Wexford draw with Dublin in O'Byrne Cup opener
WEXFORD 2-06 DUBLIN 0-12
All-Ireland champions Dublin had to settle for a draw against Wexford in the opening round of the Bord na Mona O’Byrne Cup in Enniscorthy.
The understrength visitors conceded two early goals and trailed by 2-1 to 0-1 before the end of the first quarter.
At half time the home side had extended their advantage to seven points (2-5 to 0-4).
However, Dublin controlled the second half with Dean Rock’s point taking a feature of their comeback. After Rock had equalized for Dublin in the closing ten minutes; Wexford registered their only score of the second period to briefly retain the lead.
But Rock hit his eighth point of the contest a minute from the end to level the scores again (2-6; 0-12) and the two sides had to be content with a share of the spoils.
Dublin started with just three members of their All-Ireland winning team, Denis Bastick, Paddy Andrews and Rock - who missed a first-half penalty. James McCarthy and Philly McMahon were introduced at half time with the latter receiving a black card in the 52nd minute.
Given that they enjoyed a seven-point lead at the break Wexford will view this as a missed opportunity to fashion a rare competitive win over the Dubs who haven’t lost a competitive match since being beaten by Kerry in the League last March.
Dublin boss Jim Gavin revealed after the game that he will have to find a new full back for the 2016 season. Gavin was dealt a blow with the news that Rory O’Carroll won’t be available in 2016 as he plans to travel and work in New Zealand for the year.
The current All Star full back, O’Carroll has won three All-Ireland medals with Dublin since 2011 and has been a pivotal figure in their defence.
Elsewhere in the O’Byrne Cup there were no surprises in the first round fixtures, all of which went ahead despite the bad weather.
Kildare made a winning start under new boss Cian O’Neill, notching up 24 points in a facile success over DIT.
Laois had to come from behind before seeing off the challenge of UCD and there were wins for Meath, Offaly, Westmeath and Longford as well.
Bord na Mona O’Byrne Cup Round 1 Results:
Wexford 2-06; Dublin 0-12
Offaly 0-13; Louth 1-9
Kildare 0-24; DIT 1-7
Meath 1-18; Carlow 1-4
Laois 1-10; UCD 1-9
Westmeath 1-14; Wicklow 0-13
Longford 0-18; Maynooth University 1-9
Dublin City University 3-20; IT Carlow 2-6