Meyler; K Firman, E O'Leary; C McGuckin, D Doyle, S Nolan; J Devereux, J Cullen, R Banville. Subs: T White for Firman and S Wall for Doyle (40), E Dunbar for McGuckin (48), E Murphy for Nolan (51).

REF: Mick Murtagh (Westmeath).

YELLOW CARDS: Dublin: L Gannon (40). Wexford: R Banville (32)

WIDES: Dublin 11 (8+3) Wexford 7 (2+5)

PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Liam Murphy (Dublin).

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