Ladies away to Londoners
Trip over the water this weekend
Published 16/06/2015 | 00:00
The Wexford ladies' football team travel to Ruislip this Sunday to play London in the quarter-final of the Leinster Intermediate football championship. Wexford are well used to long trips already this season after playing six of their seven league games away from home.
Wexford had an up and down league campaign with the emphasis put on rebuilding the panel obliterated with retirements and injury from 2014.
Shane McCormack's side scored 12-46 and conceded 12-73 in the league campaign.
After a heavy defeat in the opening game, McCormack set about tightening up the defensive structures and this worked as Wexford kept two clean sheets, drew with Fermanagh and beat Longford, while also closing the margin of defeat significantly compared to the 2014 league campaign.
Two Wexford players were honoured with places on the Tesco NFL Division 3 team of the league, with Sharon Kehoe excelling at centre-back, while sharpshooting Chantelle Martin was an ever-present on the scoresheet in attack.
London actually won an All-Ireland at adult level six years before Wexford, as they collected the Junior title in 2008 after defeating Derry in the final in Croke Park.
In 2014 London exited the championship in the second round of the All-Ireland qualifiers as they went down to Sligo by 3-19 to 1-10 and were defeated in the Leinster Intermediate championship by Offaly at the semi-final stage (3-7 to 1-11).
London don't play in the National League so a current form guide is difficult to ascertain.
Wexford will have to plan for the big game without Clara Donnelly who is in New York for the summer, while centre-back and team of the league player Sharon Kehoe will be unavailable for selection as she is getting married on June 19.
Wexford have recalled some old faces back into the squad, with Maeve Quill (Shelmalier), Mary O'Neill (Clonee) and Emma Hore (Kilmore) among those back in contention after fine performances with their clubs in recent championship games.
In addition to this, it's encouraging to see the policy of bringing in the youth started by former manager Billy Donnelly being continued, with several Minors from recent seasons expected to make their championship debuts in London.
Wexford will have to be very wary of the challenge from London, and the Róisín Murphy-captained side have heard all the phrases, but this one has a lot of the unknown about it and the terms 'banana skin' and 'snake in the long grass' certainly apply on this occasion.