Wexford Women Show The Way

Posted on November 13, 2010

0


This post is very out of date but it’s something I came across on the computer and decided to throw up here. It might awaken some good memories for anyone in Croke Park this year.

.

.

Trips to Croke Park have been scarce for Wexford fans of late; in fact, this year’s Dublin football game was the first instance since that same team’s defeat to Tyrone in the 2008 All Ireland Semi Final.

.

And while it’s always nice to get a trip to Croke Park, it’s even nicer to get one and see your team winning. Wexford’s Camogie team have graced the national stage twice in the last four years and seem to have a penchant for winning there.

.

After a convincing victory over Kilkenny in the semi finals, attentions turned to the final and the challenge of Galway. Having been beaten by the Tribeswomen in the round robin part of the championship, there was the fear that Galway could be a potential banana skin for a team that had been cruising along, building up momentum, ready to peak at the right time.

.

But as someone said to me that afternoon in Croke Park, while looking at the programme, “Who’d beat them?” It’s been a long time since we’ve had a team in whom we could instil such belief and confidence. That person was right, of course. From 1-15 and on into the subs, there was no weak link.

.

It would be easy to single out the more high profile players of the team: Mary Leacy is probably the best centre back in the county (out of either gender); similarly her sister and team captain Una Leacy did Trojan work at centre forward while Kate Kelly was menacing as always on the wing.

.

But look at the rest of the team: Caroline Murphy did a lot of soldiering in midfield, as did Michelle O’Leary at wing forward, while Ursula Jacob maintained a perfect record on free taking. Claire O’Connor held out in corner back to ensure that no direct marker would score off her this year – a remarkable statistic which must surely have the engravers already chiselling her name onto the corner back All Star for 2010.

.

Similarly, St Martins duo, goalkeeper Mags D’Arcy and wing back Noeleen Lambert (who was unforgivably overlooked in 2007) look set to add extra silverware to their growing collections.

.

The youth in the team, and the future of camogie in the county also stepped up to the plate on such a big day. Katrina Parrock slotted her goal nicely under the advancing goalkeeper and contributed two fine points in addition. Ciara Storey, called into play after the unfortunate injury to corner back Karen Atkinson, also gave a solid performance on the GAA’s centre stage.

.

When you look at club camogie in Wexford, it’s little wonder that the county team are as strong as they are. With 14 clubs represented between both panels, the health of camogie cannot be in question. Indeed, ask anyone who was present in Wexford Park a couple of weeks ago for the County semi final between Rathnure and St Ibars and they will tell you it was one of the best games they’d ever seen.

.

While there was joy for the Seniors, the Intermediates were unlucky not to add a second piece of silverware to the cabinet. Just as Graham Canty steadied the Cork footballers this past weekend, so too did the introduction of Eimer O’Connor and Bridget Curran for Wexford, leaving everyone wondering if they should have been brought on sooner especially with Ciara O’Connor and Fiona Rochford starting to look increasingly more dangerous in front of goal. Both players could be pushing hard for senior match time next year.

.

Coming back to the Senior, the County Final will be watched with great interest now as there’ll be many who would covet the opportunity to ascend the steps of the Hogan Stand in 2011 as captain of the team. I’m sure Kate Kelly would relish the chance to lift the O’Duffy Cup next year but St Ibars will be underdogs against an Oulart side with such strength and depth that it’s almost impossible to devise a strategy against them.

.

It’s difficult to see anyone beating this Wexford team for a while. Both Galway and Kilkenny will have learned a lot from this year and will be strengthening all the time. Cork will be back, you can put the house on that. But while it’s possible to battle against a good team, a good team with momentum is an entirely different story. Look at Kilkenny for the last five years – it took a very special Tipp team to beat them.

.

I have a feeling it will take something very special to beat this Wexford team.

.

For now though, let’s enjoy this ‘one in a row’. For the first time in quite a while, Wexford’s got something to shout about.

***

This article featured in the October issue of the Wexford Scene magazine.

Advertisements