Derry seal quarter-final spot with hard-fought win over Wexford
Glen Dimplex All-Ireland Intermediate Championship Group Two: Wexford 2-13 Derry 4-12
DERRY knew going down to Wexford on Saturday that if they avoided a heavy defeat by the home side that they would still finish in second place and be travelling to Portlaoise next Saturday to play an All-Ireland quarter-final.
They also knew that even a high-scoring win would be unlikely to dislodge Cork from top spot.
Last week, their bench was thin enough, while injuries to Rachel Downey and the absence of exam-tied Maria Mooney left them further stretched. They then had to withdraw Máiréad McNicholl at half-time with a knee injury and Rebecca Bradley (ankle) during the second half meaning sub goalie Niamh Gribbin was introduced as an outfield player.
To pick up a fourth win from five games in the group in those circumstances was some achievement, but it will put pressure on the physios this week to have some of those players ready to take on Dublin on Saturday.
Derry started very well against the breeze and were ruthless in front of goals, taking a lead of 3-3 to 0-2 at the end of the first quarter.
Therese Mellon opened the scoring with a point and her cousin Sinéad then tagged on a goal in the second minute. Therese Mellon and Aoife Shaw then buried two goals inside 60 seconds in the 14th minute to give them a commanding lead.
But there were no further scores in the half for Derry. Instead Wexford settled and Aideen Brennan, Aoife Dunne, Chloe Cashe and Jessie Morrissey down the centre of their team began to run the ball at the visitor’s defence where Megan Kerr continued where she left off last week with an excellent performance.
Still Wexford had closed the gap to 3-3 to 0-9 by half-time with Cashe scoring five times and Sarah Doyle adding three.
Despite Aoife Shaw scoring the first point of the second half for Derry, a goal from Cashe in the 38th minute had the teams level at 3-4 to 1-10. Derry responded well however with four of the next five points, three of which came from Áine McAllister who had moved to midfield at the break.
The key score arrived in the 47th minute and it was a second goal for Lavey’s Aoife Shaw and McAllister immediately tagged on a point from a free that put them 4-9 to 1-12 ahead.
Morrissey scored a late goal for Wexford only for Caoimhe Glass hit back with a point for Derry, sending the Oak Leaf home on a high.
Derry: N McQuillan; R Kirkpatrick, M Kerr, S McGill; R Bradley, G McNicholl R Cassidy; D O'Kane, C Glass (0-1); Á McAllister (0-5, 0-2 frees), M McNicholl (0-1), S Mellon (1-0); A Shaw (2-2), S O'Doherty, T Mellon (1-1).
Subs: M Rafferty for S McGill (28), S O’Connor 0-2 for M McNicholl (h-t), Á McGill for R Bradley (54), N Gribbin for R Cassidy (57), S McGill for R Kirkpatrick (57).
Wexford: L O’Shea; A Halligan, M O’Dowd, K Roche; C Donohue, A Brennan (0-1), M Fitzpatrick; L Doyle, A Dunne; S Doyle (0-3), C Cashe (1-6, 0-3 frees), E Tomkins (0-1); L Firman, J Morrissey (1-2), S Sinnott.
Subs: C Jackman for L Doyle (40), C O’Connor for M Fitzpatrick,