Baptism of fire for inexperienced Intermediate outfit
AN INEXPERIENCED Wexford side were comprehensively beaten by a confident Galway outfit in the opening game of the National Camogie League Division 2 in Ballinasloe on Sunday last.
The All-Ireland finalists were strong favourites coming into the tie and they proved likely championship contenders again with a dominant showing.
Wexford, who have been left a little threadbare with recent retirements at both Senior and Intermediate levels, may not be as competitive at this grade as they have been in recent years but the ethos of developing players, so they can compete at Senior in the years to come, remains in place for the Intermediate management team.
In that sense Sunday's outing proved a success, with a handful of young guns making their debuts in the adult county side. Indeed, they equipped themselves very well in the opening half as they stuck with Galway for long spells.
One of the big differences between the sides was the talents of Galway's number 14, Rebecca Hennelly, who claimed three points in the opening ten minutes, and nine in all, as the hosts eased into a 0-4 to nil lead.
Aoife Sheil got Wexford on the board in the eleventh minute after Brídín Doyle was felled, and the visitors almost added a goal moments later when Cáit Doyle's effort whizzed wide. The let-off was quickly punished by Galway when Orla Curtin goaled but a second Sheil point, after Caoimhe Maloney was impeded, left Wexford just six behind at the break (1-5 to 0-2).
Playing with the breeze, Galway began to turn the screw after the resumption. A horrid bounce meant Lorraine Crowe's shot evaded Wexford stopper Ann-Marie Foley and nestled in the net, but Wexford knuckled down after the concession and allowed just one point in the next 18 minutes (2-7 to 0-2).
The Slaneysiders had several chances to add to their first-half salvo but unsuccessfully chose to drop balls short and look for goals. At the other end Galway found the majors easier to come by and picked off a third when Karen Kennedy fired home after Finola Keily's initial shot was saved (3-7 to 0-2).
The third major was followed by a string of points as the home side finished well, but all in all it was a good run-out for Wexford who are next out on March 10 against Limerick.
Galway: Róisín Callanan; Tara Kenny, Paula Kenny, Sinéad Keane; Caoimhe Staunton, Siobhán Coen, Moira Connaughton; Clodagh McGrath, Finola Keely (0-1); Lorraine Crowe (1-0), Rebecca Hennelly (0-9, 5 frees), Megan Moran; Karen Kennedy (1-1), Orla Curtin (1-0), Katie O'Brien. Sub. - Antionette Cormican for O'Brien.
Wexfprd: Ann-Marie Foley; Emma Lacey, Marguerite Doyle, Nancy Dunphy; Rachel Collier, Fiona Donnellan, Róisín Murphy; Brídín Doyle, Amy Dillon; Enma O'Connor, Bridget Curran, Aoife Sheil (0-2 frees); Cáit Doyle, Mary Sinnott, Caoimhe Maloney. Subs. - Margaret Byrne for Sinnott, Louise Hore for Maloney, Emma Gahan for Dunphy.
Referee: Walter Cole (Cork).