Monday 18 December 2017

Wexford record second handy win against Offaly

WEXFORD HAD an easier than expected second outing in the National Camogie League Division 1 on Sunday last in Carrig.

Hosts Offaly came into the game on the back of a hugely-impressive victory over Tipperary in the first outing but never troubled the Slaneysiders in a routine win for last year's All-Ireland semi-finalists.

The visitors started the game without several key players, including Kate Kelly, Katrina Parrock, Deirdre Codd and Noeleen Lambert, but still managed to dominate the opening exchanges in a difficult crosswind.

Just two minutes were on the clock when Ursula Jacob opened the scoring after picking up loose possession following a scramble on the edge of the '20.

The second followed just 60 seconds later with corner-forwards combining. Linda Bolger sent in the long ball from the left and Stacey Kehoe was on hand to flick the sliothar over the bar from close range.

A quick handpass from the experienced Elaine Dermody allowed Debbie Flynn to work a yard of space for Offaly's opening score, one of only three they managed to notch from play, but Wexford quickly responded through Jacob after Bríd Gordon was fouled.

Helena Jacob's side got a huge boost in the eleventh minute when Kehoe reacted quickest to pull to the net after Jacob's '45 dropped short, and Wexford moved six clear (1-4 to 0-1) when Bolger fired over after a lovely flick by Fiona Rochford.

Offaly found their feet as the second quarter wore on and a brace from Dermody in a four-minute spell matched a double at the other end by Jacob.

Added time proved particularily fruitful for the Faithful county too. Siobhán Flannery was first to point from just outside the '45 before Dermody added her third of the half to cut the Wexford advantage to four at the change-around.

However, the lead would have been more had Una Leacy not seen a point called back before the break when she was adjudged the offender in a shoulder-to-shoulder coming together that saw the weaker player, Michaela Morkan, fall to the ground.

Worried by the Wexford attack, the hosts moved Flynn deep in the second-half but it completely killed their attacking threat and the Wexford defence mopped up everything that was thrown at them.

It did part of the job, denting Wexford ambitions in the Offaly half of the field as the scores dried up. Jacob converted a close-range free after an over-carrying offence in the Offaly defence before Morkan broke out of position and launched over a long-range effort to register her county's only point of the half.

Jacob nailed a 47th-minute '45 at the second attempt to again leave Wexford five clear as Offaly continued to struggle. With a change of gameplan badly needed for the home side, management never seemed willing and the Slaneysiders easily kept their fleeting attacks at bay.

Wexford ended a dogged, but ultimately comfortable second-half with a superb goal. Substitute Áine Lacey tidily controlled the ball in midfield and off-loaded to Brid Gordon who fired down the right where Jacob sprinted away on goal and scored.

Offaly did have one last chance to grab a consolation goal in added time when Arlene Watkins was fouled and Flannery had a crack at goal but Mags D'Arcy got down well to tip the shot behind.

Wexford visit Tipperary next week knowing that a victory will guarantee their place in the semi-finals before they welcome Cork to the south-east two weeks later.

New Ross Standard

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