Galway surge seals success
Tactics backfire as Wexford only muster six points
Both unbeaten sides were thriving on confidence going into this game, but Galway remained the more composed outfit and built a final quarter surge into the strong breeze as they fashioned a deserved eight-point victory over a disappointing Wexford in this Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior camogie championship Group 1 clash at rain-lashed Innovate Wexford Park on Saturday.
Galway 1-11 Wexford 0-6
Both sides were on four points going into this tie, but the victory gives Galway the advantage over both Wexford and Cork going into the final round of group games. The Model county now look like they will have to play their way through the quarter-finals to keep their title hopes alive.
Things were working out very well for Wexford through the opening 30 minutes despite playing into the elements, but the concession of two points in first-half additional time gave the Galway girls a crucial five-point interval cushion.
And then their athleticism and superior touch into the elements left them superior in most departments as the home side - still in the absence of ace goalscorer Ursula Jacob, out injured with two broken fingers - struggled in front of goal.
Wexford may have put in a brave bid through the third quarter for scores, but their tactical inexperience on the sideline came back to haunt them as the eventual winners managed to shut up shop in front of goal.
This was contributed to largely by Wexford's tactical move to continue with a two-player full-forward line of Kate Kelly and Katrina Parrock, despite being five points adrift and playing with the strong wind and rain in their backs.
As a result Galway's full-back, Sarah Dervan, proved unmovable in front of goal as she dominated in that sector, clearing ball after ball as the Wexford inside duo struggled with a lack of support against the three-pronged Galway full-back line which never looked like conceding a goal. Indeed, 'keeper Susan Earner hadn't one direct shot on goal to deal with.
Little separated the sides through the opening ten minutes as solid defending from Síona Nolan, Mary Leacy, who had an immaculate game at centre-back, Ciara Storey and Deirdre Codd helped to restrict Galway to one point from Aoife Callanan.
Wexford were mounting attacks but were finding it difficult to create opportunities into the elements, while Galway had a real stroke of luck after ten minutes.
Corner-forward Maria Cooney lofted a high ball towards the crossbar, which was pulled down by home 'keeper Laura Brennan, but unfortunately the ball fell into the path of full-forward Molly Dunne who found the net from a few metres for her third goal of the championship, but more importantly giving her side a 1-1 to nil lead.
While centre-forward Niamh McGrath added four points from frees before the break, Wexford had to wait until the end of the opening quarter for their opening score, a Katrina Parrock point, while they also had points from Stacey Kehoe and Kate Kelly as the home side trailed by 1-5 to 0-3 at the interval.
Wexford set about delivering early scores on the resumption in an effort to reduce the deficit. After 34 minutes, Kate Kelly was fouled close to goal, but she saw her attempt for a goal from the resulting penalty slip off the hurley and go over the bar. A goal at that stage was the boost this Wexford side needed.
There was still hope of a recovery when she pointed a free three minutes later to leave just three points separating the sides (1-5 to 0-5), but they were unable to follow this up with further scores as the numerical advantage in the Galway defence suddenly put up the shutters.
Wexford may have continued to press but all they showed for their efforts was a Shelley Kehoe 42nd-minute point (1-6 to 0-6). And Galway displayed their superiority in the closing quarter as they out-fought and out-played the home side, going on to add five further points into the wind with two each from Ailish O'Reilly and substitute Finola Keely along with one from Ciara Donohoe to run out the most comfortable of winners.
Wexford: Laura Brennan; Ciara Storey, Síona Nolan, Deirdre Codd; Louise O'Leary, Mary Leacy, Bridget Curran; Ciara Donohoe, Bríd Gordon; Shelley Kehoe (0-1), Aine Lacey, Stacey Kehoe (0-1); Linda Bolger, Kate Kelly (0-3, 2 frees), Katrina Parrock (0-1). Subs. - Una Sinnott for Leacy (44), Jackie Quigley for Bolger (44), Stacey Redmond for Donohoe (53).
Galway: Susan Earner; Therese Manton, Sarah Dervan, Heather Cooney; Siobhán Coen, Shauna Healy, Lorraine Ryan; Niamh Kilkenny, Emma Kilkelly; Aoife Donohoe (0-1), Niamh McGrath (0-5 frees), Aoife Callanan (0-1); Maria Cooney, Molly Dunne (1-0), Ailish O'Reilly (0-2). Subs. - Finola Keely (0-2) for Cooney (HT), Clodagh McGrath for Callanan (51), Sinéad Cahalan for Kilkelly (55), Jessica Gill for Dunne (57).
Referee: Cathal Egan (Cork).