Wexford made a number of personnel and positional changes for this third round clash with Waterford. Laura Brennan replaced Mags D’Arcy in the goal, Louise Sinnott made way for Ciara Donohoe at corner back and Una Sinnott was reintroduced to the starting line up ahead of Chloe Foxe at corner forward. There were positional alterations too, with Siona Nolan filling the centre back berth and Karen Atkinson in at number three to steady the ship after sailing off course last week in Offaly. Waterford, newly promoted to the Senior ranks having won the All Ireland Intermediate Final last yea, have plenty of talent in their ranks. Record Poc Fada holder Trish Jackman and the silken skilled teenage Beth Carton just two to mention.
Waterford started the brighter of the two teams with Fiona Morrissey sending over a point from play in the first minute, Shelley Kehoe responded two minutes later with a well taken point from play before her twin Stacey split the posts after being set up by Kate Kelly. Kate pointed herself two minutes later to see Wexford enjoy a two point lead ten minutes into the match. A foul on Una Leacy saw Kate Kelly send over a pointed free with routine precision before Una herself batted a classey finish to the Deise net to see Wexford lead 1-4 to 0-1. Within a minute, Wexford got their sixth score through a Linda Bolger point and Wexford enjoyed a seven point lead after 13 minutes. Waterford made inroads into the Wexford lead with a point from Lorraine Bray at the end of the first quarter. Kate Kelly was on hand to get her third point before a swift response from Lorraine Bray saw Wexford lead 1-6 to 0-3. Poc Fada supremo Patricia Jackman got Waterford’s fourth point from a placed ball, before Kate pointed another free for Wexford. Deise starlet Beth Carton picked off a score on the move for Waterford to see the Wexford lead cut to five points. It was Carton who made her mark on the game three minutes later with a well taken goal to see the lead cut to two points and Waterford in the ascendency approaching half time.
On the restart, Fiona Morrissey raised the white flag and the Wexford lead was cut to the minimum and it would seem that Wexford had their work cut out for them playing into a stiff breeze. Una Leacy however pounced for her second major of the afternoon to put Wexford four points ahead. Deirdre Codd replaced Jackie Quigley just before Kate pointed her fourth free of the match and saw Wexford enjoy a five point lead. There was a barren period of almost ten minutes before Trish Jackman powered over a placed ball for Waterford and another Jackman free moments later saw just a goal separate the sides entering the final quarter. A pointed free from the stick of Kate Kelly was cancelled out by another white flag from Beth Carton and Trish Jackman cut the lead to two on the forty minute mark, with Wexford having their work cut out for them against a Deise side growing in belief and confidence with the wind in their backs. Linda Bolger gave Wexford the lifeline they needed with five minutes to play as she finished all the way to the net to push the Wexford lead out to five points. Waterford went in search of a goal of their own just over a minute later, but Karen Atkinson was on hand with some experienced defending and expert timing to put in a goal denying tackle. As the ball went up-field, Kate Kelly picked off a classy point to push the lead out to six points with time running out on the clock. Katrina Parrock registered her first score of the day within the minute and Beth Carton responded quickly with a point for the hosts to keep the margin at two goals. Linda Bolger picked off her second point and Wexford stretched out to a seven point lead. Waterford won a close in free in the dying moments, Trish Jackman went low and hard but was denied on the Wexford line and Wexford got their All Ireland series back on track having survived a serious effort from our near neighbours in Waterford.
Wexford now face All Ireland Champions Cork next Saturday at home and with Mary Leacy back on Wexford soil and having made a telling contribution when introduced, Wexford will have their sights set firmly on a win against the Rebelettes.
Wexford: Laura Brennan, Ciara Donohoe, Karen Atkinson, Ciara Storey, Sarah O’Connor, Siona Nolan, Jackie Quigley, Emma Walsh, Katrina Parrock (0-1), Stacey Kehoe (0-1), Kate Kelly (0-7, 5f), Shelley Kehoe (0-1), Una Sinnott, Una Leacy (2-0), Linda Bolger (1-2). Subs: Mary Leacy fro Emma Walsh (inj), Deirdre Codd for Jackie Quigley,
Waterford Scorers: Beth Carton (1-3), Patricia Jackman (0-4, 3f), Fiona Morrissey (0-2) Lorraine Bray (0-2) Subs: Aoife Landers for Iona Heffernan