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By Jackie Cahill

Battling champions Wexford ensured that they are still in with a real chance of making the semi-finals of the 2008 Gala All-Ireland senior championship after securing a dramatic 3-8 to 2-8 victory against Tipperary on Saturday.

The Model County lost their opening two matches but three successive victories have been racked up in recent weeks, none more precious than this crucial victory at Semple Stadium.

Una Leacy was the heroine with a 2-2 haul and her second goal, the matchwinning strike, arrived almost three minutes into stoppage time, with the scores level at 2-8 apiece.


Leacy got a flick to a booming delivery from halfway and the ball finished up in the back of the Town End net.

Off the ball, Tipp corner forward Jill Horan clashed with Wexford wing back Aoife O’Connor and Horan was issued with a straight red card to compound the home side’s misery.

Tipp held a 1-5 to 0-5 half-time advantage on a humid afternoon as MairÚad Morrissey prodded home the goal after ten minutes following an uncharacteristic error by Wexford goalkeeper Mags Darcy.

Wexford were right back on terms two minutes after half-time as Leacy supplied Ursula Jacob for Wexford’s first goal before Tipperary’s top scorer Claire Grogan, who bagged 1-5, scored her goal direct from a 20m free.

With nine minutes left, Wexford had come on strong to lead by three points before Tipp hit back with scores from Allstars Philly Fogarty and Grogan (2) to level the game.

A draw looked on the cards but Leacy had the final say with a deft flick and the Slaneysiders can assure themselves of at least a play-off with a victory against Dublin in their final group game next weekend.

There is still a slim possibility that five teams could finish on eight points but Galway all but assured themselves of a semi-final berth with a comfortable 3-10 to 0-6 victory against Dublin in Killimor on Saturday.

Galway had scoring contributions from nine different players and first half goals from Deirdre Burke (19 minutes) and Brenda Kerins (25 minutes) helped to open up a 2-3 to 0-3 half-time advantage.

Dublin had a chance to claw their way back into the game with 13 minutes of normal time remaining but Ciara Lucey’s penalty was saved by Galway netminder Susan Earner.

Two minutes later, substitute Molly Dunne sealed Galway’s victory with her side’s third goal after collecting Jessica Gill’s long delivery.

The pressure is now on league champions Kilkenny to get something from their home outing against Cork on Sunday.
Kilkenny are on six points, two behind Galway and Cork and level with Tipperary and Wexford.

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