Monday 11 December 2017

Wexford to pull through

Dean Goodison

Wexford captain Bríd Gordon with Dublin’s Síle Nic Coitir. Photograph: INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Wexford captain Bríd Gordon with Dublin’s Síle Nic Coitir. Photograph: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Wexford head into Saturday's Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior camogie championship quarter-final against Dublin in Thurles (5 p.m.) in the unusual position of having won five and lost five of their ten competitive games this season.

The record says a lot, as it has been a mixed bag with the Slaneysiders struggling for consistency throughout the season. There has been a win over Kilkenny, a heavy loss to Cork, but the game that probably jumps off the page the most is the league loss to Dublin.

Wexford needed a big win in that game to have any hopes of making the knockout stages but Dublin showed that, on their day, they can produce a half-decent performance. It would be foolhardy to expect anything other than a full-bore showing from the underdogs from the capital.

As many as eleven who started that day for Wexford could make the starting line-up again, with experienced campaigners like Mags D'Arcy and Louise O'Leary no longer around, having played in the 0-16 to 1-8 loss in Innovate Wexford Park.

John Kelly and Matty Flynn-O'Connor's side will believed they have moved on from that game.

The championship has seen Wexford beat Offaly in their opening game (1-19 to 0-15) before losing heavily to Cork in Páirc Uí Rinn a week later (3-18 to 0-9).

The Slaneysiders bounced back with a solid home victory over Tipperary (2-12 to 2-7) and got the result they needed in their final group game against Limerick (1-13 to 0-11) to make the last six once again.

The girls from the capital have also played ten games this calendar year but have just three wins to show for their efforts. That victory over Wexford in the league was their only success in the spring series as they propped up the table with Waterford.

Given what was to follow, Dublin's opening round All-Ireland victory over Clare (3-11 to 1-14) was not only hugely important, but also showed that there was some form to build a campaign on.

Galway did put away the Metropolitans, like clinical teams with ample quality do (3-18 to 1-12) in round two.

However, again Dublin bounced back after their bye week with a hard-fought 0-15 to 1-10 victory over Waterford in Walsh Park.

That left the girls in blue in third with a game against All-Ireland champions Kilkenny to round out the group stages. Again, the quality of opposition proved too strong, with the holders easing to the top of the group with a 3-13 to 0-8 victory. Owing to Galway's win against Clare, Dublin finished third.

Wexford should emerge from the Dublin tie with a place in the semi-final but there is a worry that a well-organised, defensively sound team will be able to frustrate a Slaneyside outfit that does lack a consistent scorer from play outside of Una Leacy.

The hunch is that Wexford will do enough to scrape through but it would be a mild surprise if there's more than a puck of a ball in the game at full-time.

Those enjoying their evening in Thurles can stay for the other quarter-final, Tipperary against Galway, that gets under way at 7 p.m.

Wexford squad: Nicole Fortune, Sarah O'Connor, Ciara Storey, Karen Atkinson, Áine Lacey, Mary Leacy, Síona Nolan, Bríd Gordon (capt.), Amy Cardiff, Emma Walsh, Shelley Kehoe, Una Sinnott, Una Leacy, Stacey Kehoe, Linda Bolger, Chloe Foxe, Joanne Dillon, Shauna Sinnott, Ciara Donohoe, Niamh Potter, Leah Walsh, Aideen Brennan, Aisling Cronin, Margaret Byrne, Aoife Sheil, Michelle Harding, Shauna Kelly, Eimear Nolan, Clodagh Jackman, Róisín Kelly.

Wexford People

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