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Wexford captained by Marguerite Doyle got their Bord Gais Energy National football league campaign off to a dream start with a convincing win over Westmeath on Sunday last in Killineirin. Wexford manager Jim McGovern had the Wexford girls fully charged for this encounter, and they did not disappoint on the day, with eight of the twenty five players used, getting onto the score sheet.
Wexford's number one, Mary Rose Kelly was in top form, pulling off a number of excellent saves in the first half to keep Westmeath's score for the half to just three points. The experienced Leona Tector wearing the number three shirt was also on top of her game, the Shelmaliers club player pulling the strings in the Wexford back line through out the game.
Both sides were well matched, in a low scoring first half, with just a goal separating the sides at the break (1-3 to 0-3) in favour of the home side, the goal coming in the twenty fourth minute from the boot of Catherine Doyle, after good work from Maeve Hughes, Hughes found Doyle with an accurate pass and the Wexford number thirteen proved to be unlucky for the Lake County when the pacy forward found the back of Gemma Leahy's goal, to put the Model County in the driving seat going into the break (1-3 to 0-3).
Westmeath's Fiona Leahy closed the gap to two points (1-3 to 0-4) with the first point of the second half, however that was to be their last score until the fifty seventh minute when Aileen Leahy caught the Wexford net minder off her line to register Westmeath's only goal of the game.
Wexford dominated the second half, with slick off the ball movement, and they seemed to have more in the tank as the game progressed. Catherine Doyle raising the green flag for the second time in Wexford's favour in the thirty third minute, after Maeve Hughes's shot was saved by the Westmeath keeper, however Hughes's rocket like shot proved to hot to handle, and Doyle was quickest to react to open a five point gap (2-3 to 0-4). Wexford continued to press in the third quarter with Fiona Rochford adding a goal and a point and Deirdre Fox tapping over to put the game out of reach (3-5 to 0-4).
Wexfords Bridget Curran came off the bench to fire over an excellent long range point to open an eleven point gap as the game moved into the final quarter.
The home side added a further five points, two courtesy of Fiona Rochford, and one apiece from Lizzie Kent, Emma Hore , with Aoife Tormey closing the Wexford account.
Although Westmeath had a mountain to climb they continued to look for openings in the Wexford defence, and when the opportunity presented itself, Westmeath's number nineteen Aileen Leahy took full advantage, tipping the ball over Mary Rose Kelly to add a goal to the score board, but for Westmeath it was too little too late with Wexford bagging all three points on this occasion.
Wexford will be back in action on Sunday next (14th February) and there will be no love lost when they travel across the Wexford border to take on neighbours Waterford in their second round game of the Bord Gais Energy National football league. Twelve months ago it was the Deise county that were the victors on a score line of 3-9 to 3-6. So the stage is set for another exciting encounter on Sunday next.
While Westmeath play host to Wicklow on Sunday next, Wicklow were over powered on Sunday last by a strong Waterford side.
Wexford: Mary Rose Kelly, Stephanie Foley, Leona Tector, Marguerite Doyle (Capt), Roisin Murphy, Caitriona McCabe, Linda Casey, Marcella Cullen (0-1), Aoife Waters, Sandra Sharpe, Fiona Rochford (1-3), Sharon Kehoe, Catherine Doyle (2-1), Maeve Hughes, Lizzie Kent (0-1) Subs: Jane Mythen for Linda Casey, Bridget Curran (0-2) for Maeve Hughes, Tara Moloney for Sandra Sharpe, Deirdre Fox (0-1) for Marcella Cullen, Kim Moloney for Roisin Murphy, Emma Hore for Sharon Kehoe, Maeve Quill for Stephanie Foley, Aoife Tormey (0-1) for Lizzie Kent, Aileen Power for Fiona Rochford, Aisling Mullen.
Westmeath; Gemma Leahy, Aoife Brady, Deirdre Robbins, Carol Finch (Capt), Aileen Martin, Fiona Clafferty (0-1), Karen McDermott, Fiona Leavey, Aoife O'Brien, Laura Newman, Laura Walsh (0-1), Mairead McCormack, Niamh Farrell, Eimear Connellan (0-1), Maud Ann Foley (0-1). Subs: Jill Draper for Karen McDermott, Sinead Boyce for Laura Newman, Sarah Dolan for Mairead McCormack, Kelly Boyce for Niamh Farrell, Aileen Leavey (1-0) for Eimear Connellan.
Referee: Pat Keogh (Carlow)

Michael Forde, Leinster PRO, 0876422658.

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