Fine camo­gie first

New Ross Standard - - SPORT -

FOR CAMO­GIE it­proved a ju­bi­lant year, one of un­prece­dented suc­cess, when Se­nior team cap­tain Mary Walsh took pos­ses­sion of the O’Duffy Cup for the very first time. IT was per­haps the most his­toric mo­ment for the Model county in a very long time.

The hurlers’ great dou­ble of two weeks ear­lier had ev­ery­one talk­ing for weeks af­ter­wards, of course, but when the Wex­ford cailíní de­feated Cork by 4-2 to 2-5, it meant that they had won the camo­gie fi­nal at last, for the first time in the his­tory of the game.

Wex­ford took the hon­ours and at their first at­tempt too.

It was a year of un­prece­dented suc­cess and a year, too, of shocks in the camo­gie world.

Firstly, many times All-Ire­land and all-time Le­in­ster cham­pi­ons Dublin, with 25 in to­tal, went down to Kilkenny, open­ing the door for their re­main­ing ri­vals.

Sud­denly Dublin fell, and more sud­den was Wex­ford’s con­vinc­ing de­feat of Kilkenny by 8-3 to 1-3 in the Le­in­ster Fi­nal.

Wex­ford had reached the pin­na­cle of suc­cess it ap­peared, but there was to be more. Wex­ford went on the march, with the All-Ire­land crown get­ting nearer and nearer.

Wex­ford’s next hur­dle was the All-Ire­land semi-fi­nal. They had to face then reign­ing cham­pi­ons, Antrim, and also had to travel the 200-mile jour­ney to play them at Gle­nar­riffe.

But un­gainly odds did not de­ter the Wex­ford girls one bit, as they out­fought the home side to a two­point vic­tory by 4-6 to 4-4. Nar­row it was, but it was a sen­sa­tional win.

For Wex­ford, fresh out of Le­in­ster as cham­pi­ons for the first time, to beat ex­pe­ri­enced and then reign­ing All-Ire­land cham­pi­ons was a spec­ta­cle of the high­est mag­ni­tude. The feat is known as the ‘200-mile marathon’.

Now Wex­ford faced into an All-Ire­land fi­nal for the very first time and were very con­fi­dent with such great wins be­hind them.

The scene was Croke Park on Sun­day, Septem­ber 15, with Cork stand­ing be­tween Wex­ford and vic­tory.

Cork had con­tested sev­eral All-Ire­lands be­fore and this def­i­nitely was to their ad­van­tage, as they shot into a two-goal lead in the first seven min­utes of the game.

Wex­ford, clearly ner­vous, were def­i­nitely over­awed by the oc­ca­sion in the open­ing stages, but the whole team even­tu­ally set­tled down, and at half-time against the wind they led by 3-1 to 2-0.

Wex­ford went on to con­trol the sec­ond-half and the rest is now his­tory.

Great credit was due to trainer Do­minic Kier­nan, Ger Fo­ley (Chair­man), Eileen O’Brien (Sec­re­tary), and along with Eileen the se­lec­tors were Pat Sheil and Paddy Shan­non.

1968 also saw the in­tro­duc­tion of the Ju­nior camo­gie cham­pi­onship for the first time, and Wex­ford town’s Bernie Mur­phy cap­tained the county to an his­toric 2-2 to 1-0 win over Dublin in the provin­cial fi­nal, but they lost out to Down in the All-Ire­land semi-fi­nal.

Wex­ford: Theresa Sheil, Mary Sin­nott, Phyl­lis Ke­hoe, Joan Mur­phy, Carmel For­tune, Brigid O’Con­nor, Mar­garet O’Leary, Brigid Doyle, Josie Ke­hoe, Mary Walsh (capt.), Mary Doyle, Mary Shan­non.

Wex­ford, All-Ire­land Se­nior camo­gie cham­pi­ons 1968. Back (from left): Brigid O’Con­nor, Mary Walsh (capt.), Phyl­lis Ke­hoe, Josie Ke­hoe, Mary Sin­nott, Eileen Lawlor, Eileen Allen. Front (from left): Joan Mur­phy, Brigid Doyle, Theresa Sheil, Mary Shan­non, Carmel For­tune, Mary Doyle, Mar­garet O’Leary, Bernie Mur­phy.

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