Strong backs earn vital win
Wexford outpoint Galway
Wexford recorded an impressive two-point victory over a battling Galway outfit in this Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate camogie championship game at Innovate Wexford Park on Saturday.
Wexford 0-9 Galway 0-7
The conditions certainly were not conducive to quality camogie as both sides had to contend with the worst of the elements.
Still, credit to the players for a battling 60 minutes of play, with both sides having their periods of supremacy during each half.
However, the staunch defending of the home side made the difference, with the central pair of Marie Claire Morrissey and Sarah O'Connor simply outstanding.
They were aided by an excellent midfield pairing in Louise Sinnott and Brídín Doyle, along with the attacking quality of Deirdre McMahon and Ellen Kelly that eventually helped the Model county to a deserved victory.
After winning the toss, Wexford played with the aid of the elements, immediately getting on the scoreboard with three points inside the opening three minutes through Ellen Kelly (free), Sarah O'Connor with a long-range free from midfield, and Amy Ryan, before Galway opened their account through a seventh-minute Rachel Monaghan pointed free.
The conditions certainly were difficult but it did not prevent Deirdre McMahon from swinging over a fine point to stretch her side into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead after ten minutes.
Wexford also had some defending to do, with 'keeper Deirdre Colfer making an excellent save from Tara Ruttledge at the expense of a '45 that Rachel Monaghan pointed to reduce the deficit to 0-4 to 0-2.
At that stage Wexford were continually pressing forward with Ellen Kelly shooting three successive points, two from frees, to give her side a 0-7 to 0-2 lead, but in the closing nine minutes Galway responded with two Monaghan pointed '45s.
Some smart attacking from the home side, who utilised their possession to advantage, led to an excellent Deirdre McMahon point having collected a great ball inside from Ellen Kelly.
And Kelly closed out the first-half scoring with a fine pointed free from an acute angle to give her side a 0-9 to 0-4 interval lead.
Wexford were determined to press into the wind on the resumption, with only desperate defending from Galway wing-back Kate Gallagher denying Deirdre McMahon a goal just two minutes into the half.
Galway launched a series of attacks, resulting in points from a Monaghan free and Tara Ruttledge to reduce the deficit to 0-9 to 0-6 after 36 minutes, but the home defence had considerable defending to do for the remainder of the game as the westerners launched heavy pressure.
But that's where Wexford's hopes were lifted as Morrissey and O'Connor along with Aisling O'Connor and Marguerite Doyle put in staunch work.
Meanwhile, corner-back Nancy Dunphy managed to snub out the threat of corner-forward Tara Ruttledge, leaving the visitors struggling for scores.
Approaching the end of the third quarter an Amy Caulfield point left just two separating the sides, while at the opposite end Ellen Kelly saw the wind pull a free attempt wide. Sarah O'Connor struck a huge 60-metre free which rebounded back into play off an upright.
However, credit to the Wexford girls who held out in the tense closing minutes to take two valuable points which was a big boost just one week after a heavy loss to Down in their first outing.
Wexford: Deirdre Colfer; Nancy Dunphy, Marie Claire Morrissey, Aisling O'Connor; Nessa Wickham, Sarah O'Connor (0-1 free), Marguerite Doyle; Louise Sinnott, Brídín Doyle; Michelle Martin, Deirdre McMahon (0-2), Amy Ryan (0-1); Ellen Kelly (0-5 frees), Ellen Roche, Marie Morrissey. Sub. - Laura Dempsey for Ryan (57).
Galway: Sinéad Skehill; Ciara Donoghue, Laura Ward, Laura Sweeney; Elaine Murphy, Lorraine Coen, Kate Gallagher; Aisling Fallon, Eleanor Stafford; Emer O'Donovan, Rachel Monaghan (0-5, 3 '45s, 2 frees), Edel Murray; Cliodhna Walshe, Amy Caulfield (0-1), Tara Ruttledge (0-1). Sub. - Marie Farrell for Murray (37).
Referee: Jenny Byrne (Dublin).