Seniors step it up in Cork
Second position secured
Wexford put in what was undoubtedly their best performance of the year to beat Cork in the Sarsfields G.A.A. club grounds, Riverstown on Saturday afternoon last and secure second spot in Group 1 of the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior camogie championship.
Wexford 0-13 Cork 0-10
The Slaneysiders were in superb form throughout, with only a bout of wayward shooting in the first-half preventing the margin of victory being significantly larger.
What Wexford also showed in bundles was a greater hunger for victory. They simply wanted it that bit more than their hosts and that trait will be absolutely vital when they hit the knockout stages in the coming weeks.
It was also encouraging that the whole team put in a shift, even the less experienced players. Ciara Donohoe has been around the squad since Martin Lynch gave her a shot back in 2013. This was the second of a rare pair of starts for the St. Ibar's/Shelmalier clubwoman and was easily her finest hour in a county shirt.
Una Sinnott made her full championship debut and it wasn't without incident. The Craanford-Monaseed starlet was sent-off in added time, picking up her second yellow for an innocuous foul on Aoife Murray. The first had came when she attempted to give Aisling Thompson her latest tattoo - an imprint of her hurl around the Cork captain's neck.
If the red card was the low point of the day, the overall performance of the 17-year-old was one of the highs. After a few nerves early on, Sinnott shone and was involved in Wexford's best point of the afternoon, scored by Parrock midway through the second-half.
Wexford didn't alter a lot tactically but Cork couldn't find the answers to their questions. Parrock had already registered a wide when the Leesiders opened the scoring through Cotter in the second minute. That would be their only score of the opening quarter.
Kate Kelly and Parrock were popping up everywhere early on. The former shot a free wide from inside the '45 but made amends when she converted after Parrock's shot was deflected over the endline.
Four wides in a row followed before Kelly added her second dead ball to send her side 0-2 to 0-1 ahead in the 13th minute. Another long-range miss by Sinnott brought the wides total to seven inside 15 minutes but Cork weren't nearly as profligate at the other end as Katriona Mackey levelled.
Mary Leacy was hit late in the move that led to Wexford's third point which ended with Parrock feeding Shelley Kehoe for the score. Back came Cork again to level for the third time through Cotter - the sides would be tied at every opportunity in the first period.
Mackey put Cork ahead with seven minutes left in the half but back came Wexford who scored through Kelly after Shelley Kehoe's second wide in as many minutes was wiped off the board by the referee playing an advantage.
Again Mackey struck, only for Parrock to point soon after to make it 0-5 each. Cotter brought her tally to three in the 29th minute but Kelly responded again. However, she shouldn't have had to as Parrock was baring down on goal when John Dolan blew his whistle for the free-in.
At 0-6 apiece at the break and the wind to follow, Cork must have been confident. Yet when Wexford got a sniff of victory all 15 knuckled down and nobody shirked their defensive duties.
Key to the Slaneysiders' success was a fast start to the second-half. A Sinnott tipped wide from Parrock's misplaced shot-cum-pass started the period for Wexford but Kelly pointed moments later when she was fouled.
A nice segment of play from Stacey Redmond allowed Shelley Kehoe to grab her second, and that was followed by another Kelly free, this time for over-carrying in the Cork defence.
The visitors went 0-10 to 0-6 up when Parrock picked up a poor defensive clearance and pointed, but Cotter countered immediately with a free. Sinnott's brilliant crossfield ball created Parrock's third as the third quarter ended (0-11 to 0-7).
A misjudgement on a ball that was going wide from Laura Brennan gave Cotter her fifth point from a '45, but back came Colm McGee's side to point through Kelly after Linda Bolger was fouled.
More wides followed for Wexford but they did go 0-13 to 0-8 ahead when Rena Buckley over-carried and Kelly registered for the eighth time. Cork added a late pair from Cotter but Wexford survived Sinnott's red card to take the spoils back to the south-east.
Wexford's opponents in the quarter-final will be either Dubin or Clare, who drew when they met on July 11.
The Metropolitans play Derry next weekend in their final group game and should they win they will join the Banner women on three points, with third place being determined by goals scored in the group stages. The date for the quarter-finals is set for August 1.
Wexford: Laura Brennan; Louise O'Leary, Síona Nolan, Ciara Donohoe; Stacey Redmond, Mary Leacy, Ciara Storey; Deirdre Codd, Bríd Gordon; Katrina Parrock (0-3), Kate Kelly (0-8, 7 frees, 1 '45), Shelley Kehoe (capt., 0-2); Stacey Kehoe, Linda Bolger, Una Sinnott. Subs. - Lisa Bolger for Linda Bolger (59), Aine Lacey for Stacey Kehoe (60 + 1).
Cork: Aoife Murray; Pamela Mackey, Laura Treacy, Leanne O'Sullivan; Rena Buckley, Gemma O'Connor, Méabh Cahalane; Julia White, Aisling Thompson (capt.); Orla Cotter (0-7, 3 frees, 2 '45s), Orla Cronin, Jennifer Hosford; Katriona Mackey (0-3), Amy O'Connor, Briege Corkery.
Referee: John Dolan (Clare).