Wexford hope to cause upset
Galway have held upper hand
Published 11/08/2015 | 00:00
Wexford have a chance to avenge their worst performances in both the league and championship this season when they face Galway for their third time this year in Nowlan Park on Saturday (4 p.m.) in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior camogie championship semi-final.
The Slaneysiders were abysmal in Loughrea back in April when they slumped out of league contention with a 20-point hammering (2-23 to 0-9), and fared little better in the championship just over four weeks ago when they managed only six points in a eight-point defeat (1-11 to 0-6).
While those two matches might give Galway the psychological edge heading into the semi-final, they count for nothing on the Nowlan Park scoreboard.
Things have changed a bit since the July defeat with Wexford welcoming back injured players that could make all the difference.
Colm McGee's troops also have the added bonus of a big win in their satchel since that last meeting with the westerners.
Seven days after the defeat to Galway, Wexford headed to Ballincollig and took the scalp of a decent Cork side (0-13 to 0-10), and that could only have served to boost confidence in the camp.
Also standing to the Leinster side will be the closer-than-it-needed-to-be victory over Dublin in the quarter-finals on Bank Holiday Monday. Wexford never hit the heights, intensity-wise, that they managed against the Rebelettes but they did just about enough to keep the Metropolitans at arm's length.
Thirteen of the side who were in the starting 15 against Galway took to the pitch against Dublin last week with impressive county Minor, 17-year old Una Sinnott, and experienced Oulart-The Ballagh all-rounder Stacey Redmond taking the places of St. Ibar's/Shelmalier duo Bridget Curran and Aine Lacey.
However, Karen Atkinson made her comeback from injury as a late substitute against Dublin and someone of her experience is likely to be needed from the start this time around.
That will possibly see the technically superior Redmond make way for the dogged defender.
Ursula Jacob was kitted out against Dublin but not risked, but with two further weeks of mending on her injured finger it's almost inconceivable that she won't make the starting 15 on Saturday.
Ordinarily the youngster Sinnott might be expected to make way but her rise continues to be meteoric and it would be a surprise if she doesn't keep her spot.
That leaves Linda Bolger, substituted in the last three championship matches, as the most likely to lose out.
Again it would be harsh on the St. Martin's clubwoman who takes the brunt of her side's defensive tactics with extra defenders constantly in and around her area of the field.
Wexford also have a question mark at goalkeeper as well with Mags D'Arcy's return to training giving Laura Brennan competition between the sticks.
Whichever way McGee goes, the decision on who to start at number one is a gamble so experience could well win out in that situation.
Galway, on the other hand, have played ten games this season, won nine and drawn just the one. That tie was way back in their first fixture of the year against Limerick in the league.
They went on to take that crown and have to be favoured, with Kilkenny, to make the All-Ireland final.
The 2013 champions possess a miserly defence anchored by Sarah Dervan at full-back, and with Niamh Kilkenny providing the penetration from deep to a set of forwards who all know where the posts are, it's going to be a massive test for McGee's girls.
It would take an eternal optimist to predict a Wexford win but if they can stay with Galway into the latter stages they have a chance.
That's when experience comes to the fore and with Kate Kelly, Katrina Parrock and potentially Jacob in attack, the Slaneysiders have enough in the armoury to nick it if they are in the hunt in the final moments.