First half blitz sees Kilkenny Seniors advance

by on the 25th of August 2021

Kilkenny 3-19

Wexford 1-12

By Robert Cribbin, Kilkenny People Newspaper

It was as emphatic as the scoreline suggested, with Kilkenny having 13 points to spare over Wexford in last Saturday’s All-Ireland senior camogie championship semi-final.

Coming into the game on the back of a defeat to Galway and sketchy performances over Clare and Westmeath there was a few question marks hanging over the Kilkenny but the answer in Pairc Ui Chaoimh couldn’t have been more pronounced for the All-Ireland champions as they eased past the challenge of their Leinster neighbours.

The first half display was particularly impressive as they notched two quickfire goals via Aoife Doyle and Mary O’Connell while Denise Gaule looked very much back in her groove and Wexford had no answer to the Cats.

Kilkenny led at the break on a 2-13 to 0-6 scoreline while playing against a sizeable breeze and while they did ease off a little in the second period they were still on top throughout with Gaule getting a goal herself as she rounded off on a tally of 1-6.

Katrina Parrock netted late on for Wexford but it was only something of a consolation with Kilkenny’s attention already firmly set on a semi-final date with Cork in Croke Park this weekend.

Wexford were big underdogs heading into the game and to have any chance of causing an upset, the thought was they needed a strong start and with the win behind them there was a possibility of them staying in the game.

In truth though the exact opposite happened and Kilkenny ended the game as a contest by half-time.

Denise Gaule got the scoring underway with an opening minute free before the current player of the year assisted the opening Kilkenny goal when she hit a long free in towards the Wexford square. When the ball wasn’t cleared properly Aoife Doyle mopped up possession before shooting past Laura Brennan.

Wexford responded with points from Ciara O’Connor and Sarah O’Connor to reduce the gap to two, but four further points on the bounce had the Cats six points clear by the 10th minute.

Gaule, Mary O’Connell, Katie Nolan and Miriam Walsh all knocked over points during that period while Doyle almost got a second goal as Kilkenny took complete control.

Jackie Quigley then scored from play for Wexford but by the time of the opening water break it was 1-8 to 0-3 in favour of Kilkenny after points from Gaule, Nolan and Grace Walsh.

It was always going to be an uphill battle for Wexford at that stage and quickfire points from Gaule and Nolan almost had the Cats out of sight.

Chloe Foxe hit back with the first of seven frees on the day for Wexford but moments later Katie Power fed Mary O’Connell who gleefully placed the sliotar beyond the reach of Brennan in the Slaneysiders goal and it was a 12 point game.

Gaule, Power and O’Connell once more all added to the tally in the following minutes and while Wexford added on points courtesy of Foxe and Anais Curran, the game was as good as over at the half-time break.

One setback for Kilkenny in that opening period was Kellyann Doyle going down with injury and she had to be replaced by Niamh Deely after only 20 minutes of play.

Kilkenny looked like a side whose mind had already wandered to further challenges down the track or were still in the dressing room for the early minutes of the second half as Wexford full forward Foxe knocked over a trio of frees to give optimism to some sort of comeback.

That always looked unlikely and O’Connell and Miriam Walsh steadied the Cats with points from play.

Foxe converted another free for Wexford in response as Brian Dowling’s side led 2-15 to 0-10 at the second half water break.

Grace and Miriam Walsh then extended the margin back to 13 points as Kilkenny tagged on scores every time Wexford threatened to get close and there was further evidence of this when back to back efforts from Foxe and Leah Walsh found the target for Wexford but again Kilkenny hit back just as quick with Gaule knocking over a rather routine looking free.

The Windgap half-forward then found the net with seven minutes left on the clock after a long range effort for a point dropped short but instead of Laura Brennan collecting the sliotar she misread the flight of the ball and after colliding with the post the ball ended up over the line.

Wexford did rally somewhat late on and after Aoife Norris denied Kevin Tattan’s side just moments earlier with a great save, they eventually got their just reward when Katrina Parrock flicked the ball to the net after a long ball from Leah Walsh hung around the Kilkenny goalmouth.

That put a bit of respectability on the scoreboard for Wexford as Katie Power rounded off the scoring with a late point.

There was still late drama though after Kilkenny sub Miriam Bambrick was given a straight red card in stoppage time for a late foul on a Wexford player that will see her miss this Sunday’s semi-final with Cork.

For now though the Cats will be content in the knowledge that they are on the way back to Croke Park and 60 minutes away from another All-Ireland final as they seek to retain their title.

Scorers for Kilkenny: Denise Gaule (1-6, 0-3 frees, 0-1 45); Mary O’Connell (1-3); Aoife Doyle (1-0); Miriam Walsh and Katie Nolan (0-3 each); Grace Walsh and Katie Power (0-2 each).

Scorers for Wexford:  Chloe Foxe (0-7, frees); Katrina Parrock (1-0); Leah Walsh, Jackie Quigley, Anais Curran, Sarah O’Connor and Ciara O’Connor (0-1 each).

Kilkenny: Aoife Norris; Michelle Teehan, Claire Phelan, Davina Tobin; Kellyann Doyle, Meighan Farrell, Collette Dormer; Steffi Fitzgerald, Grace Walsh; Denise Gaule, Mary O’Connell, Katie Power; Katie Nolan, Miriam Walsh, Aoife Doyle. Subs: Niamh Deely for K Doyle, 20 mins; Michaela Kenneally for Fitzgerald, 46 mins; Laura Murphy for Nolan, 49 mins; Aoife Prendergast for A Doyle, 52 mins; Miriam Bambrick for Teehan, 54 mins.

Wexford:  Laura Brennan; Sarah Harding Kenny, Aine Lacey, Louise O’Leary; Meave Sinnott, Ciara O’Connor, Emma Walsh; Amy Cardiff, Orla Sinnott; Anais Curran, Jackie Quigley, Kate Kirwan; Sarah O’Connor, Chloe Foxe, Joanne Dillon. Subs: Linda Bolger for O Sinnott, 19 mins; Katrina Parrock for Kirwan, 35 mins; Mag Byrne for Curran, 46 mins; Leah Walsh for E Walsh, 46 mins; Aoife Guiney for Quigley, 50 mins.

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