Wednesday 24 July 2019

New boss required

Littlewoods National Camogie League Division 1: Waterford 1-13 Wexford 1-5

Wexford’s Anais Curran racing away from Sadie Mai Rowe
Wexford’s Anais Curran racing away from Sadie Mai Rowe

Dean Goodison

Wexford got their Littlewoods National Camogie League Division 1 campaign off to a losing start in St. Patrick's Park, Enniscorthy, on Sunday, as Waterford went home with the spoils.

The Slaneysiders were represented by a patched-up team, knitted together by stand-in manager Mick Curran after Wexford recently parted company with former boss Martin Carey.

It's no secret that Wexford camogie has been in dire straits the last couple of years, with poor guidance at County Board level and inconsistent and uninspiring management making the prospect of playing for their county a turn-off for the camógs around Wexford.

While on the face of it the whole situation looks like a complete mess, and it has been in a fairly ugly place these last few seasons, there are enough shoots of potential there to start the rebuilding process with some optimism.

Finally there is positive change in the boardroom, exactly where leadership of Wexford camogie must start. Jacinta Roche has come into the Chairperson's position, inheriting a Senior management team that was struggling to attract girls into the set-up, failing to get numbers at training.

One way or another, Wexford camogie needed to give themselves a fresh start.

Roche has the chance to be the woman that puts the game in this county back on the front foot, and to sculpt her own legacy as an administrator.

The first task is to get a management team in place that can motivate the women of Wexford, get them excited to be part of a set-up that wants to push forward.

The manager's job has been seen as a poisoned chalice in recent years but an opportunity exists here, for someone with the guts and drive needed, to build something special, in their image, from scratch.

Roche's first job is to find that person. This can't be a last-minute, desperate clutch at straws. It can't be the pull-in 'anyone who is interested' type of scenario. This appointment needs to be a keeper, it needs to be someone with a real vision, one that goes past this season and next.

There is no quick fix here. With Cork and Galway to come, this league campaign is as good as shot already.

Wexford won't be making the knockout stages, so the important thing now is to put the right person in place, the person who can put the building blocks down and get a somewhat competitive championship team on the field.

Wexford aren't All Ireland contenders, nowhere near it, but with young players coming through the ranks, with talented club players waiting in the wings to be inspired into the set-up, and with the small nucleus of women that have stuck around who bleed purple and gold, there is a better future ahead. It's just going to take hard work.

Wexford may have lacked a lot in this game but the 15 women that battled away out there couldn't have given an ounce more effort. The difference training and playing together makes was evident as a mediocre Waterford side bossed the opening half.

While Wexford were missing their St. Martin's contingent, their visitors were without their Gaultier players as they prepare for their All-Ireland Intermediate semi-final.

They had debutante Sarah Lacey opening the scoring in the second minute, and taliswoman Beth Carton doubled the lead moments later.

Chloe Cashe popped over a '45 in the sixth minute before Anais Curran levelled the scores from tight on the left sideline.

That was the last time the hosts were on terms, as Carton made it 0-3 to 0-2 and Emma Kiely made sure they didn't do any bigger damage with a fine save from Lacey.

Three more Carton points brought her tally to five in the half, and Shona Curran also registered before Waterford did find the net when Niamh Rockett's long-range strike beat Kiely.

Anais Curran did pull a point back before the break but her side trailed by 1-7 to 0-3 at the interval.

Wexford battled hard in the third quarter and closed the gap to two by the 40th minute. A Curran point was followed by the Slaneysiders' only point from play, a classy effort from the returning Emma Walsh after Mairéad Sheehan fed her on the right wing.

Strong defensive battling saw the home side work the ball out to Curran ten minutes into the half. She had plenty to do, driving at goal 55 metres out, but she moved away from the Waterford defence and flashed past Brianna O'Regan to make it 1-7 to 1-5.

Unfortunately for Wexford, they rarely threatened after that. There was still only three points in it going into the final quarter but the hosts started to tire.

Carton brought her tally to nine, Lacey doubled-up, and substitute Orla Hickey rounded off the scoring to see the Déise home.

Wexford probably won't get a huge amount of joy from travelling to Cork on Saturday.

Another long trip to Galway follows eight days later before they round out the group stages with a home game against Tipperary.

Wexford: Emma Kiely; Clodagh Jackman, Síona Nolan, Orla Molloy; Derbhla Doyle, Ciara Storey, Shauna Sinnott (capt.); Sorcha Foley, Chloe Cashe (0-1 '45); Emma Walsh (0-1), Mairéad Sheehan, Anais Curran (1-3, 0-3 frees); Lauren Murphy, Joanne Dillon, Leah Walsh.

Waterford: Brianna O'Regan; Sibeal Harney, Iona Heffernan, Sadie Mai Rowe; Mairéad Power, Aoife Landers, Caoimhe McGrath; Lorraine Bray, Clara Griffin; Niamh Rockett (capt., 1-0), Áine Power, Shona Curran (0-1); Kaeisha Tobin, Sarah Lacey (0-2), Beth Carton (0-9, 6 frees). Subs. - Kelley Corbett-Barry for Rowe (42), Orla Hickey (0-1) for Curran (53), Niamh Ahearne for Á. Power (60), Sally Kelly for Lacey (60).

Referee: John Dermody (Westmeath).

New Ross Standard