Seniors set up date with Dubs

Wexford 1-13 Limerick 0-11

The Wexford squad prior to Saturday's victory over Limerick in Bruff
The Wexford squad prior to Saturday's victory over Limerick in Bruff

Wexford will face Dublin in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior camogie championship quarter-final after beating Limerick in Bruff on Saturday to finish second in Group 2.

The Slaneysiders just had to avoid a six-point defeat or worse on their trip to the Treaty county, but they managed to go a little better than that and take the victory that ensured they finished behind just Cork in the round-robin table.

A superb showing by the back nine was the basis for the win with Wexford defending well as a team. The side looked a lot more balanced with Mary Leacy back in her commanding centre-back role.

In front of Leacy, Amy Cardiff might just have been her side's best performer. The St. Martin's clubwoman got through endless work in midfield and produced her most impressive showing in a county jersey.

The front six managed enough scores to get Wexford over the line but they will need to improve to get the better of Dublin and will need to jump up to a different level to make the Croke Park showpiece in September.

Wexford started positively with a free within a minute, scored by Chloe Foxe from long range after Shauna Sinnott was fouled. Just seconds later a superb crossfield ball picked out Joanne Dillon and she put it in the back of net to make it 1-1 to nil.

Limerick midfielder Caoimhe Costelloe responded with a point from play, and it was followed by free from their dead-ball specialist and captain Niamh Mulcahy.

Wexford scored a point through Stacey Kehoe, after a great ball by Foxe, to make it 1-2 to 0-2. Shortly after, Mary Leacy's hard work created a chance for midfielder Amy Cardiff to split the posts and she made no mistake.

When Síona Nolan was unfortunate to concede a free, Niamh Mulcahy made her pay. The experienced Limerick star converted from play shortly after. At the other end Chloe Foxe responded with an accurate free after Sinnott was fouled.

Both free-takers registered again, Foxe after Dillon was impeded to make it 1-5 to 0-5. The hosts' plan to deal with Una Leacy stretched the boundaries of the laws of the game but she shook off their attentions to open her account.

A growing feature of the first-half was Aine Lacey excellent's high fielding. Wexford's strong but usually fair defending was frustrating the hosts but they did pick off another Mulcahy free as the second quarter began.

Foxe responded after Leacy was fouled to open up a goal advantage, and moments later it happened again as Wexford moved further clear. When Una Leacy was fouled for a penalty in the 29th minute the Oulart-The Ballagh clubwoman flashed somewhat disappointingly over the crossbar.

It was all Limerick in the last few minutes of the first-half. Niamh Mulcahy fired wide but then converted a free. Caoimhe Lyons put her name on the scoreboard with her side's third from play of the half to leave a goal between them at the interval (1-8 to 0-8).

Emma Walsh came on for the second period but it was Limerick on the scoreboard first with their midfielder Caoimhe Costello picking off her second. Fantastic tracking back by Amy Cardiff prevented Sarah Carey from cutting the gap to a point.

Wexford missed a few chances early in the half but Una Leacy eventually picked off her third after more great work by Cardiff. Quality play by 2016 All Star nominee Sarah O'Connor started a move that saw Leacy impeded again and Foxe made no mistake.

Leading by 1-11 to 0-9, the Slaneysiders introduced Linda Bolger and she had an immediate impact, getting fouled for another Foxe point.

Limerick had a strong spell of pressure but they struggled to turn it into scores.

Shortly after Mulcahy nailed a free, Shelley Kehoe converted from play to hit right back. Nicole Fortune produced a fine stop in the Wexford goal but Karen O'Leary did eventually pop over a point. However, it wasn't near enough to deny the visitors a deserved victory.

The quarter-finals are scheduled for Saturday, August 5, at a neutral venue to be confirmed. The last time these two played in the knockouts, two years ago, the game took place in Carlow and similar would make sense again.

In the other quarter-final Tipperary will meet Galway after Offaly slumped to a loss against the Premier county to miss out on the knockouts by one point on score difference. Cork and Kilkenny are the automatic qualifiers for the last four.

Wexford: Nicole Fortune; Sarah O'Connor, Ciara Storey, Karen Atkinson; Aine Lacey, Mary Leacy, Síona Nolan; Bríd Gordon, Amy Cardiff (0-1); Shauna Sinnott, Shelley Kehoe (0-1), Chloe Foxe (0-7 frees); Joanne Dillon (1-0), Stacey Kehoe (0-1), Una Leacy (0-3, 0-1 pen.). Subs. - Emma Walsh for Sinnott (31), Linda Bolger for Dillon (44), Una Sinnott for Shelley Kehoe (60), Leah Walsh for Stacey Kehoe (60+3), Ciara Donohoe for Gordon (60+3), also Niamh Potter, Aideen Brennan, Aisling Cronin, Eimear Nolan, Aoife Sheil, Shauna Kelly, Róisín Kelly, Clodagh Jackman.

Limerick: Laura O'Neill; Fiona Hickey, Muireann Creamer, Marian Quaid; Judith Mulcahy, Sarah Carey, Karen O'Leary (0-1); Niamh Mulcahy (0-7), Caoimhe Costelloe (0-2); Deborah Murphy, Sinéad McNamara, Rebecca Delee; Caoimhe Lyons (0-1), Orla Curtin, Aisling Scanlon.

Referee: Cathal Egan (Cork).

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