Ladies face Exiles again
Just a few weeks after meeting in the Leinster Intermediate ladies' football championship in Ruislip, Wexford will once again face London in the preliminary round of the TG4 All-Ireland series at the Fingallians club grounds in Swords on Saturday (2.30 p.m.).
On this occasion Shane McCormack and his team won't have to contend with the hassle of travelling to London as, while their last meeting ended in success for Wexford, there was the considerable hardship of bus journeys, flights and hotels to contend with.
However, the trip also acted as a great bonding session for the Wexford team and they gained considerable unity since. The game in Ruislip ended in Wexford winning by 2-7 to 1-5 with the crucial goals in that game coming from Maria Byrne who bagged 2-3 in an impressive performance from the Kilmore girl.
However, Maria will have to make a quick dash from a showjumping event in Tipperary on Saturday to be sure of playing in the game, as the talented footballer is also an ace in equestrian sport just like her brother, Paddy, who also doubles up.
Another Kilmore player will make her return to action after missing the Leinster quarter-final and semi-final against Kildare due to her wedding and honeymoon. The availability of Sharon Kehoe will be a huge help to Wexford in what could be another difficult tie, as London showed enough in the quarter-final to suggest that they will once again be no pushover.
Wexford had a very useful work-out in the past week as they drew with Senior side Meath in a challenge played at a neutral venue. Some of the younger stars of the team made their mark once again, with Bannow-Ballymitty starlet Mairéad Moran scoring a cracking goal, and she will certainly give McCormack something to think about when he names his team this week.
One of London's top performers in the quarter-final was Shannon Ní Donnacha as she scored 1-3 for her side, and she is well known to Marguerite Doyle on the Wexford team as the players were team-mates on the W.I.T. side which claimed a Giles Cup title in 2011. Certainly Wexford will need to curb her considerable influence on the game.
The prize for the winners is a passage into the next round of the qualifiers against the losers of the Ulster Intermediate final between Fermanagh and Antrim, so there is certainly potential for this young Wexford side to recover from their Leinster semi-final loss to Kildare and map a route that could easily bring them to at least an All-Ireland quarter-final.
With a win in the last meeting between the sides in London, Wexford will be expected to again triumph but they will need to be on their guard as this could be a tricky assignment.