LOUTH'S Wexford jinx continued as the Wee County Ladies emerged on the wrong side of a deceptive final scoreline in Enniscorthy on Sunday.
The senior (twice) and minor men both found the Yellowbellies too hot to handle this year and although extra-time was required to settle a close and thrilling encounte this time around, Ciaran Marks' ladies had to give second best too.
In a match that swung one way and then the other the Reds just left themselves with a little too much to do against the breeze in the second-half as the home side advanaced to the final.
With the wind at their backs in the first half, Louth played with Emma Singleton operating as a sweeper in midfield, and minor Amy McNally lining out for her first senior Inter-county match at left corner forward.
Louth made their mark early as a long ball from Grace Lynch found Jenny McGuinness who drew in a few defenders, before sending Susan Byrne through for the first score of the game. Moments later Sandra Lynch doubled Louth's advantage.
Wexford's early play was marred by a lack of composure in front of the posts, while the Louth defence worked well to force opponents wide and break down play vital moments.
At the other end Siobhan McDonald put Louth further in front, but Wexford finally chalked up their first point of the day with 16 minutes gone.
Michelle McMahon and Aine McGee grew more into the game and provided the link going forward from defence to attack, and the former added the next point, coming off her wing to receive the ball and split the posts.
Wexford hit back with a 13m free, but Louth began to assert a firmer grip on the game as the half wore on and a long ball into the corner by Siobhan McDonald, following a superb catch under pressure, set Amy McNally scampering past her marker to win the ball, before setting up Jenny McGuinness for Louth's fifth point of the half.
Minutes later a similar ball to the corner, from Sandra Lynch, was won by Jenny McGuinness who offloaded to Amy McNally to tee up Lynch for another well taken point.
Liz Evered had the final say of the half for Wexford as Louth adjourned with a doubles scores, 0-6 to 0-3, lead that could and should have been greater.
The Reds made one change at half time as Kate Flood replaced Susan Byrne.
The sides traded scores as McNally hit the target for Louth, but Wexford seized the initiative and powered back up the field to score two points in quick succession from Roisin Murphy and Clara Donnelly.
Both Emma Singleton and Sandra Lynch were sent to the sin bin within minutes of each other and in their absence Wexford turned the screw with three points in a row to pull one clear as the final whistle approached.
In a frantic final few minutes the ice cool Amy McNally brought the scores level again for the final time in normal-time and after some confusion the referee confirmed extra-time would be played.
Wexford grabbed the first point of the new game through Tara Moloney to put them a point to the good.
Louth took a firm grip of proceedings in the first half of extra time, but were unable to convert their chances as Jenny McGuinness struck the crossbar following some great build up play by Rebecca Carr; Kate Flood also rattled the bar with a thunderous shot and Grace Lynch hit the post just before.
Rebecca Carr drew the side's level again at the start of the second period with a great run off her wing linking up with Danielle Sharkey.
But a physically exhausted Louth team was unable to hold back Wexford's advances and once Leona Tector put them back in front Wexford were able to control midfield and put three more points on the board.
The result was disappointing, especially considering Louth's half time lead.
However, there are positives to be taken from the defeat, the most important one being the performances of the young members of the squad who showed that senior football is not above them and should give every Louth supporter confidence in the standard of underage players coming through the ranks.
The Reds will now focus on the Junior All Ireland Championship which kicks off on 21 July against Offaly.
WEXFORD: Mary Rose Kelly; Margurite Doyle, Aoife Fitzpatrick, Kim Moloney; Sharon Kehoe, Cathriona McCabe, Linda Casey; Roisin Murphy 0-1, Clara Donnelly 0-4; Ali Evered 0-1, Aisling Murphy 0-1f, Ellen O'Brien; Katie Redmond 0-3 (0-2f), Leona Tector, Liz Evered 0-3. Subs: Tara Moloney for Murphy, temp, Rosie Lawlor for Redmond, Maeve Quill for Kehoe, Tara Moloney 0-1 for A. Evered, Kate Caulfield for McCabe, Mary O'Neill for K. Moloney, Ali Evered for O'Brien, Aoife Tormey for A. Murphy.
LOUTH: Una Pearson; Patricia Marmion, Andrea Carney, Ann-Marie Lynch; Áine McGee, Marie O'Connell, Michelle McMahon 0-1; Grace Lynch, Siobhan McDonald 0-1; Ciara O'Connor, Sandra Lynch 0-2, Susan Byrne 0-1; Emma Singleton, Jenny McGuinness 0-1, Amy McNally 0-2. Subs: Kate Flood 0-1 for Byrne, Rebecca Carr 0-1 for Singleton, Danielle Sharkey for Lynch, Eibhlin Rice for McGuinness, Bronagh McGrane for Marmion.
REFEREE: Jonathon Murphy (Carlow).