Tuesday 11 December 2018

Minors make a losing start

Dublin 0-11 Wexford 0-4

Elaine Quigley on the ball for Wexford as Niamh Gannon and Chloe Mullen track her movements
Elaine Quigley on the ball for Wexford as Niamh Gannon and Chloe Mullen track her movements

Dean Goodison

Wexford slipped to defeat in their first outing in this season's All-Ireland Minor 'A' camogie championship against Dublin in Páirc Uí Shíocháin, Gorey, recently.

With the squad heavily loaded with players who helped Neil Cullen's side reach the Under-16 All-Ireland final last year, it's clear that Wexford will be younger and more inexperienced than most of their rivals this time around.

Success is going to be hard to come by, wins are going to have to be earned, and it's a season where progress has to be the most realistic aim. With fixtures against Galway, Kilkenny and Cork to come in this 'group of death', a good start would have been most welcome.

What helped the visitors and hindered Wexford was the fact that Dublin had a game under their belts. They lost by 1-12 to 0-4 to Cork six days earlier, but having that competitive action in the legs clearly stood to them.

The Metropolitans started at championship pace and lasted the distance, whereas Wexford lacked the little bit of sharpness that a game would have given them and it proved costly. The hosts missed a few early frees and their profligacy from dead-balls would become a feature of the game.

Dublin had no such problems, as they went 0-3 to nil up at the end of the first quarter after two frees from sweeper Aoife Mahon and a Sinéad Wylde point.

Wexford produced a 17th-minute spurt, as Katie Smyth picked off a fine point from a tight angle before Anais Curran worked a yard and split the posts.

It remained 0-3 to 0-2 until Dublin had a damaging purple patch at the end of the half. Mahon started and finished it with placed balls, while Chloe Mullen and Wylde also pointed to put the girls in blue five points ahead at the interval.

An exchange of frees by Curran and Mullen left Wexford trailing by 0-8 to 0-3 after 36 minutes. The Slaneysiders pressed in the next 17 minutes but couldn't find the scores that their chances warranted.

Lettie Whelan finally broke the scoring hiatus with a 53rd-minute free, but her side looked tired thereafter.

Doppelganger points from Laura Quinn, both coming after she intercepted a Gráinne McCabe puck-out and flighted over, plus a sensible Hollyn Kennedy penalty, meant Dublin finished on a high.

Wexford go back to the drawing board after this one, then return to action on St Patrick's Day when they visit Galway.

They make the short spin to Kilkenny the following week before finishing off the group stages at home to Cork seven days later.

Wexford: Gráinne McCabe; Amy Cahill, Anna Hennessy (capt.), Aisling Halligan; Elaine Quigley, Kate Kirwan, Alannah Davis; Sarah Harding -Kenny, Ciara Walsh; Megan Cullen, Lettie Whelan (0-1 free), Lauren Murphy; Katie Smyth (0-1), Anais Curran (0-2, 1 free), Niamh Kehoe. Subs. - Ciara Banville for Kehoe (49), Ailis Neville for Cullen (57), also Lara O'Shea, Mollie Somers, Laura Doran, Saoirse Dunne, Doireann Cullen, Ciara Carroll, Amy O'Leary, Ciara Bridges, Eimear O'Connor, Kaitlyn Whelan-Kinsella, Mollie Power, Ciara O'Connor.

Dublin: Ally Ramsden; Gacy Couch, Siún Keating, Hannah Leddy; Sarah Meagher, Jody Couch, Meghan Carroll; Orla Gray, Niamh Gannon; Sinéad Wylde (joint capt., 0-2), Chloe Mythen (joint capt., 0-2 frees), Aoife Mahon (0-4, 3 frees, 1 '45); Laura Quinn (0-2), Jessie McClelland, Alix Buckley. Subs. - Kim Hickey for Buckley (40), Hollyn Kennedy (0-1 pen.) for McClelland (50).

Referee: Liz Dempsey (Kilkenny).

Gorey Guardian