A WHIRLWIND start saw Wexford gallop into a lead that, despite their best efforts, the Kilkenny senior camogie team couldn’t claw back.
The girls from the Model County burst into action in this national camogie league (Division One) semi-final, opening up a first quarter advantage which proved decisive at Walsh Park, Waterford.
They were helped on their way by Ursula Jacob. The Player of the Match from last year’s All-Ireland final Jacob scored a well-taken goal after just 90 seconds, expertly and accurately rifling her shot into the right-hand corner.
Even at such an early stage, it was going to be difficult for Kilkenny.
Jacob added three points, including one from play, as Wexford stretched the lead to eight points (1-5 to 0-0) by the 20th minute.
A stunned Kilkenny eventually got off the mark in the 25th minute when Ann Dalton pointed a 45, the score coming after Aoife Neary’s well-struck goal effort was saved by Mags Darcy.
That save was a let-off for Wexford, but Neary made amends late in the first half.
Kelly Hamilton’s long diagonal ball towards goal drew Darcy off her goal-line, but she failed to grasp the sliotar. Neary pounced, making enough space to fire home an excellent shot into the bottom left corner of the net.
Wexford led by 1-6 to 1-1 at the interval, but stretched that advantage further with a superb Fiona Kavanagh point within seconds of the restart.
Kilkenny refused to go down easily throughout the game. Two Ann Dalton frees narrowed the gap, but other chances to reduce the lead further went abegging. Dalton saw another free tail wide, while the tireless working Edwina Keane shot wide unmarked in front of goal.
That was the story of the game as far as Kilkenny were concerned. They were more wasteful than their rivals, shooting seven wides to Wexford’s one.
Never in danger
Nevertheless, Wexford were never in any danger of losing, as they did enough throughout with their defence completely dominant.
The All-Ireland champions were too powerful and experienced in defence, with centre-back Mary Leacy and full-back Karen Atkinson leading the way.
Back in attack Wexford pushed on, Ursula Jacob pointing three times from placed balls during the closing quarter. Ann Dalton and Denise Gaule replied with points from play for Kilkenny, but it was a poor ending to their afternoon.
Best for Kilkenny were Emma Kavanagh who performed well in goal, while Ann Dalton gave a solid display. Kelly Hamilton and Edwina Keane also played well but got scant reward for their efforts.
SCORERS: Wexford - Ursula Jacob (1-7, 0-4 frees, 0-2 45s); Katriona Parrock, Brid Gordon, Fiona Kavanagh (0-1 each). Kilkenny - Anne Dalton (0-4, 0-2 frees 0-1 45), Aoife Neary (1-0); Denise Gaule (0-1).
Kilkenny - Emma Kavanagh (Rower-Inistioge), Grace Walsh (Tullaroan), Kate McDonald (Thomastown), Jacqui Frisby (Ballyhale Shamrocks), Mairead Power (Carrickshock), Colette Dormer (Paulstown), Elaine Aylward (Mullinavat), Aisling Dunphy (St Brigid’s, Ballycallan), Ann Dalton (St Lachtain’s, Freshford), Leanne Fennelly (Mullinavat), Edwina Keane (St Martin’s, Muckalee), Michelle Quilty (Mullinavat), Aoife Neary (James Stephens), Katie Power (Piltown), Kelly Hamilton (Rower-Inistioge). Subs: Aine Fahy (Tullaroan), Denise Gaule (Windgap).
Wexford - Mags Darcy, Ciara Donohue, Karen Atkinson, Louise O’Leary, Noeleen Lambert, Mary Leacy, Shelley Kehoe, Josie Dwyer, Louise Hammel, Fiona Kavanagh, Aine Leacy, Brid Gordon, Katriona Parrock, Ursula Jacob, Fiona Rochford. Subs: Kate Kelly, Shauna Sinnott, Frances Doran, Eimear O’Connor.
Referee - Mike O’Kelly (Cork).