TWO second-half goals for Wexford gave the reigning All Ireland Senior Camogie Champions a hard fought win over a battling Offaly side in Birr on Sunday.
The home side, who are the reigning All Ireland Intermediate Champions, had the better of the first-half and went to the break in front by a point but Wexford started the second-half strongly and Offaly couldn’t manage to pull them back.
On a cold and sunny afternoon in Birr, the visitors started the quicker and took an early lead.
Kate Kelly opened the scoring with a point from a free in the first minute and Una Lacey doubled their advantage soon after.
With the aid of the breeze, Elaine Dermody opened Offaly’s account after six minutes and that settled the home side. They matched matched Wexford for the next phase of the game with each side adding three points to their total and before the break they edged in front with two unanswered points.
All six of Offaly’s points in the first half came from frees from Elaine Dermody leaving the home side with a 0-6 to 0-5 advantage.
With the wind now in their favour, Wexford started the second-half strongly and they moved into a 0-8 to 0-6 lead thanks to three unanswered points.
Ciara Storey and Karen Atkinson were introduced for Wexford and they had a major influence on the game.
To their credit Offaly showed they can live match strides with the best in the top flight and entering the final quarter, they were only two points adrift and very much still in the game.
The decisive score was a gaol 13 minutes from time from Lenny Holohan which for the first time in the game left more than a score between the sides.
A second goal for Wexford, this time from the hurl of Kathriona Parrock, put the game beyond Offaly and gave a very flattering slant to the scoreline.
The home side still continued to come forward adding points from Arlene Watkins and Orlagh Kirwan. Kirwan’s point was Offaly’s only score from play on the day.
The final scoreline certainly does not do justice to the efforts of the Offaly team on the day although the better side did eventually come out on top.
The game was stop start as it was littered with frees despite being a very clean and sporting contest. Offaly’s backs and midfield never stopped trying with Pamela Nugent excellent in goal and Michaela Morkan dominant at centre back.
With nine of Offaly scores coming from frees, it showed that the forwards got little change from the Wexford backs. Arlene Watkins was best of the forwards while Elaine Dermody pointed all her frees also. Next up for Offaly is an away game against Galway on Sunday, March 13.
The U-16 All Ireland B Championship between Limerick and Offaly takes place on Saturday, March 5. Time and venue will be posted on Offaly Camogie website from midweek.
OFFALY: Pamela Nugent; Fiona Stevens, Lorraine Keena, Karen Brady; Sheila Sullivan, Michaela Morkan, Linda Sullivan; Orlagh Kirwan, Marion Crean; Jean Brady, Arlene Watkins, Siobhan
Flannery; Tina Hannon, Elaine Dermody, Allisa Hughes. Subs used: Emma Dunne, Roisin Coughlan, Debbie Flynn, Aoife Kelly
WEXFORD: Mags Darcy; Bernie Holohan, Catherine O Loughlin, Claire O Connor; Noleen Lambert, Mary Lacey, Aoife O Connor; Kate Kelly, Deirdre Codd; Josie Dwyer, Brid Gordon, Michelle O Leary; Evelyn Quigley, Una Lacey, Fiona Kavanagh. Subs: Lenny Holohan, Ciara O’Connor, Karen Atkinson, Ciara Storey, Katriona Parrock