Jacob secures special double for Wexford
ALL-IRELAND SENIOR CAMOGIE FINAL Wexford 2-7 Galway 1-8:WEXFORD SHOWED the mettle of champions to dig out a famous victory in yesterday’s All-Ireland senior camogie final. In the process, they bagged a league and championship double for the second successive season, and with the intermediates adding their own All-Ireland 90 minutes earlier, it was a joyous occasion for the Model County contingent.
At the other end of the spectrum, there was nothing but desolation for Galway. This was the county’s fifth final loss since they won their only title back in 1996.
Veronica Curtin played on that occasion and though she scored an early point yesterday, the Kinvara legend never really got into the game before being hauled ashore in what, she declared beforehand, would be her last game in the county colours.
Therese Maher arrived on the intercounty scene in 1997 and thus missed out on her county’s greatest day. The centre-back was close to the best player on the pitch as part of a brilliant Galway half-back line that drove the westerners forward but, in the end, she could not impose her considerable will on Wexford.
Having been the better team for the majority of proceedings, Galway led by three points with 10 minutes remaining thanks to Tara Rutledge’s 38th minute goal.
Rutledge had a shot for a point to give them a vital cushion but the sliotar rebounded off the upright across the face of goal and crucially there was no Galway player on hand to tap to the net. Had there been, that would surely have been game over.
Instead, Wexford worked the ball up the field and team captain, Ursula Jacob, caught Josie Dwyer’s high ball before turning to smash a shot to the roof of the Galway net. Jacob’s goal levelled the scores with just over seven minutes remaining.
“I wouldn’t be known for my aerial ability but I just said ‘I’m going for it’ because I knew we weren’t going to get many chances” she recalled afterwards, the O’Duffy Cup dangling from that same left hand that grasped the sliotar.
“I remember putting my hand up, turning on my left-hand side and shooting at the goal and thankfully it went in.”
That wasn’t the end of her contribution though. Her father, Mick, is a former Wexford legend, while brothers Michael and Rory are long-serving intercounty hurlers. That breeding was evident as the Oulart-The-Ballagh star slotted a free before firing a magnificent score from under the Hogan Stand.
In all, she scored 1-5, including Wexford’s last goal and three points, to break Galway’s hearts.
“We knew in the first half we hadn’t performed as well as we could but we knew there was a good second half in us and we kept tipping away, even when they got the goal. We are resilient and it showed after that.”
Galway boss, Noel Finn described it as “really, really, really hard to take” and bemoaned his team’s spurned opportunities.
“We were three or four points up, we had a chance to push on and missed a few scores to go five or six up and I think that was the difference . . . I felt when Tara got the goal that we were hurling well and going to push on but it just didn’t happen.
“Fair play to (Wexford), they were All-Ireland champions last year and they showed why they are All-Ireland champions.”
Wexford had the perfect start when Una Leacy goaled from a fourth-minute penalty after Kate Kelly was unceremoniously dumped by Therese Manton.
But with Ann-Marie Hayes, Maher and Heather Cooney dominant, Galway edged back into proceedings. Aislinn Connolly, Curtin and Martina Conroy all had points and Mags D’Arcy also pulled off a smart save from Curtin.
Jacob slotted two frees though and Wexford led 1-2 to 0-3 at half time. Galway exploded out of the traps after the resumption, points from Noreen Coen and Rutledge giving them parity before Rutledge pulled first-time on a breaking ball, after Maher’s free from distance, to billow the net.
Crucially, however, Galway never managed to extend their lead any further, despite enjoying more of the play and that ultimately was to prove their downfall as Jacob and Wexford confirmed their pedigree as champions.
WEXFORD: M D’Arcy; C O’Connor, C O’Loughlin, K Atkinson; N Lambert, M Leacy, A O’Connor; D Codd, J Dwyer (0-1); K Kelly, U Leacy (1-0, pen), M O’Leary; L Holohan (0-1), U Jacob (1-5, 0-4 frees), K Parrock. Subs: F Kavanagh for Codd (54 mins), E Quigley for Holohan (56 mins), C Storey for Atkinson (60+3 mins).
GALWAY: S Earner; T Manton, S Cahalan, L Ryan; AM Hayes, T Maher, H Cooney; N Kilkenny (0-1, 45), A Starr; N Coen (0-1), M Conroy (0-1), A Connolly (0-2, 0-1 free); T Rutledge (1-1), B Hanney, V Curtin (0-1). Sub: O Kilkenny (0-1) for Curtin (39 mins).
Referee: M O’Kelly(Cork).