Seniors win in front of big home support
A brace of goals from Kate Kelly and another from Bríd Gordon were enough to ease Wexford past Limerick to their second success in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior camogie championship in Innovate Wexford Park on Saturday.
Wexford 3-9 Limerick 0-11
The win moves Colm McGee's side to within a point of qualification for the knockout stages. Yet, with two victories under their belt and currently sitting pretty on top of Group 1, the bigger prize of an automatic spot in the semi-finals is not out of the question.
To achieve that goal the Slaneysiders will need at least three points from their final two games against Galway (Saturday) and at Cork (July 17), which is no easy task, but that must be the aim heading into the weekend.
Limerick came east full of hope knowing that should they take the scalp of Wexford they would be in pole position for a last six spot. However, they failed to really rattle McGee's charges, like Offaly were able to do seven days earlier, meaning the hosts eased away late in the second-half.
A large crowed entered the venue early, probably the biggest the camogie side has played in front of since the 2012 All-Ireland final, with the expectation of witnessing a team as flamboyant as the one they were used to under J.J. Doyle.
What they got was another performance, following on from the victory in Birr, that was based around caution first. The tactics might not lead to the most attractive spectacle but it must be considered prudent following a couple of heavy defeats to Limerick and Galway in the National League.
With the Oulart-The Ballagh trio of Karen Atkinson, Una Leacy and Ursula Jacob all out, McGee and his management team had fewer options, particularly in attack. In a strange way, the injuries to his two attacking threats have helped the Wexford manager to implement his game plan without the 'problem' of finding positions for two players that would add little to his defensive set-up.
As it is, Kate Kelly and Katrina Parrock are doing a fine job leading a spear attack that sees the St. Ibar's/Shelmalier duo as the only constants in the opponents' half of the field.
It was the former on the scoreboard with a trio of frees as Wexford matched a treble from Niamh Mulcahy to leave the sides level after 19 minutes (0-3 each).
Limerick, playing with the breeze in the opening half, looked to match tactics with Wexford, even going so far as having only one player in the home side's half at one stage in the first period.
Shelley Kehoe gave Wexford the lead for the third time in the 21st minute but as the half wore on the Munster girls missed a few half chances to find the goal they badly needed.
The best opportunity came when Caoimhe Costello found Mulcahy bursting through but Wexford 'keeper Laura Brennan was equal to her powerful high shot.
Points from Mulcahy and Costello did give Limerick an intermission lead (0-5 to 0-4), but it lasted just four minutes of the second-half as Kelly levelled with her fourth point.
Wexford's opening goal arrived just seconds later as Katrina Parrock played the perfect ball in to Kelly and she drove at Síle Moynihan's goal and drilled home her side's opening goal.
Player of the game Kelly added two more minors before the Treaty's impressive Rebecca Delee ended a 14-minute spell without a score for her side with a well-taken point.
Shelley Kehoe put Wexford 1-8 to 0-6 ahead with her second point before Limerick started to fight back.
Caoimhe Lyons, Mulcahy and Costello (two) all pointed to close the gap to one with eleven minutes left, but Gordon raced away to goal from Parrock's pass moments later to kill off the visitors' momentum.
Shortly after Gordon pointed, Kelly was pole-axed in the process of shooting which allowed the experienced attacker to step up and drive home the resulting penalty to round out an important victory.
There was still time for Una Sinnott to come on for her Senior championship debut. The 17-year-old is probably the brightest prospect for her county since Katrina Parrock came onto the scene back in 2007 and will hope to get a little more game-time against Galway this weekend.
Wexford: Laura Brennan; Ciara Storey, Síona Nolan, Deirdre Codd; Bridget Curran, Mary Leacy, Louise O'Leary; Shauna Sinnott, Bríd Gordon (1-1); Shelley Kehoe (0-2), Aine Lacey, Stacey Kehoe; Linda Bolger, Kate Kelly (2-6, 0-4 frees, 1-0 pen.), Katrina Parrock. Subs. - Eimear O'Connor for Lacey (38), Una Sinnott for Stacey Kehoe (59).
Limerick: Síle Moynihan; Judith Mulcahy, Lorraine McCarthy, Marguerita McCarthy; Fiona Hickey, Sarah Carey, Rebecca Delee (0-1); Niamh Mulcahy (0-5, 3 frees), Aoife Sheehan; Deborah Murphy, Caoimhe Costello (0-4, 3 frees), Sinéad McNamara; Karen O'Leary, Rebecca Noonan, Caoimhe Lyons (0-1). Sub. - Megan O'Hara for Noonan (54).
Referee: Alan Lagrue (Kildare).