Camogie side eases into final
A STRONG second-half performance propelled Wexford past Dublin and into the All-Ireland Minor 'B' camogie championship final in Clara on Saturday last.
Leading by just four points heading into the second-half (0-6 to 0-2), the Slaneysiders produced a much-improved showing in brighter conditions to see off Dublin's second string.
With plenty of nerves on show in difficult, rainy weather, Wexford opened the scoring in the first minute when Louise Stafford was fouled and full-forward Nicole Fortune swatted over from the dead ball.
The Metropolitans responded immediately through the dangerous Aisling McDonald, but parity was shortlived as Fortune slotted a '45 after her initial free was batted behind.
Marie Morrissey grabbed the first of her trio of points at the midway stage in the half but it was soon cancelled out by Róisín Baker - a score that would be Dublin's last (0-3 to 0-2).
Wexford still hadn't clicked the way they had when putting six goals past Down and eight past fellow semi-finalists Antrim, but they did tack on three late first-half overs, with Fortune (two) and Leona Breen on target, to lead by four at the break.
A flying start to the second-half was just what was needed for Wexford and they got it with 1-1 inside two minutes. Morrissey grabbed the opening point, collecting from Nolan before drilling over, but better was to come when Mary Cummins' effort, that looked to be going over the crossbar, was batted down by Dublin stopper Faye McCarthy for Victoria Burke to pull to the net (1-7 to 0-2).
A poor Mary Cronin penalty, given for an innocuous push in a scramble inside the large square, was easily cleared by Orlaith Prendergast and from that point on it was all Wexford.
Raised white flags by Morrissey, Nolan, Jackie Quigley and Mary Cummins eased Wexford 1-11 to 0-2 clear entering the final quarter, and the Slaneysiders put the result beyond doubt when Fortune grabbed her eighth goal in three games when tapping home after Eimear Nolan's shot was saved.
The victors padded their lead with three further scores - with Breen, Cummins and Nolan on target - in the dying embers of this semi-final. The win sets up an All-Ireland title decider on April 27 against Leinster rivals Offaly.
Wexford: Geraldine Curtis; Pam McCormick, Orlaith Prendergast, Rachel Bridges; Claire O'Rourke, Jackie Quigley (0-1 free), Nicola Byrne; Anna Whitty, Leona Breen (0-2); Marie Morrissey (0-3), Eimear Nolan (0-2), Louise Stafford; Victoria Burke, Nicole Fortune (1-4, 0-2 frees, 0-1 '45), Mary Cummins (0-2). Subs. - Róisín Kehoe for Fortune, Hazel O'Leary for Burke, Gillian Kavanagh for Bridges, Rebecca Caulfield for Curtis, Molly McGuckin for Byrne.
Dublin: Faye McCarthy; Eilise O'Grady, Rachael Kenny, Katelyn Murphy; Ailise Dowling, Laura Kilcoyle, Chloe Rochford; Vanessa Boland, Lily Conway; Laura Smith, Aisling McDonald (0-1), Róisín Baker (0-1); Mary Cronin, Laura Mulvey, Amber O'Connor. Subs. -Niamh Leahy for Boland, Anna Walsh for O'Connor, Kelsey Larkin for Mulvey, Ciara Manley for Dowling, Aoife Reilly for McDonald.
Referee: Ray Kelly (Kildare).