RORY O’CONNOR HIT 1-7 and Conor McDonald finished with 2-4 as Wexford easily got the better of Laois in Nowlan Park this evening to set up a Leinster championship semi-final clash with Kilkenny next Saturday.
Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald was confined to the stands as he served the second game of his recent sideline ban, but there was nothing to get the pulse raised here.
Seoirse Bulfin wore the Bainisteoir bib and Keith Rossiter and Niall Corcoran had a visible role in the water break huddles but this was a procession from the start.
Wexford played with the breeze in the opening half and while Laois set up defensively, they didn’t match it with the type of intensity and aggression needed to make a game of it.
On top of that they struggled on their own puck-out and were destroyed on turnovers. Wexford duly made hay. By the first water break they were 0-9 to 0-2 ahead and seven Wexford men had their name on the scoresheet. All Laois had to show was a PJ Scully free and a Jack Kelly point from distance.
Conor McDonald came into his own in the second quarter. By the 26th minute Wexford were 0-16 to 0-4 ahead and while Laois rallied somewhat, it was 1-20 to 0-10 at the break, Wexford’s goal coming from O’Connor in the 34th minute after Lee Chin intercepted a Laois clearance.
Davy Fitzgerald had to watch on from the stands.
Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO
Wexford continued to build their lead after half time, with McDonald getting in for the first of his two goals in the 41st minute after being played in by O’Connor.
Ross King, Ciaran Collier and PJ Scully battled gamely to keep the Laois side of the scoreboard moving and sub Ciaran Comerford came on to score 1-1.
But Wexford were in full control and they got three goals in the final quarter – two within a short spell just after the second water break, from McDonald and Chin.
Sub David Dunne got their fifth and in the end they had 20 points to spare.
Kilkenny await in the semi-final next weekend. They don’t need to be told it will be an entirely different proposition than this.
Laois, for their part, play Antrim in the All-Ireland qualifiers in two weeks time, a fixture that also doubles up as the relegation playoff to decide who drops to the Joe McDonagh Cup.
Scorers for Wexford: Rory O’Connor 1-7; Conor McDonald 2-4; Paul Morris 0-5 (1f); Lee Chin 1-2 (0-1f); David Dunne 1-0; Kevin Foley 0-3; Diarmuid O’Keeffe, Mikie Dwyer and Liam Og McGovern 0-2 each; Cathal Dunbar, Mark Fanning (f), Shaun Murphy and Gavin Bailey 0-1 each.
Scorers for Laois: PJ Scully 0-8 (5f, 1 65): Ciaran Comerford 1-1; Cha Dwyer 0-4; Paddy Purcell 0-3; Ciaran Collier and Ross King 0-2 each; Matthew Whelan, Jack Kelly and Lee Cleere 0-1 each.
Shane Reck, Liam Ryan, Simon Donohue
Gavin Bailey, Matthew O’Hanlon, Shaun Murphy
Diarmuid O’Keeffe, Liam Og McGovern
Paul Morris, Rory O’Connor, Conor McDonald
Mikie Dwyer, Lee Chin, Kevin Foley
Jack O’Connor for O’Keeffe (49)
Connal Flood for Donohue (54)
David Dunne forn Dwyer (54)
Conor Firman for Bailey (60, inj)
Cathal Dunbar for Chin (66)
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Donnchadh Hartnett, Ciaran McEvoy, Sean Downey
Stephen Maher, Ryan Mullaney, Jack Kelly
Paddy Purcell, Fiachra C-Fennell
Cha Dwyer, Ciaran Collier, James Ryan
PJ Scully, Ross King, Willie Dunphy
Eanna Lyons for Ryan (HT)
Lee Cleere for Hartnett (47)
Aaron Dunphy for W Dunphy (52)
Ciaran Comerford for Purcell (52)
Matthew Whelan for Downey (53)
Referee: Thomas Walsh (Waterford)
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