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Second heavy loss for Wexford as Kingdom Ladies clinch 26-point win

Lidl Ladies National League: Kerry 5-15 Wexford 0-4

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Ailis Neville is tackled by Kerry’s Aislinn Desmond

Ailis Neville is tackled by Kerry’s Aislinn Desmond

Ailis Neville is tackled by Kerry’s Aislinn Desmond

Wexford were well beaten in Division 2 of the Lidl ladies' football National League for the second week in a row as Kerry went away from St. Patrick's Park, Enniscorthy, with a comfortable 26-point victory.

The Slaneysiders will have scars from playing arguably the best two teams in Division 2, but they must keep battling hard because this Sunday's opponents, Cavan, aren't much, if any, of a step back in quality.

All told there wasn't really much to get excited about here. On the face of it Wexford conceded just 20 times to the 29 scores they allowed against Monaghan, but they were set up far more defensively from the first whistle in this one.

That had a knock-on impact at the other end, where Wexford created very little in attack. Kerry emptied their bench in the second-half, and Paul Carty's side were able to tack on a couple of late points, but otherwise it was tough going.

Wexford welcomed Kellie Kearney and Clara Donnelly back into the team, so it was no surprise that they were a little more dynamic running with the ball in the middle third.

However, the hosts were physically bullied by Kerry once the ball went over the halfway line, and turnover after turnover followed.

The Slaneysiders played against the stiff breeze in the opening half and that was always going to be tough. They conceded 3-10, which wasn't awful, but their goal did live a charmed life on several occasions.

None more so than when Emma Dineen broke through inside 20 seconds. Leanne Delaney did well to repel the first shot but Wexford were helped by the wet goalmouth for the rebound as the ball stopped in the muck rather than continuing its rolling path into the net.

Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh went on to put in a relentlessly direct and quality performance from corner-forward, and she kicked the travelling side's first two points. Niamh Ní Chonchúir added a third before Ní Mhuircheartaigh netted in the ninth minute.

Wexford trailed by 1-5 to nil after the opening quarter and hadn't had a shot at the posts. They had to wait until the 22nd minute for that opportunity, but Caitríona Murray kicked that free wide after Sarah Harding-Kenny was fouled.

Meanwhile, the goal was being peppered at the other end. Hannah O'Donoghue looked absolutely certain to net in the 17th minute after rounding Delaney, but a mixture of that muddy goalmouth and a fantastic bit of anticipation from Sherene Hamilton ensured the ball was hooked off the line.

Ní Mhuircheartaigh was next to cut in and see her point-blank attempt deflect wide, but they did soon add a Lorraine Scanlon point.

Wexford might have got a bit of respite when Aislinn Desmond was sin-binned for a high tackle on Harding-Kenny, but it didn't slow Kerry down.

After Ní Chonchúir sliced wide, Ní Mhuircheartaigh did net for the second time from O'Donoghue's feed. Wexford's second effort at goal resulted in a score, with Amy Wilson adding the finish from Ciara Bridges' pass.

Kerry ended the period on the front foot as Ní Mhuircheartaigh and O'Donoghue continued to tap over points until the former released the latter to make it 3-10 to 0-1 on the stroke of half-time.

What Wexford needed was a breather, and they got that with a quiet start to the second-half. Wilson missed a makeable free after Kellie Kearney was fouled, but the scoring did eventually get going again when Anna Clifford flighted over for Kerry in the 43rd minute.

Aisling Murphy kicked a nice score on the breeze from Wilson's feed, but the visitors kept chipping away with minors to lead by 3-14 to 0-2 after 52 minutes.

Kellie Kearney and Murray (free) did give Wexford some joy, but the Munster girls ended the game on the front foot.

Twice in the final five minutes Miriam O'Keeffe fired past Delaney in the Wexford goal to give the scoreboard a more realistic reflection of the game. Wexford travel to Cavan this weekend for another tough assignment before welcoming Armagh to the south-east on February 23.

Wexford: Leanne Delaney; Sherene Hamilton, Aoife Tormey, Niamh O'Gorman; Clara Donnelly, Shauna Murphy, Eleanor Neville; Kellie Kearney (0-1), Aisling Murphy (0-1); Ciara Bridges, Amy Wilson (0-1), Sarah Harding-Kenny, Ailis Neville, Caitríona Murray (capt., 0-1 free), Niamh Butler. Subs. - Sinéad Murphy for A. Neville (40), Grace Cloney for E. Neville (40), Anne Byrne for Butler (50), Katie White for Hamilton (50), Lauren Murphy for Wilson (53), Aisling Halligan for S. Murphy (58).

Kerry: Laura Fitzgerald; Eilis Lynch, Aislinn Desmond, Ava Doherty; Aisling O'Connell, Louise Coughlan, Ciara Murphy; Lorraine Scanlon (0-1), Anna Galvin (capt.); Emma Dineen, Niamh Ní Chonchúir (0-2), Anna Clifford (0-1); Hannah O'Donoghue (1-2), Fiadhna Tangney, Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh (2-7, 0-1 free). Subs. - Ciara O'Brien for Doherty (31), Andrea Murphy for Tangney (31), Niamh Carmody for Galvin (33), Miriam O'Keefe (2-1) for O'Donoghue (40), Ella Teahan for Ní Chonchúir (40), Danielle O'Leary for Clifford (45), Sarah Leahy for Murphy (45), Caoimhe Teahan for Coughlan (48), Julia O'Sullivan (0-1) for O'Connell (48), Caoimhe Evans for Scanlon (50).

Referee: Jonathan Murphy (Carlow).

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