All Ireland Minor ‘B’ Semi-Final

All Ireland
Minor ‘B’

(Michael Forde Leinster PRO)
Wexford 5-10 Armagh 2-11
Wexford minor ladies march on to the All Ireland minor ‘B’ final, after a great win over Armagh in Fingallians GAA club, Dublin, on Saturday last. Weather conditions were far from ideal for pretty football, but despite the very wet conditions both teams put on an exciting game of football.
Wexford went in to this semi final game as underdogs, Armagh were the bookies favourites at the start of this game, but this determined Wexford side cleared out the Orchard, with seven Wexford players getting their names on the score sheet.
Wexford were put under extreme pressure in the first half when they were reduced to thirteen, after two players were sent to the sin bin by referee Richard O’Connor. The first in the fourteenth minute with the second Wexford player leaving the field six minutes later. But such was Wexfords determination, in particular their back line, Armagh could only manage to add three points during that period.
Twelve minutes in to the second half Armagh were also dealt two yellow cards, the first in the twelfth minute when Maria Fitzsimon was directed to the sin bin, six minute later Shannon O’Grady was also sent to the sinbin to keep Fitzsimon company.
Despite going down to thirteen players Wexford dominated the first half, getting off to a dream start with the score board showing Wexford were a goal and two points clear after four minutes, Katie Redmond notching up her first point, followed by a goal and a point from their number ten Aisling Murphy.
Siobhan Feeney opened Armagh’s account, in the ninth minute with a well struck point, but it was quickly cancelled out by Mairead Sheehan, cutting in from the right, Sheehan cleverly fisted over to keep five points between the sides.
Two minute later the dark clouds over Fingallians GAA club, got a lot darker when Wexford’s number seven Majella Byrne made the long lonely walk to the sin bin to serve out her ten minute sentence, four minutes in to her term, Byrne was joined by team mate Ellie Carley, Carley receiving her marching orders in the twentieth minute.
With their backs to the wall, Wexford defended like their lives depended on it, denying Armagh any real goal scoring chances, although Emer McCormick, Siobhan Mackle and Ciara Lennon tagged on a point a piece during this crucial time for the Orchard County, Charlotte McCormacks net was well protected by excellent defending from Brid Doyle, Brid Breen, Shauna Murphy, Kate Caulfield, backed up by Sarah Roche from midfield.
While the Wexford backs were shoring up their defensive wall, their forwards at the other end of the pitch were keeping as much pressure as possible on the Armagh backs, Clara Donnelly, Katie Redmond adding a point each before Byrne and Carley were released from detention.
Armagh will be disappointed they did not capitalise during this period, as they trailed Wexford by four points at the break (1-5 to 0-4).
Within a minute of the restart Armagh’s Ciara Lennon threw down the gauntlet to Wexford, firing her first attempt across McCormacks goal to the back of the net , quickly followed by a point from Haley McCann to draw the sides level 1-5 apiece, and it was game on.
Although it sent a shiver down the backs of the Wexford mentors, Katie Redmond and Kate Caulfield restored order, with a well worked goal and point in the fourth and sixth minute of the second period.
At this stage of the game, it was a bit like being at Wimbledon, (but no Wexford strawberry’s) as both teams worked the ball up and down the field in search of scores. Armagh’s Siobhan Mackle went closest driving her shot low across the Wexford goal, shaving the out side of McCormacks upright, to the relief of the large group of Wexford supporters that had made the trip to the North Dublin venue.
At the end of the third quarter Armagh were starting to get a foothold in the game, with Megan Cinnamond and Siobhan Feeney adding a point apiece to pare Wexfords lead back to two points ( 2-6 to 1-7), seconds later Wexford’s Fiona Bennett put her first mark on the game with a point to put three between the sides.
Although they were reduced to fourteen players at this stage, a goal from Cinnamond levelled the scores for the second time, after she picked up an accurate pass from her number twelve Siobhan Mackle to raise the green flag.
Wexford took note, wasting no time, taking full advantage of Armagh’s predicament, Fiona Bennett registering Wexfords third goal, followed by a goal and two points from Aisling Murphy to open a six point gap (4-9 to 2-9).
While Armagh responded with a point apiece from Cinnamond and Mackle, Wexfords Fiona Bennett and Sonja Murphy had the final say, Bennett went on a solo run before firing the ball across Katie Daly in to the back of the Armagh net, the score board operators final task was to register Sonja Murphy point to bring this semi final game to a successful conclusion for the
Wexford minors.
Wexford have a couple of weeks to prepare for their All Ireland final encounter against Tipperary, the Premier County beat Roscommon 2-7 to 0-10 in their semi final game.
Wexford scorers; Katie Redmond 1-3(1f), Aisling Murphy 2-2, Mairead Sheehan 0-1, Clara Donnelly 0-1, Kate Caulfield 0-1, Fiona Bennett 2-1, Sonja Murphy 0-1.
Armagh Scorers: Siobhan Feeney 0-3(1f), Sarah Henderson 0-2(1f), Ciara Lennon 1-1, Haley McCann 0-2, Megan Cinnamond 1-1, Lauren McConville 0-1, Siobhan Mackle 0-1.
Wexford: Charlotte McCormack (C), Ellie Carley, Brid Doyle, Brid Breen , Kate Caulfield, Shauna Murlhy, Majella Byrne,Kelly Kearney , Sarah Roche, Aisling Murphy, Clara Donnelly, Sonja Murphy, Mairead Sheehan, Katie Redmond, Aoife Tormey. Subs: Fiona Bennett for Mairead Sheehan, Julie Coakley for Ellie Carley.
Armagh; Katie daly, Cailin Duffy, Shannon O’Grady, Orla Boyle, Emer McCormick (C), Frances Quinn, Lauren McConville, Fionnula McKenna, Aisling Hughes, Ciara Lennon, Sarah Henderson, Siobhan Mackle, Haley McCann, Megan Cinnemond, Siobhan Feeney.
Referee: Richard O’Connor (Tipperary).

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