Seconds go down fighting to Premier
WEXFORD NARROWLY went down to Tipperary in their opening clash in the Intermediate camogie championship in The Ragg on Saturday last.
The 2011 champions no longer boast any starter from that All-Ireland winning side as a flood of retirements, promotions and emigrations has hit the second string even harder than their Senior compatriots.
Therefore it was no surprise that a more experienced Tipperary side was a little too good on home soil. However, an improving Wexford can be satisfied with a solid opening outing.
The Slaneysiders started brightly and eased into a 0-2 to 0-1 lead on the back of points from Margaret Byrne and Ellen Kelly. Yet, a pair of injury stoppages broke the Wexford momentum and soon Tipperary sprung free courtesy of Ciara Johnston's goal.
A brisk end to the half saw Wexford edge back into the contest when Byrne pointed and she quickly followed the minor with a raised green flag after great build-up play involving Emma Leacy, Ann Cousins and Nicole Fortune (1-5 to 1-3).
Looking good to go in at the break in touch, an injury time salvo of 1-2 for the hosts left Wexford with an uphill task after the interval. Antoinette Kennedy grabbed the vital second Tipperary goal, but Wexford were threatening on the resumption with Ann Cousins forcing Orla McEniry to save.
Yet it turned into a good third quarter for Tipperary who maintained their seven-point lead (2-10 to 1-6) into the last ten minutes, despite Wexford points from Nicole Fortune, Rachel Collier and Cousins.
There was still a little sting in the visitors' tails as they came roaring back. The Leinster side pulled within four when Marie Morrissey was fouled and Marguerite Doyle fed Aoife Sheil for the substitute to race away and goal.
Sheil was again on the scoreboard two minutes later when she pointed to cut the gap to just a goal, but there was too little time remaining for Wexford.
Next up for Wexford is a home clash against 2012 All-Ireland finalists Galway in two weeks' time, the same day the Seniors meet the westerners.
Tipperary: Orla McEniry; Tina Roche, Siobhán O'Neill, Patricia McGrath; Ciannait Walsh, Caoimhe Kennedy, Louise McLoughlin; Mairéad Eviston, Aoife McGrath (0-1); Sinéad Kennedy, Antoinette Kennedy (1-0), Ciara Johnston (1-1); Aofie Ryan (0-3), Maria Ryan (0-2), Aoife McLoughney (0-3, 2 '45s). Subs. - Andrea Loughnane for McLoughney, Clodagh Quirke for McGrath, Elaine Murphy for Johnston.
Wexford: Ann Marie Foley; Emma Leacy, Amy Ryan, Nancy Dunphy; Róisín Murphy, Marguerite Doyle, Brídín Roche; Nicola Davitt, Rachel Collier (0-1); Olivia Hearn, Ann Cousins (0-1), Ellen Kelly (0-1); Margaret Byrne (1-2), Cáit Doyle, Nicole Fortune (0-1). Subs. - Aoife Sheil (1-1) for Davitt, Marie Morrissey for Doyle, Emma O'Connor for Roche, Meabh Hughes for Kelly.
Referee: Aidan Ryan (Clare).