Wick­low fall short

Brave fight­back not enough as Wex­ford win derby


WEX­FORD trav­elled to Aughrim Sun­day in the finest of con­di­tions in the Le­in­ster In­ter­me­di­ate Cham­pi­onship.

Wick­low were faced with a dif­fi­cult task hav­ing lost Jackie Kinch re­cently to trav­els and their cause was not helped with an in­jury doubt to Laurie Ah­ern be­fore throw in.

Af­ter com­ing through a late test, the Cabin­teely Foxrock club­woman took her place on the edge of the square with min­utes to spare.

De­spite this boost, it was Wex­ford who hit the ground run­ning. A 20 yard un­chal­lenged run by mid­fielder Niamh Moore re­sulted in the Kil­more woman bury the ball into the roof of the net from 14 yards leav­ing Wick­low goal­keeper Kim Con­nors no chance. A dream start from the Model county.

Wick­low re­sponded with a point from Niamh O’Brien af­ter pa­tient build up play in­volv­ing Mul­hall and Fus­cia­rdi af­ter 90 sec­onds. Wex­ford set up very de­fen­sively early in this game, with the two wing for­wards drop­ping to half back when they weren’t in pos­ses­sion of the ball and the wing backs drop­ping in as sweep­ers.

It was the fit­ness and speed of th­ese two lines which was the dif­fer­ence maker in this game very early on.

Wing for­ward Kel­lie Kennedy was ex­tremely im­pres­sive in the first half and chipped in with a point on a counter at­tack from a Wick­low turnover in her own half back line. This was added to by an­other point from Moore and Wex­ford were into their stride.

Emily Mul­hall and Sarah Jane Win­ders thwarted a goal chance from Ca­tri­ona Mur­ray be­fore Niamh O’Brien fired over her sec­ond point of the game. Wex­ford upped the tempo from here for a ten minute blitz mainly stem­ming from in­ter­cep­tions from their swamped de­fence and swift counter at­tack­ing.

Cen­tre for­ward Fiona Rochford scored Wex­ford’s sec­ond goal on the eleventh minute which was al­most a car­bon copy of their first goal and again Kim Con­nors had no chance in the Wick­low goal. Points from Ca­tri­ona Mur­ray, Clara Don­nolly, Alisha Cullen and Maeve Quill ex­tended the Wex­ford lead to 10 points.

Dur­ing this pe­riod, it has to be noted that Lorna Fus­cia­rdi was hav­ing a fine game in the half back line for Wick­low and Emily Mul­hall was get­ting the up­per hand on Wex­ford full for­ward Ca­tri­ona Mur­ray.

Laurie Ah­ern and Niamh O’Brien swapped scores with Maeve Quill and Niamh Moore be­fore Wick­low got a timely boost com­ing up to half time with a for­tu­itous goal from Amy Ryan. Ex­cel­lent work from the calm and col­lected Fus­cia­rdi fed her mid­fielder who shot from a long range.

The ball dropped just un­der the bar and off the keeper’s hand into the back of the net. A Ge­orgina Cana­van free brought Wick­low to within six as the half time whis­tle sounded.

Cen­tre for­wards Fiona Rochford and Laura Ho­gan both traded the open­ing scores of the sec­ond half as the sun rose its head for the re­main­der of the game. The Ti­na­hely woman added a sec­ond point from the next at­tack fol­low­ing pa­tient Wick­low play through the hands be­fore sub­sti­tute Maria Kealy re­duced the deficit to four. Kim Con­nors pro­duced the first of four sec­ond half saves to keep her team in the game in the 8th minute as Clara Don­nolly’s ef­fort was re­jected.

This lifted the Wick­low crowd and side­line and also the play­ers as Ge­orgina Cana­van topped off a lovely sweep­ing move in­volv­ing Molly Cullen and Laura Ho­gan to bring the gap to three.

Don­nelly and Amy Ryan swapped points and it looked like Wick­low were re­ally go­ing to keep the pres­sure up.

How­ever, six min­utes of may­hem re­sulted in Wex­ford again pulling away. Fiona Rochford at cen­tre for­ward and Clara Don­nelly in mid­field seemed to be al­most tele­pathic in their play and both play­ers were in­volved in ev­ery pos­i­tive move from here on for Wex­ford.

First up Don­nelly as­sisted Ellen O’Brien in a score be­fore Rochford jinked her way out of a tight area on the Wick­low 14 to fire over an­other point. Siob­han Clarke played a de­fence split­ting cross field ball for Don­nelly to run onto and the Shamaliers player obliged the ball with a fine score.

She fol­lowed this up with an as­sist to Ca­tri­ona Mur­ray, whose ef­fort was turned be­hind by Kim Con­nors and ex­tin­guished an­other goal chance from the re­sult­ing 45 but Rochford popped over the re­bound.

Again, Wick­low strug­gled to gain ter­ri­tory from the kick-out and Rochford fed Mur­ray who this time popped it over. At this stage, Wex­ford had opened up a 2-15 to 1-10 lead with ten to go. Laura Ho­gan pulled a point back from a free and Clara Don­nelly shot was de­flected onto the post by Kim Con­nors with seven min­utes re­main­ing which could have been the nail in the cof­fin.

Wick­low how­ever, never dropped their heads. A de­light­ful cross­field ball from Amy Mur­phy to Katie Mi­ley saw the at­tacker swivel and bury the ball to the top cor­ner from 20 yards with five re­main­ing. Un­for­tu­nately, for the Gar­den County, a dogged Wex­ford rear­guard ex­pertly stew­arded by Marissa Cullen with­held ev­ery at­tack. Ge­orgina Cana­van added a free in in­jury time to bring the gap to three but Ca­tri­ona Mur­ray closed out the scor­ing to stem the Wick­low come­back, emerg­ing vic­to­ri­ous 2-16 to 2-12.

WICK­LOW: Kim Con­nors, Emily Mul­hall, Sarah Jane Win­ders, Aine Byrne, Lorna Fus­cia­rdi, Sarah Mi­ley, Rose Fa­gan, Amy Ryan (1-1), He­lena Dowling, Ge­orgina Cana­van (0-3), Laura Ho­gan (0-3), Molly Cullen, Amy Mur­phy, Laurie Ah­ern (0-1), Niamh O’Brien (0-3). Subs. - Maria Kealy (0-1) for Laurie Ah­ern, Katie Mi­ley (1-0) for Amy Ryan and An­nie Con­roy for Niamh O’Brien

WEX­FORD: Natasha Walsh, Ciara Cor­ri­gan, Marissa Cullen, Ge­orgina Herne, Beth Cardiff, Roisin Mur­phy, Mar­guerite Doyle, Clara Don­nelly (0-2), Niamh Moore (1-2), Ellen O’Brien (0-1), Fiona Rochford (1-4), Kel­lie Kennedy (0-1), Alisha Cullen, Ca­tri­ona Mur­ray (0-3), Maeve Quill (0-1). Subs. -Siob­han Clarke for Alisha Cullen, Tri­ona Shortt for Maeve Quill and Caoimhe Den­ton for Mar­guerite Doyle.

Wick­low’s Amy Ryan has her shot blocked by Wex­ford’s Mar­guerite Doyle.

Wick­low’s Aine Byrne and Wex­ford’s Kel­lie Kenny in a race for pos­ses­sion.

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