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Sun 09-Sep-2007 19:18
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The Women's Pitch
We are the Girls of Wexford
Wexford 2-07 Cork 1-08
Not since 1996 has a player in the purple-and-gold of Wexford stood on the Hogan Stand to receive a senior trophy.
OK, maybe today it was'nt hurling and it was'nt the Liam McCarthy. But that did'nt dampen the ecstatic celebrations by Mary Leacy and her camogie colleagues - plus thousands of supporters - as they celebrated Wexford taking home the coveted O'Duffy Cup for the first time since 1975. Today's enthusiatic scenes were just as infectious as back in 1996 when their male counterparts took the All Ireland senior hurling title.
Wexford started the game like champions, with two early goals by star forward Una Leacy. They played throughout like champions - weathering a Cork comeback in the early part of the second half - and went on to finish in style ... like true champions. Even the serried ranks of Cork supporters could scarce forebear to cheer as the Yella Bellies held the cup aloft. For, after all, with this victory, the real winners are not just Wexford, but the great game of camogie itself.
Gemma O'Connor played a true captain's part for Cork, sending over a great point less than a minute into the second half and making the move that set up their goal a few minutes later. But Cork never got into their stride as Wexford harried, parried, hunted in packs at the back and picked off some great scores.
Wexford never trailed thanks to that early goal from Una Leacy. They quickly added to their tally with a Kate Kelly point, as the Shelmaliers' player ensured her status as the top scorer in the championship with 1-40 to her credit following the game.
Cork were made pay dearly for their seven wides in the opening half as Wexford made more clinical use of possession with Leacy palming home her second goal, midway through the opening half. O'Leary's opening point along with an Emer Dillon score were the only scores for the Rebels as the game entered the 29th minute, but Orla Cotter ensured the gap was cut to five points by the interval, thanks to her late point. However, Wexford still held a comfortable 2-02 to 0-03 advantage.
Cork came out strongly for the second half. A 37th-minute goal from Emer Dillon cut the gap to two points but Cork were unable to get on top of Sinnott's charges as impressive scores from Kate Kelly, Ursula Jacob and Katrina Parrock ensured Wexford held a four-point lead with three minutes remaining.
Leacy could have taken a late goal in injury time to complete her hat-trick, but she was injured in the process as Cork regained possession and Briege Corkery scored her only point of the game at the opposite end.
Wexford now has a new set of sporting heroines. Step aside George O'Connor, Martin Storey and Liam Dunne... Make way for names like Mags D'Arcy, Noleen Lambert, Una Leacy, Mary Leacy, Katy Kelly, Bronagh O'Connor, 'impact' sub Katrina Parrock and Manager, Stellah Sinnott.
No county will celebrate or appreciate this victory more than Wexford. No doubt, it will be used to inspire the Model county on the hurling field next year as well.
Other counties, too, can take heart from today - the likes of Kilkenny, Galway, Limeirck, Dublin and Waterford as well as more established camogie counties like Tipperary.
A jubilant Mary Leacy celebrates with the O'Duffy Cup
Una Leacy ... Wexford's two-goal heroine
Wexford: M Darcy; N Lambert, C O'Loughlin, A Nolan; A Codd, M Leacy, D Codd; K Kelly (0-03, 1f), C Murphy; B Furlong, RM Breen (0-01), M O'Leary; U Leacy (2-00), M Hearne, U Jacob (0-02). Subs used: A O'Connor for A Codd (34); K Parrock (0-01) for O'Leary (41); C O'Connor for Nolan (65).
Cork: A Murray; J O'Callaghan, C Foley, A O'Regan; R Buckley, M O'Connor, A Geary; B Corkery (0-01), G O'Connor (0-03); U O'Donoghue, A Walsh (0-01), J O'Leary (0-01, 1f); E Dillon (1-01), O Cotter (0-01), S Burns.
Subs used: E Watson for O'Donoghue (52); S O'Donovan for Walsh (56).
Referee: John Morrissey (Tipperary).
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