Byrne nets a brace
Ladies clear first hurdle in London
Wexford began life in the Intermediate ladies' football Leinster championship with an excellent five-point win over a resilient London side in Ruislip on Sunday.
Wexford 2-7 London 1-5
Indeed, with seven minutes remaining the game was still in the melting pot after London had goaled through Fiona Morrissey, but Wexford's top scorer Maria Byrne grabbed her second goal with five minutes left to see them home.
The game was played in sticky, humid conditions which tested both sides' fitness to the maximum. Wexford and London were both guilty of several missed chances in the opening half.
Supporters had to wait for ten minutes for the opening score, with Wexford finding the net courtesy of a fine effort from Kilmore's Maria Byrne who buried the ball past London goalkeeper Lucy Hawkes.
Caitríona Murray from Baile Dubh Tíre, making her championship debut for the purple and gold, hit Wexford's only point of the opening half, as the home side were guilty of seven wides on the bounce before they eventually got off the mark with a nice point from Orla McWeeney.
London grabbed another point before the break through ex-W.I.T. and Meath player Shannon Ní Donnacha, a score which left Wexford leading by 1-1 to 0-2 despite having played into a strong breeze.
Wexford upped the tempo on the resumption and fired over two quick points as captain Róisín Murphy and Maria Byrne obliged. Rebecca Mills and Chantelle Martin swapped points for their respective sides as Wexford moved 1-4 to 0-3 in front. London continued to impress with two fantastic points from Shannon Ní Donnacha.
Maria Byrne was again on hand for the visitors to point as Wexford held a one-goal lead as the game entered the final quarter.
Caitríona Murray added another point for Wexford to push them four in front before London hit a vital goal as Fiona Morrissey broke inside the convert past Bríd Byrne from Ballyhogue.
Wexford were only a point in front at this juncture, but when they needed a bit of class it was provided by Maria Byrne as she latched onto a high ball into the forwards and hung it in the London net. The impressive Byrne - sister of county footballer Paddy - completed the scoring with another fine point before the end.
Wexford manager Shane McCormack will be delighted to get over London and can now firmly set his sights on another away trip to Kildare, his native county. This game will be played on July 5, most likely in Hawkfield G.A.A. centre just outside Newbridge.
Wexford: Bríd Byrne (Ballyhogue); Maeve Quill (Shelmalier), Marica Cullen (St. Anne's), Georgina Hearn (Horeswood); Ciara Neville (Shelmalier), Niamh Mernagh (Horeswood), Caoimhe Denton (Baile Dubh Tíre); Róisín Murphy (Shelmalier, capt., 0-1), Kellie Kearney (Shelmalier); Ellen O'Brien (Adamstown), Maria Byrne (Kilmore, 2-3), Marcella Cullen (Adamstown); Chantelle Martin (Adamstown, 0-1 free), Caitríona Murray (Baile Dubh Tíre, 0-2), Niamh Moore (Kilmore). Subs. - Mairéad Moran (Bannow-Ballymitty) for Marcella Cullen, Katie Redmond (Crossabeg-Ballymurn) for Moore.