Inters pass major test
Wexford carried their second-half form against Kildare the previous week into their National Camogie League Division 2 clash with Laois on Sunday and made it count in a hard-fought win at St. Patrick's Park, Enniscorthy.
Wexford 1-9 - Laois 0-9
The deadly duo of seven days earlier, Mary Cummins and Una Sinnott, were at it again, sharing all of the Wexford scoring total between them, but it was the defence that showed the biggest improvement with stopper Geraldine Curtis rarely troubled.
With Amy Ryan sweeping in behind, the youthful half-back line of Doireann Kavanagh, Nessa Wickham and Molly McGuckin were particularly impressive against a side with plenty of experience in the inter-county game.
Laois took just three minutes to get on the scoreboard from Niamh Dollard's superb left wing point, but Wexford hit back after the impressive Clodagh Fitzhenry was fouled and Cummins popped over the resulting free.
The first of six Louise Mahony dead balls momentarily gave the visitors the advantage back, but the Slaneysiders gained confidence when Sinnott latched on to Amy Ryan's long ball and flipped it over Laura Dunne's crossbar.
Sinnott doubled her tally when she broke away from a scramble for possession with the sliothar and popped it over, and Cummins increased the lead after Fitzhenry was again fouled (0-4 to 0-2).
Laois had their strongest spell for the next ten minutes, registering five points without reply. Louise Mahony got three while Sarah Ann Fitzgerald and Elaine Mahony also scored to ease their side 0-7 to 0-4 ahead.
Cummins added an important free on the stroke of half-time to narrow the deficit to two, and a quiet start to the second-half allowed Wexford to build up a head of steam as Laois struggled against the breeze.
It was difficult at times for Cummins one week earlier from placed balls, but clearly St. Patrick's Park suited her as another free and a nice point from Louise Stafford's pass drew Wexford level at 0-7 apiece.
Laois hit back through Mahony but that would turn out to be their last lead as a perfectly weighted Una Sinnott pass picked out Cummins, who rounded the 'keeper and dispatched to the visitors' net.
Two more Cummins dead balls were partially cancelled out by a Mahony reply. However, leading by three (1-9 to 0-9), Wexford survived an injury time scare when Fitzgerald's 20-metre free was blocked in the direction of Dollard but she could only bat the rebound wide of the left post.
Wexford now travel to Antrim on Sunday with a renewed confidence running through this young team. They finish the round robin stages with a trip to Galway with the Seniors two weeks later.
Wexford: Geraldine Curtis; Nancy Dunphy, Farren Byrne, Aisling O'Connor (capt.); Doireann Kavanagh, Nessa Wickham, Molly McGuckin; Aisling Higgins, Louise Stafford; Una Sinnott (0-2), Mary Cummins (1-7, 0-5 frees, 0-1 '45), Ellen Roche; Olivia Lambert, Clodagh Fitzhenry, Amy Ryan. Sub. - Katie Lillis for Dunphy (31).
Laois: Laura Dunne; Mairéad Burke, Rosemary Bermingham, Catríona Downey; Claire Walsh, Sarah Ann Fitzgerald (0-1 free), Lizzie Ryan; Sarah Creagh, Louise Mahony (0-6 frees); Olga Parkinson, Elaine Mahony (0-1), Michelle Holmes; Aisling O'Dea, Niamh Dollard (capt., 0-1), Sharon Moylan. Subs. - Aoife Burke for Moylan (38), Rebecca Tracey for Parkinson, inj. (55).
Referee: Mike Sheehan (Cork).