Minors stay in the hunt
Wexford kept their faint hopes of a place in the All-Ireland Minor camogie championship semi-finals alive with a hard-fought but gutsy win over Waterford in Carriganore on Saturday.
Wexford 3-9 Waterford 3-7
When you are conceding an average of four goals a game at this level, it's difficult to win matches consistently, but Wexford did just enough in this tie to snatch victory and take Waterford's fate out of their own hands.
The best player on the pitch was Beth Carton for the hosts, and Wexford took a long time to come to terms with her talents. Apart from Aisling Power in patches, none of the other forwards could hurt Wexford, so to allow Carton to dictate for so long has to be a concern. Wexford were the more rounded, consistent team from the off and started brightly with classy points from Aoife Curran and Oonagh Doyle.
Carton scored her first point for Waterford in the sixth minute but Róisín Kelly quickly responded from a free after a foul on Shauna Kelly.
Again Carton cut the arrears after she was felled before Róisín Kelly was booked for a charge, despite the fact that the Waterford defender side-stepped into her run as the Wexford forward attempted to go around her.
A blistering Carton goal, from Power's knock-down, gave Waterford the lead in the twelfth minute. The Slaneysiders, familiar with conceding goals at this stage, bounced right back when Sarah O'Connor sent over a booming free.
The visitors were not the only ones getting a raw deal from inconsistent referee Liz Dempsey. There's a high probability that Carton would have netted again had she not been called back and given a free, that she converted, when running at goal in the 21st minute.
Oonagh Doyle seems to excel at Carriganore as, after her heroics for Our Lady of Lourdes three weeks earlier, she added her second point to make it 1-4 to 0-5. Waterford looked set for a big interval lead when Carton found Power and she hit the net in the 24th minute.
However, Wexford responded and, after Doyle scored her third point, she sent a long ball into the goalmouth that Aoife Dunne forced over the line. Leading by just one at the break (2-4 to 1-6), Waterford were first to register in the second-half when Carton converted a free.
A light brush off Shauna Kelly's hurl was enough to sent Róisín Kelly's long ball to the net to give Wexford the lead. It lasted just two minutes as Carton picked up loose possession and smashed past Emma Kiely.
A Power point left the hosts a goal ahead but Wexford kept fighting and ended the third quarter 3-6 to 2-7 behind after a Róisín Kelly free. The key moment arrived with just 13 minutes left on the clock.
Sarah O'Connor sent a long ball into the right corner that Aoife Dunne stopped Caoimhe Drohan from blocking, and it ran on to Aoife Guiney who cut in from the wing and sent a thumping shot across goal to Brianna O'Regan's net.
Waterford only managed one further Carton free, sandwiched by two Sarah O'Connor points, as Wexford stood resolute and disciplined in defence to take their first win of the championship.
The Slaneysiders now need to beat Cork handsomely in their final outing on Sunday while also keeping an eye on the other tie between Waterford and Limerick. Yet, the Treaty's win at Piercestown in the opening round may be the result that ultimately costs Wexford.
Wexford: Emma Kiely; Aine Ennis, Leanne Foley (capt.), Derbhla Doyle; Aoife McCrea, Rachel Kelly, Róisín Cooney; Sarah O'Connor (0-3 frees), Oonagh Doyle (0-3); Emma Codd, Róisín Kelly (0-2 frees), Aoife Curran (0-1); Shauna Kelly (1-0), Aoife Guiney (1-0), Aoife Dunne (1-0). Subs. - Orla Molloy for Codd (52), Emma O'Dowd for S. Kelly (60+2), also Liza Bates, Orla Crowe, Amy Conroy, Clodagh Jackman, Emma Furlong, Una Sinnott.
Waterford: Brianna O'Regan; Sinéad Cunningham, Sinéad O'Brien, Caoimhe Drohan; Courtney Healy, Megan Dunford, Aoife Shanahan; Sibeal Harney, Kate MacMahon; Saoirse Bonnar, Beth Carton (capt., 2-6, 0-5 frees), Ashling Madigan; Ciara Jackman, Aisling Power (1-1), Clodagh Glavin. Subs. - Clodagh Curran for Shanahan (46), Anne Corcoran for Madigan (48), Shauna Fitzgerald for Healy, inj. (60+2).
Referee: Liz Dempsey (Kilkenny).