Easy win for ladies
Outclassed Antrim offer weak resistance
Wexford sauntered through to the last eight of the TG4 All-Ireland ladies' Intermediate football championship with a complete demolition of Antrim in Kinnegad on Saturday.
Wexford 3-19 Antrim 1-3
The Saffrons sent down a mish-mash of players that looked like they hadn't played together a whole lot, and Wexford took full advantage with their biggest scoring haul of the season.
It's an upturn in form, and more importantly an improvement of execution within the performance, that couldn't have come at a better time for Shane McCormack's side with the talented Kildare to follow on Saturday week.
If a slightly inferior opposition than what the Slaneysiders have been used to has helped them take a step forward in their development, and bolstered the confidence at the same time, then the Wexford manager will be happy to get this game under their belts.
Defensively Wexford looked strong too with youngster Niamh Mernagh and the experienced Marguerite Doyle in particular having sterling afternoons in the back lines. They will need a repeat of that and more against the Lilywhites.
That all said, it did take Wexford a while to settle down and get into a groove. Maria Byrne and Katie Redmond points sandwiched a goal that came with a little good fortune in an otherwise edgy first 20 minutes.
Niamh Moore skied a shot high into the dreary sky that Caitríona Murray plucked from the air and quickly shot past Anna McCann to the Antrim net.
It was the first salvo in a truly superb scoring performance for Murray who ended the game with an incredible 1-9 - all but two points of which came from play.
Danielle Connolly pulled a point back for Antrim before Wexford had a bit of a lull as the first quarter ended and the second begun.
They broke that spell with a bang, scoring seven points in the last ten minutes of the half. The impressive Moore grabbed three, Murray claimed two while Byrne and Redmond were also on target.
Kilmore hot-shot Byrne was also denied in that spell by an excellent low save by McCann but the net did ripple once more before the interval - at the other end - as Mairéad Cooper hared away and cracked a stunning shot in off the underside of the crossbar.
That final score of the period made it 1-9 to 1-3 at half-time and likely set the tone for the half-time team-talk. Yet any worries that goal might have created evaporated quickly as Antrim failed to score in the second period and Wexford streaked away.
Points were added by Murray and Ellen O'Brien before the latter played Byrne through on goal and the deadly attacker pinged a perfectly-angled shot to the right corner of the Antrim net.
A trio from Murray kept the scoreboard ticking over into the fourth quarter, at a stage of the game that encouragingly saw the introduction of Clara Donnelly from the substitutes' bench.
Niamh Moore drilled home the third goal after cutting in from the left wing to make it 3-14 to 1-3, and five more points followed with Emma Hore adding her name to the list of scorers with a late point.
Wexford: Bríd Byrne; Maeve Quill, Marica Cullen, Marguerite Doyle; Ciara Neville, Sandra Thorpe, Niamh Mernagh; Sharon Kehoe, Róisín Murphy (capt.); Kellie Kearney, Niamh Moore (1-3), Ellen O'Brien (0-2); Katie Redmond (0-2), Maria Byrne (1-2, 0-2 frees), Caitríona Murray (1-9, 0-2 frees). Subs. - Mary O'Neill for Cullen (31), Niamh Butler for Redmond (36), Clara Donnelly for Kehoe (47), Emma Hore (0-1) for M. Byrne (48), Deirdre Sheil for O'Brien, inj. (51).
Antrim: Anna McCann; Aoife McAteer, Dominique Kerr, Saoirse Tennison; Deirdre O'Kane, Sinéad Murphy (capt.), Terri Duffin; Laura McCann, Catherine Mullan; Danielle Connolly (0-1), Mairéad Cooper (1-0), Geraldine McCann; Eleanor Mallon, Noreen Graham, Abigail Carleton. Subs. - Cathy Carey (0-2) for Mullan, inj. (14), Edel Christie for McCann, temp. (35-41), Christie for Graham (41), Colette Ward for Connolly (51), Connolly for Carey (57).
Referee: Kevin Corcoran (Mayo).