Wexford 2-9 Offaly 1-9
Denis Hurley, Semple Stadium
A good second-half performance saw Wexford overcome Offaly to take the Camogie National League Division 2 crown at Semple Stadium in Thurles on Saturday afternoon.
Trailing 1-6 to 1-5 at half-time, Wexford upped their game after the interval to restrict their opponents to just three points in the second period and once they edged ahead in the 48th minute they held onto the lead.
Ciara Storey, daughter of Wexford legend Martin, was very good at centre–back while corner-forwards Stacey Kehoe and Lisa Bolger chipped in with some vital scores for the Model County.
Greater scoring power was a feature in this victory for Karen Barnes’ side, as they had seven different players on target, while in contrast Offaly were heavily reliant on the frees of Elaine Dermody, who accounted for six points of their 1-9 total.
Three of these helped Wexford into an early 0-3 to no score lead, but in the 12th minute Bolger’s point attempt travelled all the way to the Offaly net to level. This score settled Wexford and they were to lead for most of the remainder of the first half, Emma Moran’s point on 23 making it 1-4 to 0-5 for them.
That was cancelled out almost immediately by Dermody however, and then two minutes before the break, Offaly regained the lead, Arlene Watkins pouncing to fire to the net after Wexford goalkeeper Helena Jacob dropped a Michaela Morkan long-range free.
SÝona Nolan reduced the gap to the minimum as the sides turned around but when Dermody pointed another free early in the second half, Offaly looked to still be in command.
By the 41st minute, however, Wexford were back level, BrÝd Gordon with a brilliant point and Kehoe with her second of the game. Dermody responded to put Offaly back in front, but the momentum was with Wexford by now, and an excellent score following a good run by Bolger levelled before a huge free from Storey put them ahead.
Gordon them almost got in for a goal but was denied by good defending from Linda Sullivan and Wexford captain Ciara O’Connor was similarly unlucky, her long-range free batted away by Offaly goalkeeper Audrey Kennedy.
Wexford were enjoying of possession as they looked to extend their lead, but the wides tally was increasing and Offaly were still in with a chance, but they were finding it difficult to make attacking headway.
Eventually, in the final minute of normal time, Wexford’s pressure was to pay off as sub Linda Bolger sent a dangerous ball into the Offaly goalmouth and fellow
Offaly did respond late on with a Siobhßn Flannery point, but it was too little too late for them and Wexford emerged victorious.
Scorers – Wexford: Lisa Bolger 1-2, S Redmond 1-0, S Kehoe 0-2, E Moran, C O’Connor, S Nolan, B Gordon 0-1 each.
Offaly: E Dermody 0-6 (0-5f), A Watkins 1-0, T Hannon 0-2, S Flannery 0-1.
WEXFORD: H Jacob; J Hayden, L O’Leary, C Atkinson; F Doran, C Storey, S Kehoe; E Moran, E Quigley; C O’ Connor, S Nolan, B Gordon; S Kehoe, E O’Connor, Lisa Bolger.
Subs: Linda Bolger for E O’Connor (41), S Redmond for Lisa Bolger (56).
OFFALY: A Kennedy; F Stephens, L Keena, K Brady; K Nugent, M Morkan, L Sullivan; M Crean, A Watkins; A Kelly, E Dermody, M Davis; T Hannon, S Flannery, J Brady.
Sub: M Gleeson for J Brady (54).
Referee: K O’Brien (Dublin).