Draw not enough to advance

Championship Special: Wexford 1-12 Derry 1-12

Dean Goodison

Margaret Byrne of Wexford races away from Shauneen Donaghy
Margaret Byrne of Wexford races away from Shauneen Donaghy
The Wexford Intermediate camogie squad before their departure from the All-Ireland race in Innovate Wexford Park on Saturday

Wexford slipped out of the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate camogie championship with a respectable draw against understrength Derry in Innovate Wexford Park on Saturday.

Because of Kildare's win against Tipperary, the Slaneysiders needed to beat Derry and follow it with victory against the Lilywhites in their final game to make the last four. However, the northerners were never going to be a pushover.

While Wexford responded well to get a draw in their first game against Kilkenny, it's that tie that has proved costly in the end. With all the other contenders too strong for the black and amber third string, those lost points would have given Wexford a chance going into the final encounter.

The visitors made the long journey to the south-east with just 17 fit players, including two that got the call on the morning of the game. They came into the clash with a perfect record but with a bug sweeping through the camp the Ulster side were left a little short.

Wexford hopes of a surprise victory were certainly given a boost in an impressive first 13 minutes. The home side played with good intensity and looked to use the wind to get the ball into forwards able to do damage.

It was 0-2 each after six minutes as dead-ball specialists Róisín Kelly and Karen Kielt exchanged scores. However, a classy score from the impressive Leah Walsh started a run of four quick points, with Shauna Kelly and Róisín Kelly also on target.

In the next 14 minutes Wexford only managed a solitary goal. They were hampered by missed scoreable frees, with the hosts getting none of their six from outside the '45. Kelly put five wide and Aideen Brennan mishit one short.

On the other hand, in the second-half with the breeze, Derry and Kielt notched two of their four from outside the '45 and those scores, as opposed to Wexford misses, went a long way to determining the outcome.

The goal that came in that spell was a good one. Deirdre McMahon picked the ball up on the right, 50 metres out and set off directly for goal. The St. Ibar's/Shelmalier player showed superb control of the sliothar under pressure and coolly handpassed to the net when approaching Niamh McQuillan.

Kielt brought her tally to four before the break while Aoife Sheil and Mags Byrne registered at the other end as Wexford took a 1-8 to 0-4 lead in at the change of ends. Given the strength of the breeze, it felt a couple of points short of par.

After Mary Hegarty became Derry's second scorer in the 34th minute, Wexford missed a great chance to take control when Shauna Kelly got away.

She collided with McQuillan one-on-one, got the handpass away but it dribbled across the goal and wide.

Kielt put five between the sides in the 38th minute but better was to come for the visitors when Teresa Mellon drifted across the face of goal, latched on to Niamh Boylan's pass and fired to the Wexford net.

Leah Walsh's second point in the 46th minute steadied the ship for a few moments but following a Kielt brace, Gráinne McNicholl levelled the game for the first time since the sixth minute with just nine left to play.

Wexford were tardy moving Mags Byrne closer to goal, where she is a defender's nightmare. She did respond when in there late on with a superb pair of points as Wexford again moved 1-11 to 1-9 ahead.

Rebecca Bradley pulled one back in the 53rd minute but her side were reduced to 14 when Niamh Boylan was shown a straight red card for a strike on Aoife Sheil when the ball was out of play.

Kielt levelled the game in the first minute of added-time, only for Eimear Nolan to win a free soon after at the other end. Kelly converted after a change of hurls but Shauna Quinn was felled moments later and Kielt made no mistake from 55 metres out to earn a share of the points.

Wexford are now left with a bizarre four-week break before they return to action with their last group game away to Kildare on August 12. The Lilywhites, as well as Derry, are already qualified for the All-Ireland semi-finals.

Wexford: Emma Kiely; Clodagh Jackman, Michelle Harding, Marie Claire Morrissey; Chloe Cashe, Aideen Brennan (capt.), Aisling Cronin; Leah Walsh (0-2), Eimear Nolan; Margaret Byrne (0-3), Aoife Sheil (0-1), Deirdre McMahon (1-0); Róisín Kelly (0-5, 4 frees, 1 '45), Sorcha Foley, Shauna Kelly (0-1). Subs. - Jessie Harding for Brennan, temp. (46-48), Harding for Foley (49), Liza Bates for Kiely (51), Aoife McCrea for Shiel, temp. (56-57), also Mairéad Sheehan, Nancy Dunphy, Emma Furlong, Mary Cummins.

Derry: Niamh McQuillan (capt.); Niamh Boylan, Bróna Ní Chaside, Claire McAtamney; Rebecca Bradley (0-1), Gráinne McNicholl (0-1), Shauneen Donaghy; Aine McAllister, Karen Kielt (0-9, 6 frees); Teresa Mellon (1-0), Eimear McGuigan, Aoife Quinn; Dervla O'Kane, Mary Hegarty (0-1), Mairéad McNicholl. Sub. - Shauna Quinn for O'Kane (49).

Referee: Liz Dempsey (Kilkenny).

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