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Sunday 20 October 2019

All-Ireland U14 camogie glory

Wexford win one-day blitz

The victorious Wexford U14 camogie squad
The victorious Wexford U14 camogie squad

Wexford are the All-Ireland Under-14 Mary Moran Cup champions after waltzing away with the big prize following a tough day of camogie at the national blitz in Abbotstown recently.

Performances earlier in the season boded well for this group of players, and management went into the competition with a quiet confidence about how things would go.

Those vibes continued as Wexford brushed aside Kilkenny, with Ciara Butler an instrumental figure. Noel MacSweeney's side won by 2-8 to 2-3.

Galway were next up in the 'group of death' and, after a significant break between games, Wexford got off to a slow start.

They were within a goal (1-5 to 1-2) as time ran down but Sarah Doyle's low free was cleared to safety by the westerners and they hung on to take the points.

Clare was the last game for Wexford and the Slaneysiders went into it knowing they would need to rack up the scores to make the last four.

They did just that, securing a 3-11 to 1-5 success to leave them top of the group. Kilkenny and Galway, who the Noresiders beat in the final game, also finished on four points, with the Connacht side eliminated on score difference.

Wexford met Tipperary in what was destined to be a dramatic semi-final. The Leinster girls, on the back of Trojan work in midfield by Cora McGrath and Aoibhe MacSweeney, built an 0-8 to 0-2 lead heading into the closing stages.

The Premier girls are a determined bunch and a goal saw them pull within three in added time.

They bombarded the Wexford goal, but Elizabeth Dempsey saved a 20-metre free on the line, and Melissa Doran then stopped a penalty as the girls from the south-east clung on to their final spot.

Provincial rivals Dublin, who beat Kilkenny in the last four, were the opponents in the final. The hosts took an early lead but when Ciara Butler got isolated inside, the Glynn-Barntown clubwoman beat her marker and fired to the net.

Great work by Orla Redmond produced an opening point for Wexford, and when Aoibhinn Mernagh tacked on another just before the interval the Slaneysiders had a nice lead to protect in the second-half (1-2 to 0-1).

Dublin pulled a point back at the start of the second-half but the brave Butler responded in kind soon after, despite being clobbered by the onrushing 'keeper.

Good goalkeeping by Doran kept Wexford ahead, and a Mernagh '45 added to the advantage as the half wore on.

Leading by 1-4 to 0-3, Wexford made the brave choice of going for goal with a 20-metre free. It's often the prudent play in these situations, and management's trust in Sarah Doyle was rewarded when she flashed to the net to open up a seven-point advantage.

Led by the supreme Karen Tomkins and rock-solid Róisín Hughes, the Wexford defence battened down the hatches and restricted Dublin to very few scoring opportunities as the game moved into the final moments.

The hosts did manage to find their way to goal with a very late free but there was to be no denying this gutsy Wexford outfit, as they came through on a 2-4 to 1-3 scoreline.

It was left to joint captains Aoibhe MacSweeney and Cora McGrath to life the Mary Moran Cup for Wexford for the first time in six years.

Meanwhile, the 'B' team had also travelled to Dublin and were playing for the Rosina McManus Cup at O'Toole's G.A.A. club in nearby Coolock.

In Division 3 they were placed opposite Derry and Clare 'B' and had a promising group stage.

They got off to a great start, beating the Ulster side by 1-5 to 1-3 in their opening game and finished top of the table by dispatching Clare 'B' by 5-9 to 1-3.

However, in the semi-final they were pitted against a strong Laois 'A' side and it proved to be a step too far, with their opponents winning through by 4-7 to 0-4.

Wexford 'A': Melissa Doran (Craanford), Zoe Tobin-Cosgrave (Kilrush), Niamh O'Rourke (Kilrush), Claire McCarthy (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown), Rebecca Ogilvie (Cloughbawn), Cora McGrath (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown, joint capt.), Róisín Hughes (Ballinastragh Gaels), Aoibhe MacSweeney (Kilrush, joint capt.), Robyn O'Connor (Glynn-Barntown), Ciara Butler (Glynn-Barntown), Aoibhinn Mernagh (St. Martin's), Sarah Doyle (Craanford), Amy Tobin-Cosgrave (Kilrush), Nicole Gillen (St. Ibar's/Shelmalier), Nicola Corrigan (Kilrush), Ellie Kehoe (Cloughbawn), Karen Tomkins (Kilrush), Elizabeth Dempsey (Cloughbawn), Orla Redmond (Oylegate-Glenbrien), Caoimhe Byrne (Rathnure).

Wexford 'B': Lauren Smith (Duffry Rovers), Aoife Kinsella (Kilrush), Aoife Cullen (St. Martin's), Ellen Gill (Cloughbawn), Grace Harding-Kenny (St. Ibar's/Shelmalier), Jane Sinnott (St. Martin's), Tara O'Connor (Ballinastragh Gaels, joint capt.), Abbie Walsh (Kilrush, joint capt.), Imogen Deas (St. Martin's), Eimear Byrne (Kilrush), Jacqui Kehoe (Bunclody), Sarah Walsh (Oulart-The Ballagh), Sophie Kirwan (Monageer-Boolavogue), Kate Roche (St. Mary's, Rosslare), Chloe Murphy (Oylegate-Glenbrien), Kate Butler (Kilrush), Caoimhe Curtis (Cloughbawn), Gráinne O'Neill (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown), Sadhbh Buttle (Kilrush), Aoife Farrell (HWH-Bunclody), Caoilfhionn Ní Núallain (Ballygarrett), Lizzie Walsh (Glynn-Barntown).

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