Leinster U21HC: Model maul Faithfuls

May 31, 2017

Wexford's Cathal Dunbar.
©INPHO/Ryan Byrne.

A second-half scorefest saw Wexford beat Offaly by 4-21 to 2-9 at Wexford Park tonight.

Just two points separated the teams early in the second half but goals from Stephen O'Gorman, Cathal Dunbar and Darragh Pepper put the visitors to the sword as the Model County easily sealed a semi-final date with Carlow on June 21st.

The hosts led by 1-10 to 2-4 at the end of a thoroughly-enjoyable first half that ebbed and flowed in the late-evening sunshine. But they would have the stiff breeze at their backs when the action resumed.

Oisin Kelly's second-minute goal gave the Faithfuls a dream start but Joe Coleman and Rory O'Connor pulled back Wexford scores before Dunbar (1-8) equalised in the seventh minute. Coleman's tenth-minute strike had the hosts in front for the first time.

O'Gorman supplied the fifth unanswered Model point and goalkeeper Darragh Hughes had to be alert to deny the visitors a second goal.

After Conor Freeman had halved the deficit, O'Gorman propelled the Slaneysiders into a four-point lead when he scrambled the sliothar to the net following a good save. Wexford added a point to lead by four but back came Offaly to draw level in the 21st minute thanks to a Ciaran Cleary point and a Liam Langton goal - 2-3 to 1-6!

In an exciting period of the game, a magnificent Langton point from distance restored Offaly's lead but O'Gorman tied the scores up again with five minutes left before the break. Harry O'Connor, Coleman and Darren Codd notched late scores to ensure that the Model were three to the good at the interval.

Freeman and Rowan White swapped the first two scores of the second half; White got his second after Kelly and Freeman (free) had edged the Faithful County back within the minimum. With the match very much in the balance, O'Gorman poked the ball past Eoghan Cahill for the second time to fire the winners into a five-point lead, 2-12 to 2-7.

When Dunbar steered a sideline cut between the posts, the Model County led by six and Dunbar added another great point from play to leave the score at 2-14 to 2-7 after 51 minutes. A Freeman free just about kept the losers in touch but Wexford were in the zone now and quickfire scores from Pepper and O'Connor confirmed that they would be progressing to the last four.

Dunbar claimed the winners' third goal, with White and Coleman on target either side of that score as the gap suddenly went out to 14 points. Scores were swapped before Pepper delivered the fourth Wexford goal right at the death and the same player had the honour of closing the scoring.

Wexford - D Hughes; C Firman, D Byrne, M O'Brien; B Quigley, A Maddock, G Molloy; D Barden, R White (0-3); H O'Connor (0-1), R O'Connor (0-2), J Coleman (0-3, 2f); C Dunbar (1-8, 0-1sl), S O'Gorman (2-2), D Codd. Subs: J O'Connor for D Barden, C Moore for M O'Brien, D Pepper (1-2) for D Codd, J Doyle for J Coleman, O Foley for R O'Connor.

Offaly - E Cahill; D Watkins, D O'Toole, P Delaney; B Conneely, E Parlon, C Molloy; C Kiely (0-1), P Guinan; C Freeman (0-5f), O Kelly (1-1), C Cleary (0-1); L Langton (1-1), E Callaghan, R Hughes. Subs: K Nugent for E Callaghan, J Murray for L Langton, E Carroll for C Molloy, B Loughnane for R Hughes.

Referee - P Burke.

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