O'Donnell sees red for standing his ground before O'Connor settles it 4 months ago

O'Donnell sees red for standing his ground before O'Connor settles it

Wexford 2-14 Dublin 0-18

It took a while to get going in Croke Park.

Scraps, rucks and sidelines were the name of the first twenty minutes. Mattie Kenny and Davy Fitzgerald effed and blinded, both managers confounded by referee Johnny Murphy's fussiness.

But aside from the men on the sideline going at it - right hand men Greg Kennedy and Seoirse Bulfin didn't shy away either - there was little else to get the pulse racing over the course of a drab first half in Dublin.

The second was a sharp contrast, with three men getting the line and two absolute wonder scores rising the crowd off their seats. Eventually, a brilliant Jack O'Connor solo-goal separated the sides but while the St Martin's man showed confidence, pace and power to finish, you couldn't help but feel that if Dublin full back Eoghan O'Donnell was still on the field, there would have been a hard shoulder and no goal here.

The Whitehall-Colmcille man meanwhile, had been sent off in the wrong just moments earlier.

So while both teams will have positives and negatives alike to take from this one, the fact that it finished 14 v 13 leaves a bit of sour and uncertain taste, especially when all three reds were dubious in their nature.

In the early exchanges, Rian McBride was the star man for Dublin with two fine scores while Donal Burke and Chris Crummey also showed well. As for Wexford, Paul Morris' composure and accuracy, both from play and from placed balls, was keeping them in the game.

Dublin led by two at the break but this was always going to be tight. In the second half, Mattie Kenny's team powered on again. This time, that inspirational figure of Chris Crummey was the driving force. The Lucan Sarsfields man is a real leader of this team and his power and coolness in possession would improve any team in the country.

Wexford, as Kilkenny learned last week, don't die easy though and Rory O'Connor roared into the game with a couple of exceptional scores. What O'Connor could do, Eamonn Dillon could do better though, the St Finbarr's sub slotted a point from the sideline that will be hard bettered this year.

That pick-up was a thing of beauty.

And with Conor McDonald having seen red moments earlier for a tap of the hurley on the chest, Dublin were in the driving seat with a three point lead and ten minutes to hold out. To aid their cause even further, Wexford went down to 13 when Shaun Murphy seen a second yellow.

But with the game descending into chaos, Eoghan O'Donnell followed the lads for an early shower after he and Jack O'Connor collided in front of an advertisement hoarding. O'Connor's took him dramatically over the Allianz sign after a light push and Johnny Murphy really shouldn't have fell too.

Both players made up afterwards, there was nothing in it.

Second yellow, red, and as luck would have it, that man O'Connor put the game to bed moments later, striding over O'Donnell's patch.

A brilliant score from him and some tremendous heart from Wexford, but there's no getting away from the fact that this game was muddied by three red cards.