Monday 18 December 2017

Good start the key for ladies

Wexford's first league win

Dean Goodison

Wexford's Aisling Murphy holds off Sarah Cummins (Offaly)
Wexford's Aisling Murphy holds off Sarah Cummins (Offaly)
Wexford centre-back Róisín Murphy delivers a handpass during Sunday’s success

The problem with scoring four goals in less than seven minutes is that it's not going to get any better than that, and everything else is pretty much a letdown - for the players and for those in attendance.

Wexford 6-12 Offaly 3-9

Maybe that's not fair on those involved in the game, as good execution and precise finishing go into getting in a winning position early, and sustaining an advantage is an artform in itself.

But for the other 53 minutes, Offaly matched Wexford in St. Patrick's Park in this Lidl ladies' football National League Division 3 tie, a Faithful county side, it should be noted, which only travelled with 15 players.

Some of those Offaly players deserve so much better than that kind of shambles. Aoife Norris and Róisín Egan are tremendous footballers, and Mairéad Daly is an exceptional talent, but they are wasted by a system that doesn't seem to care.

At least Wexford are doing it the right way. Overall this performance probably wasn't as strong as the previous week's, despite the woeful last quarter against Tipp. It certainly didn't have the same intensity.

But players on any team, in any sport, will struggle to find their best form when the game is clearly beyond their opponents. Wexford swarmed the visitors in those opening minutes and from there it was plain sailing.

Clara Donnelly set off pacing through the defence to create the opener for Bernie Breen in the first minute, and the Kerry import made no mistake with a classy finish. It was two 80 seconds into the game when Chantelle Martin poked soccer-style past Lauren Dunne from Aisling Murphy's pass.

Donnelly and Murphy were involved again moments later, picking out Martin on the run and she fired low to the Offaly net for the second of her four majors. The Adamstown hotshot completed her treble in the seventh minute from a line-drive free that shouldn't have beaten the 'keeper.

Wexford got their first point in the eighth minute from a Fiona Rochford kick. Bernie Breen was then credited with a score, despite the fact that referee John Gallagher waved it wide.

It led to a score discrepancy at the interval, with the Dublin official strangely changing his correct 4-7 to a 4-8 after external consultation.

Rochford nailed a dead-ball to make it 4-3 to nil. Then Offaly started to find their feet, or Wexford eased off the accelerator, whichever way you want to look at it. An Egan free was countered by a score from the otherwise subdued Catríona Murray.

Róisín Egan's long-range free found the net in the 14th minute, bouncing off the hands of Kellie Kearney, with the experienced Shelmalier in goalkeeper Sarah Merrigan's way. Clara Donnelly, scorer of two goals the previous week, pointed to make it 4-5 to 1-1 at the end of the opening quarter.

Offaly then had a purple patch as Norris registered, Aoife Corbett kicked a lovely score, and Mairéad Daly opened her account with a pair of points. Wexford hit back with a trio of Rochford efforts, while Murray missed a great goal chance in the middle of that run.

Egan kicked the final score of a quick opening half to eventually leave eleven between the sides (4-8 to 1-6). Wexford boss Anthony Masterson resisted any thoughts of changes at the break and his side repaid that faith with a good third quarter.

Rochford quietly ended the day with eight points, and she opened the scoring after the change-around with a nice score from the left of goal. Martin added her fourth major in the 35th minute with a looping effort that found the visitors' net.

Breen scored one of the points of the afternoon, cutting in from the left wing to make it 5-10 to 1-6. Frees at either end, with Rochford and Daly on target, were followed by the hosts' sixth goal, scored by Aisling Murphy from a Martin pass after a jinking Ellen O'Brien run.

It really wasn't an afternoon for the two Wexford wing-forwards. The Slaneysiders played mostly through the middle with the centrefield duo, plus Rochford at eleven, breaking from the centre looking for the inside forwards. On the periphery, both were withdrawn, through no real fault of their own.

Rochford ended the Wexford scoring in the 46th minute, which means despite registering 8-22 in two games, none of their scores have come in the final 14 minutes plus added-time.

Offaly didn't stop. Daly goaled with a speculative effort from distance, and then, after Norris pointed, added another with a succulent lob following a defensive error.

It makes tough reading for marker Ciara Corrigan to see 2-4 next to her opponent's name when she actually performed really well against their dangerwoman.

A late Daly free ended the scoring five minutes from time, with Wexford seeing the game out in unspectacular style to record their first win under their new boss. After a break next weekend, Wexford return to action on February 19 with a home tie against Limerick.

Wexford: Sarah Merrigan; Brídín Doyle, Marica Cullen, Marguerite Doyle; Clara Donnelly (0-1), Róisín Murphy, Ciara Corrigan; Bernie Breen (1-2), Kellie Kearney; Ellen O'Brien, Fiona Rochford (capt., 0-8, 5 frees), Fiona Bennett; Chantelle Martin (4-0), Aisling Murphy (1-0), Catríona Murray (0-1). Subs. - Trina Sinnott for Murray (42), Siobhán Cloake for Bennett (42), Eleanor Neville for O'Brien (50), Beth Cardiff for Cullen (60), also Mary Rose Kelly, Maeve Quill, Lorraine Breen, Niamh Butler, Ann Byrne, Elaine McCabe, Sarah Harding-Kenny, Emer Cahill, Fiona Rowe, Maria Byrne, Georgina Hearn.

Offaly: Lauren Dunne; Gráinne Dolan, Sarah Cummins, Katie Kehoe; Claire O'Brien, Emer Nally, Imelda Fleming; Aoife Norris (capt., 0-2), Ellen McEvoy; Mairéad Daly (2-4, 0-3 frees), Róisín Egan (1-2 frees), Emma Kirwan; Annie Kehoe, Aoife Corbett (0-1), Sarah Kehoe.

Referee: John Gallagher (Dublin).

Wexford People

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