Fine camogie first
FOR CAMOGIE it proved 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 Lein- ster as champions for the 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.