Down not up to the challenge as Wexford stroll it
Wexford 2-23 Down 1-12
Wexford collected their second brace of points but it was anything but impressive against a feeble Down challenge at Wexford Park.
A goal after only 90 seconds from Wexford full-forward Tomas Waters set the trend in what was a cruel blow to Down, who badly needed a good start.
To Down's credit, having fallen 1-4 to 0-2 behind inside 12 minutes, they battled to level by the 14th minute.
Eoin Clarke pointed a free before a Gareth Johnson goal from a semi-penalty left the minimum between the sides before Simon Wilson's 70-metre free levelled the scores at 1-4.
But that was as good as it got for Down as four points in seven minutes, from Andrew Shore, Diarmuid Lyng (two frees) and PJ Nolan, edged Wexford ahead by the 21st minute.
Wexford tagged on a further six points by the break, as Jim Berry with two, substitute Peter Atkinson, Rory Jacob and Waters with two putting them 1-14 to 1-5 clear at the interval.
Down resumed the second half with a long Wilson point from play but Wexford responded with a Lyng point.
When Down centre-back Conor Woods was sent off on a straight red card for a wild pull on 42 minutes, Down were up against it and Wexford's tactic of playing quick ball into the attack worked for the rest of the game, with Lyng and Berry particularly prominent as they assumed total control.
With Lyng picking off some excellent points, Wexford's second goal arrived in the 49th minute. Wing-back Darren Stamp floated a long free to the edge of the square where Berry pounced on the breaking ball to shoot low past substitute 'keeper Karl Keating, leaving Wexford leading 2-18 to 1-7. Points continued to flow from Lyng and Berry as Wexford strolled home.
Wexford: Flynn, Kehoe, Roche, Rossiter, Stamp, Kenny, Kehoe, Nolan, Traver, Shore, Doran, Lyng, Jacob, Waters, Berry. Subs: Atkinson (for Doran), C Farrell (for Travers), S Banville (for Nolan), P Nolan (for Stamp).
Down: G Clarke, L Clarke, Murray, Conway, Wilson, Woods, Ennis, O'Prey, Coulter, E Clarke, Johnson, B Ennis, McCuskar, Braniff, Keith. Subs: McGrattan (for Conway), Keating (for G Clarke), Flynn (for Keith), S Clarke (for McCuskar), P McAleenan (for O'Prey).
Referee: J O’Mahoney (Limerick)