Wexford cruise past weak Dubs
WEXFORD COMPLETED a perfect round-robin stage to qualify for the semi-finals of the All-Ireland Senior camogie championship with an all too easy win over Dublin in Parnell Park on Saturday last.
Manager Helena Jacob took the opportunity to try out several of her fringe players with Ciara Storey, Stacey Redmond, Louise O'Leary, Lisa Bolger, Aine Lacey and Fiona Rochford all coming into the team.
However, it's unlikely any of them did enough to usurp the 15 that started the game against Cork, despite some solid performers amongst the sextet.
Part of the problem was the weakness of the opposition. It will be hard for the Wexford management to make any definitive judgement over possible changes with Dublin so poor, especially when the Slaneysiders played in anything near top gear - like in the first 15 minutes.
Wexford had a light breeze at their backs as they clipped over five points in the opening four and a half minutes. Ursula Jacob (two), Shelley Kehoe, Katrina Parrock and Fiona Rochford all scored for the table-toppers, who almost goaled in that spell with Parrock's shot saved when a pass to the free Jacob might have been the better option.
Ali Twomey's point for Dublin stemmed the flow momentarily for her side but, after Kate Kelly pointed, Aine Lacey scored the point of the half after a lovely flick-backwards pass on the deck by Parrock. The inevitable goal came after a tidy one-two between Jacob and Rochford sent Kehoe away to find the net (1-7 to 0-1).
Wexford's dominance was further emphasised in the 14th minute when Kelly broke her hurl in pieces on a block down. However, unperturbed, she picked up the shattered end, received a pass from midfield, fed Jacob with half a hurl and the Oulart-The Ballagh star pointed.
Jacob's free from midfield, which was low and powerful, beat Aisling Spillane for goal number two and Wexford increased their lead to 2-11 to 0-2 in the 18th minute. And that was that as far as intensity goes as the visitors took their foot off the gas.
Louise O'Hara got a brace for Dublin as the game wore on but there was still a third goal in the offing for Wexford at the end of the half and they got it when Parrock juggled the ball, without every fully getting control, all the way from midfield to the '20. That's where Kelly sniffed a chance, grabbed possession and tapped past Spillane with the minimum of fuss (3-13 to 0-4).
Wholesale changes were the story of the second-half. Wexford gave a few more squad members a run but Dublin started the third quarter well and notched four of the first five points.
Not that a comeback was ever in the offing but the semi-finalists showed the hosts who was boss when Linda Bolger's crossfield ball was battled for and won by Stacey Kehoe. She fed Kelly who had one thing on her mind as she raced in and found the net from close range (4-15 to 0-8).
Dublin continued to play with freedom as Twomey nailed one long-range free after another. Jackie Quigley's point in the 47th minute ensured that all six starting forwards got on the scoresheet and Wexford rounded off their goalscoring exploits when Shelley Kehoe and Jacob combined to release busy substitute Stacey Kehoe for a major.
Even when Dublin got added help they couldn't stop Wexford. Referee Alan Lagrue re-started play with Jacob down injured, and it left Bridget Moran, stalwart first aid person for Wexford camogie, in the middle of the play. The Oulart-The Ballagh clubwoman had to dodge several onrushing attackers as she got off the field but it didn't affect Wexford who pointed through the fit-again Jacob.
Linda Bolger was the final Wexford player to score with two minutes remaining to wrap up a 21-point win for the All-Ireland hopefuls. They now await the results of the quarter-finals to see who their opponents will be on August 10.