Early camogie exit after fourth defeat on the trot
Dublin 1-14 Wexford 0-13
Wexford crashed out of the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior camogie championship with their fourth defeat on the trot, this time against Dublin at a quiet Bellefield on Saturday.
Just hours after the county hurlers suffered the same fate, the Wexford women struggled to take advantage of a strong first-half breeze and didn't have enough in reserve to hold off the surging visitors from the capital in the second period.
A mid-July exit is almost unheard of in Wexford camogie circles. It's the first time in over a decade that the Slaneysiders are not among the best six teams in the country, and both on and off the field it has been a season to forget.
It is impossible to look at this failure without harping back to how this season started. These players weren't put in a position to achieve success from way back at the end of 2017, and hopefully lessons have been learned from that debacle.
This squad of players aren't All-Ireland contenders, especially with the likes of Sarah O'Connor and Una Leacy on water duty. What they should be is as good as Dublin, Offaly and Tipperary but they simply haven't been able to match those three sides.
Cork are the only contenders in Group 2 and Wexford have dropped so far off their level in the last few years that it's depressing. Group 1 looks stronger again and it will be interesting to see how Waterford fare against the winner of next week's clash between Tipperary and Dublin.
Wexford came into this game needing Tipperary to beat Offaly in The Ragg to keep the hopes of Martin Carey's side alive. The Premier girls completed their side of the equation but even early on it seemed like the Slaneysiders would struggle to follow their lead.
Orla Beagan and Emma Flanagan twice put Dublin ahead but those scores were cancelled out by a pair of Linda Bolger frees. Ali Twomey made it 0-3 to 0-2 in the 19th minute, but Chloe Foxe responded with her first from the right wing.
With the wind driving them on, Wexford finally got ahead for the first time in the 24th minute through Bolger's third free. When Joanne Dillon and Foxe quickly added to the advantage, the hosts had a little momentum.
Twomey pulled one back after a clever Doireann Mullany pass picked her out in space, but Foxe nailed a long-range free after Áine Lacey was fouled to give Wexford a three-point advantage heading into the dressing-room at the interval (0-7 to 0-4).
Dublin took just five and a half minutes to turn a deficit into a lead. Mullany got the first before Beagan picked off three in a row.
A Stacey Kehoe point from Jackie Quigley's pass was followed by a Foxe free after Shelley Kehoe was fouled as Wexford went 0-9 to 0-8 in front.
However, the home side were hit by a sucker punch immediately after re-taking the lead when Beagan's low free, possibly with the aid of a deflection, bounded all the way to the net from 60 yards out.
Two more points from Beagan and a Siobhán Kehoe minor made the lead four with ten minutes remaining (1-11 to 0-10). Wexford had a little more fight in them and it was led by Minor Anais Curran.
The Oulart-The Ballagh youngster put a goal between the teams in the 52nd minute and quickly added another score from distance. When Aoife Guiney was fouled, Foxe made it a one-point game heading into the final five minutes.
Wexford's only substitute, Kate Kirwan, was introduced in the 57th minute and had no real opportunity to make an impact. Dublin were able to close out the win with two Faye McCarthy frees and a classy Siobhán Kehoe point in added time.
A final round-robin game against Meath ends the season for Wexford next weekend, giving the County Board plenty of time to sort out the structure and management ahead of the 2019 campaign.
Wexford: Laura Brennan; Derbhla Doyle, Ciara Storey, Ciara O'Connor; Shauna Sinnott, Áine Lacey, Jackie Quigley; Shelley Kehoe (capt.), Katie O'Connor; Chloe Foxe (0-6, 4 frees), Aoife Guiney, Linda Bolger (0-3 frees); Joanne Dillon (0-1), Stacey Kehoe (0-1), Anais Curran (0-2). Subs. - Kate Kirwan for Dillon (57), also Emma Kiely, Leanne Foley, Lauren Murphy, Aoife McCrea, Orla Molloy, Clodagh Jackman, Anna Hennessy, Alannah Davis, Sorcha Foley, Megan Cullen, Chloe Cashe, Michelle Kehoe, Doireann Cullen, Annie Dempsey.
Dublin: Faye McCarthy (0-2 frees); Miriam Twomey, Aisling Carolan, Emma O'Byrne; Hannah Hegarty, Laura Twomey (capt.), Martha O'Donoghue; Eimear McCarthy, Orla Beagan (1-6, 1-5 frees); Alex Griffin, Doireann Mulllany (0-1), Siobhán Kehoe (0-2); Róisín Baker, Emma Flanagan (0-1), Ali Twomey (0-2). Subs. - Gráinne Quinn for Griffin (31), Leah Butler for Flanagan (56), Síle Ní Coitir for Baker (58).
Referee: John Dermody (Westmeath).