Dublin find two goals in injury time to snatch a draw with Wexford

Danny Sutcliffe and Cian O’Sullivan both produced goals in injury time to give Micheál Donoghue’s men an unlikely share of the spoils

Leinster SHC, first round: Wexford 1-21 Dublin 2-18

“If you can’t win it, don’t lose it.”

After the astonishing endgame Micheál Donoghue repeated those words a couple of times, and the Dublin manager couldn’t have been more delighted with how that approach worked out. Especially when it looked certain that Dublin had lost.

Just how Wexford didn’t win this opening round of the Leinster championship – billed as a winner-takes-all clash in the perceived hunt for third place in Leinster – will haunt their manager Keith Rossiter for a while. It could ultimately cost them their ticket out of the provincial championship, certainly any potential spot in a final.

In the still blissful afternoon sunshine, Wexford were in calm control when three minutes off added time were announced, Lee Chin putting them in front 1-20 to 0-18, and Dublin supporters looking towards the exits.


Then out of the proverbial nowhere Dublin hit them twice exactly where it hurts. First, Danny Sutcliffe shot in a goal from close range in the 73rd minute, giving Dublin some slim hope. Still, when Cathal Dunbar put Wexford three up again, 1-21 to 1-18, surely that was it.

Instead Dublin had the final say, Paul Crummy claiming the puck out and passing off to Cian O’Sullivan, who fired home the late, late equalising goal – fairly stunning the home crowd in the process.

“As I said, if you can’t win it, don’t lose it,” Donoghue repeated with a smile. “But you need a spirit, you need an energy to stay going until the last minute. It isn’t over until it’s over.

“Obviously we’ll get a big bounce out of coming back, and the draw. But I’d never question these lads, their attitude is top.

“I know that is the narrative, whoever lost today was essentially going to be out. I think that’s totally disrespectful to every other team that’s in the competition. Today, for every team going out, was step one of five.”

Wexford were denied a first championship win over Dublin since 2018, even though it wasn’t until that third minute of injury time that Dublin even created a goal chance.

“A good 70 minutes, bad last three, to be straight about it,” said Rossiter, the Wexford manager hardly concealing his disappointment. “I won’t say I look forward to looking back on it, but I have to look back on it.

“But I think out the field we probably got a little tired, the ball came in a little too easy. The last one, we broke it down in a Dublin path, we should have been firmer on it, got it 20 yards out the goal, and the danger was over. Little things like, but it’s three minutes I won’t forget for a while.”

Before a sun-drenched crowd of 9,754, Chin finished with 1-12, including a penalty awarded after just 12 seconds, and Wexford certainly played the better hurling in the second half.

It was in parts tentative too, as if both teams were more fearful of losing than gunning for the win. After the sides were level at half-time, and again 10 minutes into the second half, Wexford turned on the heat on Dublin in the last quarter, an excellent spell of scores from replacement Conor McDonald, Conor Ahearn, Rory O’Connor and Darragh Carley putting them up 1-19 to 0-17.

“I thought the lads showed massive resilience,” said Donoghue. “They stayed at it. There’s a great spirit, when the two opportunities came, they took them.

“We weren’t trying to change a whole lot. The last five minutes, we were pushing up on their puck out. I thought we were dominating. It was about trying to alternate. They had their dominant patch. Got a few scores. But testament to our boys, they done really well and stayed in it.”

Wexford certainly hit the hardening ground running, Chin awarded that penalty after just 12 seconds, crowded out after cleanly fetching Conor Hearne’s pass from the throw-in. Chin made no mistake, firing an unstoppable shot into the town end, left of Sean Brennan.

Dublin then settled into the game courtesy of two frees from Donal Burke. On nine minutes, Burke took a heavy hit in the face, and was replaced as a blood sub, and it was later revealed he’d broken his nose. To his considerable credit he finished out the game, scoring 0-7, though Donoghue was not happy with the nature of the hit.

They were level again at the break, before Wexford’s late advantage disintegrated.

“I wouldn’t be happy with the way it ended,” said Rossiter, “but in terms of the overall performance, I’d be happy, we were well in contention going into extra time, and in fairness to Dublin they didn’t give up, got on the end of two breaks, got two goals, and we got punished for it. That’s what it is.

“Wexford: M Fanning (0-1); S Reck, N Murphy, M O’Hanlon; S Donohue, D Reck, C Foley; C Hearne (0-1), Ó Óg McGovern; C Dunbar (0-1), K Foley, R O’Connor (0-4); R Lawlor, L Chin (1-12, 1-0 penalty, 0-9 frees), S Casey. Subs: C McDonald (0-1) for Lawlor (44 mins), C Byrne (0-1) for Casey (56 mins), M Dwyer for K Foley (67 mins), D Carley for O’Connor (71 mins).

Dublin: S Brennan; J Bellew, P Smyth, P Doyle (0-1); C Crummy (0-1), C Donohue, E O’Donnell; M Grogan (0-2), C Burke (0-1); B Hayes, D Burke (0-7, 0-6 frees, 0-1 65), D Sutcliffe (1-2); C O’Sullivan (1-2), S Currie (0-1), R Hayes (0-1). Subs: D Gray for Doyle (55 mins), P Crummy for R Hayes (64 mins), D Power for Grogan (66 mins), D Ó Dulaing for Currie (69 mins), D Purcell for Hayes (70 mins).

Referee: Jimmy Murphy (Limerick).

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics