Inters finish campaign with ninth straight loss
Wexfod's second string ended their season with another loss, this time against Kilkenny in the All-Ireland Intermediate camogie championship at O'Kennedy Park, New Ross, on Saturday.
Kilkenny 3-11 Wexford 0-5
It was the Slaneysiders' ninth defeat in as many games between National League and All-Ireland series. Any shoots of promise that were there in an indifferent 2015 are long gone, with Wexford's strength-in-depth at the lowest level for quite some time.
The first 20 minutes of this tie were okay. Wexford looked dangerous when they got the ball into the full-forward line but the visitors defended well, limiting their hosts to a pair of Aideen Brennan points (0-2 each).
However, the game went from close to all but over in the final nine minutes of the half. Ciara Holden brought her tally to five minors while Keeva Fennelly got a fortuitous long-range goal as Kilkenny went in 1-7 to 0-3 ahead - Wexford's late point coming from the persistent Deirdre McMahon.
Aideen Brennan popped over her third score early in the second-half, after Aoife Curran was felled, but Kilkenny were comfortable. They nabbed their second goal when Jenny Clifford showed her speed, racing away from the hosts' defence before handpassing clinically past Liza Bates.
Joanne Dillon added her name to the list of Wexford scorers with four minutes of normal time remaining, but there was still time for another soft Kilkenny goal, this one coming from a Holden free from 65 metres out.
Maybe now, after the struggles of the last few seasons, the time is right to examine the possibility of dropping Wexford's second team back to the Premier Junior championship and into Division 3, where the young players can find their feet and possibly pick up some morale-boosting victories.
Wexford have only beaten Dublin's second string this season, in the Leinster championship after extra-time. The Metropolitans themselves have won just one game between Junior league and championship, against a Cavan side which didn't even complete in the summer competition.
Some might look to a Kilkenny second string which struggled a few years back only to be flying high now. The difference is that they have been consistently producing strong teams at under-age level with a steady flow of quality making the step-up.
Wexford, on the other hand, have not threatened to win an 'A' under-age title in the last decade, getting hammered in two Minor 'B' finals by Derry and Offaly along the way. It leaves Intermediate management with the unenviable task of trying to improve players significantly and that is proving difficult.
With the first team also struggling for depth, the top line youngsters are getting fast-tracked to the Senior set-up and what's left is a mish-mash of mostly youngsters, playing with very little confidence.
Kilkenny: Kirsty Maher; Lydia Phelan, Jennifer Norris, Róisín Phelan; Niamh Leahy, Katie Nolan, Edel Frisby; Laura Greene, Edel Coonan; Jenny Clifford (1-0), Ciara Holden (1-8, 1-6 frees), Keeva Fennelly (1-0); Sarah Walsh (0-1), Aine Fahey (0-2), Angela Kenneally. Subs. - Ciara Phelan for Fennelly (45), Mary Corcoran for Kenneally (46), Aisling O'Farrell for Leahy (54), Sophie O'Dwyer for Fahey (56), Catherine Walsh for Coonan (57).
Wexford: Liza Bates; Nancy Dunphy, Farren Byrne, Leanne Foley; Doireann Kavanagh, Katie O'Connor, Michelle Martin; Ellen Roche, Anna Whitty; Brídín Redmond, Deirdre McMahon (capt., 0-1), Aoife Curran; Aideen Brennan (0-3, 2 frees), Joanne Dillon (0-1), Margaret Byrne. Subs. - Derbhla Doyle for Dunphy (28), Shauna Kelly for Redmond (36), Patrice O'Gorman for Whitty (53), also Niamh Walsh, Ciara Mythen, Michelle Kehoe, Clodagh Jackman, Shauna Redmond, Amy Eustace, Jemma Doyle, Rebecca Doran, Rachel Kelly.
Referee: Andrew Larkin (Cork).