GAA Football

Tyrone poised for second successive All-Ireland ladies football final

Tyrone's Gemma Begley. Picture: Seamus Loughran.
Louise Gunn

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TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate Championship quarter-final: Tyrone 1-15 Wexford 2-8

TYRONE are one step away from an second successive All-Ireland final appearance after overcoming Wexford in the TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate quarter-final in Drogheda.

The four point winning margin suggests a close enough game but an Amy Wilson goal with the last kick of the game put some gloss on the scoreline after what was a composed display from the Ulster champions and All-Ireland favourites.

Apart from a few minutes in the second quarter when Wexford led by two points thanks to an opportunistic 20th minute Bernie Breen goal a couple of points from Chloe Foxe, Tyrone were always in control, with full forward Gemma Begley in particular rolling back the years. She finished with five points, commanding the square to cause the Wexford defence all sorts of problems as did corner forward Chloe McCaffrey who scored her side’s only goal just before half-time to put Tyrone 1-8 to 1-4 ahead at the break.

Gerry Moane’s side led 0-3 to no score with Niamh Hughes, Emma Jane Gervin and Begley giving them an early advantage but Breen and Niamh Moore responded for Wexford. Tyrone were double scores ahead through a second Gervin point when Breen stuck a leg out to a bouncing ball in the goalmouth that Tyrone looked to have cleared to stab home a goal for the Leinster challengers very much against the run of play.

Begley levelled the game shortly after, 0-5 to 1-2, but two Foxe points opened up a surprising lead for Wexford.

That, however was to be as good as it got as Begley reeled off three in a row, Gervin raised yet another white flag to put Tyrone back into the lead and McCaffrey finished well after a superb ball in from Maria Canavan.

The Tyrone lead was extended to 10 points at one stage after the resumption through half-time substitute Lycrecia Quinn, McCaffrey (2), captain Neamh Woods and Niamh O’Neill.

Wexford to their credit never gave up and added second half points from Murray, Moore and Fiona Rochford while Wilson’s goal, a rebound from the penalty spot after Tyrone keeper Shannon Lynch saved her initial spot kick was small consolation.

Begley was full of praise for the effort of Wexford who did ask some questions of her side, but who found the answers when needed.

“Credit to Wexford they never gave up and they kept at us and we would have liked it to have been a bit more comfortable in the end, but a win is a win and we will take that,” said Begley.

“It’s all a work in progress, it’s great to be in a semi-final and it’ll be a nice couple of weeks now preparing for that.”

The Carrickmore player certainly was showing how it’s done with five points, three in a row in the first half, when Wexford had momentarily on top and she puts her good form down to the younger members of the squad keeping her right.

“I try and make the best of it,” she laughs.

“The younger players keep me on my toes and push you on and I suppose they are learning from me and the other older players but at the same time we are learning from them. It’s not a bad thing to be playing at this time of the year, it’s want you want but we have still have work to do.”

Tyrone: S Lynch; N McGirr, J Barrett, C Hunter; S McCarroll, E Mulgrew, E Brennan; N Woods (0-1), EJ Gervin (0-4); N Hughes (0-1), M Canavan, A O’Kane; N O’Neill (0-1), G Begley (0-5), C McCaffrey (1-2).

Subs: C Conway for J Barrett (22), L Quinn for A O’Kane (HT), G Rafferty for N O’Neill (43), M Mallon for M Canavan (54), A Tuohey for N Hughes (57).

Wexford: MR Kelly; S Murphy, M Byrne, N Mernagh; C Donnelly, F Rochford (0-2, 0-1f), N Moore (0-1); R Murphy, B Breen (1-1); N Butler, K Kearney, E O’Brien; C Foxe (0-3), A Murphy, C Murray (0-1f).

Subs: G Hearne for S Murphy (41), A Sheil for N Butler (48), R Bennett for C Murray (50), M Doyle for C Foxe (50), A Wilson (1-0) for K Kearney (57).

Referee: Jonathan Murphy (Carlow)

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