A very dark day
Camogie, Littlewoods All Ireland Championship: Kilkenny 7-28 Wexford 0-6
Wexford capitulated under a Kilkenny onslaught in their opening fixture of the Littlewoods All-Ireland Senior camogie championship in Bellefield on Saturday.
Barry Kennedy's side looked somewhat competitive for the first 15 minutes, but it didn't last as the Kittens pawed Wexford to pieces with a clinical, classy, fast-paced brand of camogie that the hosts couldn't even dream of matching.
It might be hard to believe, given that the final margin of defeat was a whopping 43 points, but this could have been worse.
Kilkenny had to work a lot harder than their opponents to win frees from referee Ray Kelly, while they also had all their biggest stars taken off within the first 39 minutes.
Katie Power was one of those, although she netted a hat-trick in her spell on the field. However, arguably the most embarrassing moment came just before half-time when Anne Dalton went past what seemed like half the Wexford team on her way to a stunning major.
Chloe Foxe had the six Wexford scores, all of which came from dead-balls. Two of those were on the board in the opening quarter as a brace each from Power, Dalton and Denise Gaule left the visitors 0-6 to 0-2 up.
In an eight-minute spell, Kilkenny scored 1-10. Aoife Doyle had three of those points, while the opening goal came from Miriam Walsh after a nice feed into her path by Dalton.
They would only score three times in the last five minutes of the half, but two of those were goals.
Power pulled home the first after Gaule was initially denied, and Dalton added the second, that waltzing, slalom run from near midfield.
Down by 3-16 to 0-5 at the break, Wexford conceded two more goals, from Walsh and Power, within 70 seconds of the re-start.
Ann Downey immediately called for the substitutes. Kilkenny were 6-23 to 0-5 ahead by the 41st minute after Power completed her hat-trick.
The scores dried up a little thereafter, as Kilkenny added just 1-5 in the last 19 minutes, including a Michelle Quilty goal. The hosts' second-half point came from Foxe in the 59th minute.
Where do Wexford go from here? Well, physically it's to Croagh in Limerick for the second round on Saturday (5 p.m. throw-in).
It will be closer but how much closer? It's hard to know but, given that the weaker teams in the other group are at least competitive, Barry Kennedy's side need to start finding something that may not even be there.
Wexford: Lara O'Shea; Clodagh Jackman, Shauna Sinnott, Sinéad Furlong; Emma Walsh, Katie O'Connor, Aoife Guiney; Una Sinnott (capt.), Amy Cardiff; Tara Doyle, Linda Bolger, Chloe Foxe (0-6, 5 frees, 1 '45); Leah Walsh, Joanne Dillon, Mags Byrne. Subs. - Katie Sludds for Dillon (42), Anais Curran for Byrne (42), Sorcha Foley for Sinnott (42), Megan Cullen for Walsh, inj. (42), also Emma Kiely, Doireann Cullen, Michelle Kehoe, Katie Kenny, Lauren Murphy, Katie Smyth, Kate Kirwan, Ciara Storey.
Kilkenny: Emma Kavanagh; Colette Dormer, Catherine Foley, Grace Walsh; Michelle Teehan, Claire Phelan, Edwina Keane; Meighan Farrell (0-2), Davina Tobin; Katie Power (3-3), Denise Gaule (0-8, 4 frees), Anna Farrell (capt., 0-1); Anne Dalton (1-3), Miriam Walsh (2-3), Aoife Doyle (0-5). Subs. - Michaela Kenneally for A. Farrell (34), Danielle Morrissey (0-2) for G. Walsh (34), Michelle Quilty (1-0) for Keane (34), Steffi Fitzgerald (0-1) for Dalton (39), Niamh Deely for Power (39).
Referee: Ray Kelly (Kildare).