Minors shine on provincial debut
WEXFORD MET near neighbours Wicklow in the first round of the Under-18 Leinster championship on Saturday last in Bellefield and won by 5-15 to 3-8.
Wexford showed that they meant business when they had the first score after 20 seconds with an Ellen O'Brien point, and they continued to dominate for the next ten minutes with a further goal and three points. The goal was scored by Martha Rochford after being put through by clubmate Fiona Bennett, with the points coming from Niamh Butler, Ellen O'Brien and Geraldine Doolan.
Wicklow got off the mark when the impressive Niamh O'Brien scored the first of her three goals. Indeed, she was a thorn in the Wexford defence throughout.
Wexford continued to take the game to Wicklow and further points from Doolan and O'Brien and goal from Fiona Bennett put them in the driving seat. Wicklow responded with another goal from O'Brien and points from Amy Murphy (two) and Georgina Canavan (two). Wexford finished the half stronger though, with Bennett adding a goal and a point and Butler getting her second point to leave the score at the break 3-8 to 2-5.
Wicklow put pressure on Wexford in the first ten minutes of the new half and got to within two points at one stage with a goal and a point from Niamh O'Brien and a point from Rose Fagan when she converted a 20-metre free.
The Wexford sideline team then made a few positional changes to settle the side down and Ellen O'Brien twice got through the Wicklow defence, only to see her goalbound shots well saved by Megan Keogh.
Wexford took a stranglehold on the game at this stage and, after Niamh Crosbie got her third point, the floodgates finally opened with goals from Mary Cummins and Fiona Bennett, while points were scored by Ellen O'Brien (three), Ciara Corrigan, Aoife Ryan and Mary Cummins. Wicklow's only response was a point in injury time from Niamh O'Brien.
Wexford will be happy to have won this game after tasting defeat to Wicklow in a close game last year, and manager Noel Holohan and his backroom team know there is plenty of room for improvement before they take on Kildare and Dublin in rounds two and three next month.
Wexford: Aoife McAuliffe (St. Martin's); Róisín Fitzgerald (Clonee), Danielle Chin (Clonard), Claire O'Rourke (Clonee); Aisling Kavanagh (St. Anne's), Niamh Rochford (Ballyhogue), Ciara Corrigan (Shelmalier, capt., 0-1); Geraldine Doolan (Shelmalier, 0-2), Leanne Brennan (Clonard); Ellen O'Brien (Adamstown, 0-6), Niamh Butler (St. John's Volunteers, 0-3), Niamh Doyle (Shelmalier); Martha Rochford (St. Anne's, 1-0), Fiona Bennett (St. Anne's, 3-1), Sarah Banville (Taghmon-Camross). Subs. - Mary Cummins (Horeswood, 1-1) for Doyle, Aoife Ryan (Gusserane, 0-1) for Brennan, Laura Ross (St. Fintan's) for Chin, Meghan Whitty (Horeswood) for Butler, also Claire Roche (Gusserane), Susan Pierce (St. Anne's), Sadhbh Dearle (St. Anne's), Niamh O'Gorman (Taghmon-Camross), Rebecca Stafford (St. Anne's), Maryanne Sheehan (Clonee), Hannah Murphy (Horeswood), Eimear Mullan (Fethard St. Mogue's), Aleisha Cullen (Crossabeg-Ballymurn), Katie White (Adamstown).