Tipp up next after big win
Seniors strike seven goals
Wexford strolled into the quarter-finals of the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior camogie championship with a comfortable victory over injury-plagued Clare in Corofin on Saturday.
Wexford 7-12 Clare 1-5
In fact, for a little while, it looked like the Slaneysiders would do the impossible and overturn an inferior 42-point score difference and challenge Cork for top spot in Group 1, for which an automatic place in the last four was available.
However, after Kate Kelly completed a hat-trick in the 34th minute to make it 5-9 to 0-1, Wexford managed just two points in the next 28 minutes of action as Clare battled away, believing they were being dogged by a referee, in Cathal Egan, who had a pretty strong afternoon.
In the end Cork thumped Limerick to take top spot, with Wexford well short of the 57-point success that would have secured first. More important, for the visitors, than a forlorn points chase was the continued revival in form.
Wexford played some good stuff in the first-half. The barometer of a decent performance often lies in the crispness and accuracy of inter-change, plus the subsequent score-taking for the side managed by John Kelly and Matty Flynn-O'Connor.
There was a lot to like in the opening 30 minutes. It was a more attacking line-up than the one that broke Cork hearts with Katrina Parrock, in particular, giving the hosts all sorts of problems when running at them from deep.
The fact that all six forwards scored in the opening half tells the story of a sextet with way too much quality for their opponents to contain. Throw in the accurate, clever balls of the midfield/centre-back triangle, and the recipe for success was clear.
Yet it was Clare, who have struggled mightily in the championship, who opening the scoring after just 14 seconds when Michelle Caulfield tapped over from just outside the '20. After Kate Kelly levelled with a free, Una Leacy tested Lauran Solon with a low strike that the Clare 'keeper saved.
Solon would keep the ball out of her net in the opening quarter but Wexford were soon dominating proceedings. A foul on Stacey Kehoe saw Kelly add her second, and it was quickly followed by a Linda Bolger point from just inside the '45.
When Kelly mis-hit a 25-metre free, Solon just managed to save it onto the post. However, the ball was only cleared as far as the forward and she popped over to make it 0-4 to 0-1 at the end of the opening quarter.
Una Sinnott broke clear, fed Parrock and she released Una Leacy for a well-taken opening goal. Mere seconds later the Oulart-The Ballagh forward got in again after a Sinnott assist, rounded Solon and handpassed home her seventh goal in five games.
Ciara Storey had licence to follow her player into midfield and it was her attempt at the posts that was batted down by Solon, allowing Kelly to pounce and whip home her first three-pointer.
The second, a pulled effort from another break off the Clare stopper after good build-up play by Emma Walsh and Parrock, followed moments later. Wexford had scored four goals in six minutes.
There was still time for the half-forward line to all pick off a point apiece before the interval, while Kelly added a '45 in added time to ensure that Wexford went in at the break leading by 4-8 to 0-1.
Following another minor to start the second period, Kelly rattled to roof of the net after Una Sinnott was fouled and the ball was moved in front of the posts. Clare responded with their second point, in the 35th minute, when Laura Foley tapped over.
Kelly added placed balls in the 38th and 42nd minutes as the lead grew to 24 (5-11 to 0-2). Wexford made three changes together and they struggled to gel as well thereafter. Áine O'Loughlin narrowly missed out on finding the net in the 45th minute when firing over.
Clare had another chance when Regan Conway was shoved in the back for a penalty but Mags D'Arcy saved Róisín McMahon's rocket. When the St. Martin's stopper missed her connection on the clearance, she forced the ball behind her line and McMahon converted the resulting '45.
After an O'Loughlin free the hosts did get their consolation goal. Conway's ball into the goalmouth was fumbled by D'Arcy, who then collided with O'Loughlin. The Clare forward was away and pulled to the empty net to make it 5-11 to 1-5.
D'Arcy was forced off and, with no substitutions left, Una Leacy went back in goal. She was a spectator in added-time as a Kelly free was added to by Parrock's first goal after a hockey-style slalom through the hosts' defence.
Parrock wrapped up the win by clanking a second goal in off the post seconds later. Wexford will face Tipperary in the All-Ireland quarter-final on Saturday, July 30. Kilkenny play Offaly in the other last six clash while Cork and Galway are automatically through to the semi-finals.
Wexford: Mags D'Arcy; Karen Atkinson, Síona Nolan (capt.), Ciara Storey; Jackie Quigley, Mary Leacy, Sarah O'Connor; Shelley Kehoe, Emma Walsh; Una Sinnott (0-1), Katrina Parrock (2-1), Stacey Kehoe (0-1); Kate Kelly (3-8, 1-6 frees, 0-1 '45), Una Leacy (2-0), Linda Bolger (0-1). Subs. - Marie Morrissey for Stacey Kehoe (42), Chloe Foxe for Sinnott (42), Amy Cardiff for Bolger (42), Louise O'Leary for Storey (47), Louise Sinnott for M. Leacy, inj. (56), also Laura Brennan, Deirdre Codd, Ciara Donohoe, Margaret Byrne, Leah Walsh, Joanne Dillon, Michelle Martin, Shauna Kelly, Shauna Sinnott.
Clare: Lauren Solon; Aoife Griffin, Carol O'Leary, Emma O'Connell; Clare Hehir, Orlaith Duggan (capt.), Aoibheann Malone; Róisín McMahon (0-1 '45), Laura Foley (0-1); Ellen Horgan, Laura McMahon, Zoe McInerney; Doireann Murphy, Áine O'Loughlin (1-2, 0-1 free), Michelle Caulfield (0-1). Subs. - Rachel Kelly for Griffin (31), Regan Conway for McInerney (42), Aoife Touhy for Hehir (53), Vera Loughnane for Murphy (58), Chloe Davitt for L. McMahon (60+1).
Referee: Cathal Egan (Cork).