Wexford’s four-in-a-row bid came to an end at the hands of old rivals Galway, who will now play Kilkenny in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland senior camogie final in four weeks after this merited victory in Semple Stadiumt writes Daragh Ó Conchúir.
With seven of last year’s championship-winning team unavailable, it was always going to be difficult for JJ Doyle’s crew, and though they battled throughout, they never looked like making it to Croke Park once Niamh Kilkenny rattled their net in the 23rd minute.
The Model County had just two players in the full-forward line into a very strong wind and would have been very satisfied to be level at 0-2 apiece at the end of the opening quarter.
Aisling O’Reilly opened the scoring for Wexford in the second minute but a couple of points in three minutes from Ursula Jacob actually put the Yellowbellies in front. It was significant though that those two scores came from placed balls as they failed to score from play throughout.
Indeed the entire game was a staccato affair punctuated by frees but as Galway gained dominance around the middle, they gradually pulled clear.
Emer Haverty brought the sides level and Niamh McGrath slotted three points as the Tribeswomen opened up a gap.
Brenda Hanney flashed a low shot into the side-netting but Kilkenny made no mistake as she drove a powerful shot beyond the helpless Mags D’Arcy from 11m. An injury time point from O’Reilly left it 1-6 to 0-2 at half time.
With player of the match Therese Maher revelling in being a free player at centre-back, as Wexford attempted to gain a foothold further out the field, the westerners fired over three of the next four points to extend the margin to nine.
Hanney and Jacob exchanged points before O’Reilly’s angled drive rose just over the bar and Hanney notched up her second to put nine between the sides.
Not for the first time this season, Wexford showed the mettle of champions by raising their levels in response. Jacob converted a free, before Kate Kelly fired over from 75m.
Any chance they had was lost when Katrina Parrock received her second yellow card and was sent off in the 48thminute.
Jacob did send over from another free to leave six between them but Galway remained comfortable and points from Kilkenny, and an excellent effort by Noreen Coen, removed any doubt.
Scorers – Galway: N Kilkenny 1-2; N McGrath (2fs), A O’Reilly 0-3 each, B Hanney 0-2; E Haverty, N Coen 0-1 each
Wexford: U Jacob 0-5(fs); K Kelly 0-1(f)
Galway: S Earner, T Manton, S Dervan, H Cooney, S Cahalan, T Maher, L Ryan, N Kilkenny, M Dunne, E Haverty, N McGrath, E Kilkelly, B Hanney, A< Hayes, A O’Reilly. Sub: N Coen for Kilkelly (39); AM Starr for Haverty (60+1)
Wexford: M D’Arcy, C Donohoe, N Lambert, Atkinson, B Curran, Shelly Kehoe, S Sinnott, K Kelly, F Kavanagh, J Dwyer, K Parrock, B Gordon, E O’Connor, F Rochford, U Jacob. Subs: F Doran for Donohoe (37); Stacey Kehoe for O’Connor (43); S McGivern for Rochford (52)
Referee: C Egan (Cork)