Dublin 1-16 Wexford 0-12
There’s a phrase Brian Cody uses to pay tribute to his Kilkenny team – one I’ve no doubt David Herity has heard many times. “Savage spirit” is what he calls it and in famous Semple Stadium on Saturday 5 August, the Dublin camogie team delivered a performance that merits that accolade.
27 years of disappointment were banished on a day when the team became the first Dublin senior side to reach an All-Ireland semi final since the game went to 15 aside in 1999.
Nobody outside those who follow the team through thick and thin gave them a chance. The bookies had them at 6/1 to win and at least one Dublin follower made a nice killing at those odds.
It was a day when Dublin fired home 1-11 from play and didn’t concede a goal. It was a day when from Nos 1-15 plus the three subs all contributed on the field and the rest of the panel were in full voice from the throw-in. It was a day to remember.
Wexford got off to a flyer and had three points in as many minutes from Chloe Foxe and the Kehoe sisters. The Slayneysiders won the toss but strangely choose to play into the breeze. Given the distances Faye McCarthy gets from puckouts and frees it was a strange decision to concede that early wind-assisted advantage.
It took Dublin 7-8 minutes to get off the mark and it was a splendid free from Aisling Maher on the 20m mark almost on the sideline. It was the boost the team needed and they went on an 8 points scoring spree – 7 from play.
Aisling Maher had totted up 1-15 so far in the championship and the wide open spaces of Semple Stadium brought out the best in her form. She had an outstanding game. But the performances started at No. 1 and uniquely Faye McCarthy shares joint top spot also on 1-15. Her first trip out the field came in the 9 th minute when she bombed a 100m free to the edge of the Wexford box where Aisling Maher claimed possession and threw a great score over her shoulder.
Another Aisling also had a telling impact on the game – Aisling Carolan was immense at centre back. From one of her clearances Siobhan Kehoe worked the ball into space and slotted over the equaliser.
Wexford’s game plan coming into the match involved short puck-outs to the full back line. By the 15 th minute mark that tactic had been abandoned as the Dublin full-forward line pushed up and contested fiercely. One of the scores of the game came in the 16 th minute when Hannah Hegarty picked a loose ball and drove upfield and from 60m landed the lead point. It was a confidence boosting score and immediately brought a response from Ali Twomey who placed Aisling Maher for a great point.
Stacey Kehoe responded for Wexford but it was to be their last score of the half. The Dublin half-back line of Hannah Hegarty, Aisling Carolan and the tenacious Eva-Marie Elliott were letting little past and from another clearance, indecision in the Wexford goals led to ever aware Ellen McGovern pointing in the 19 th minute.
Wexford were hit by the loss of corner back Karen Atkinson through injury and 4 minutes of added time would ensue. Before that Dublin’s appetite for scores was unabated and Eimear McCarthy was rewarded with a mighty point in the 25 th minute. Emma Flanagan might not have got on the scoresheet but she put in a very fine 60 minutes and it was her block that set up the McCarthy score. Alison Maguire didn’t have the best of luck with the run of the ball but ensured that Wexford star Mary Leacy exerted little influence in that half.
Each score brought great roars from the Dublin faithful but with the breeze at their backs they needed more on the board. As the time ticked into the added minutes Aisling Maher added another free before Eimear McCarthy split the posts for her second point. It was an important score coming just after a missed Wexford free. Gráinne Quinn launched a huge clearance and Siobhan Kehoe did well to earn a free to take the margin to 0-9 to 0-4.
Dublin needed to take at least that much to the dressing room but Wexford seemed to have given themselves a lifeline when Una Leacy hit the deck from a great pass by Stacey Kehoe. It looked a penalty at the time but on reviewing the incident on the mobile phone (great gadgets!) – it had more the appearance of a fall than a push. The long delay as Una received treatment didn’t help the penalty taker Sarah O’Connor and when she did release her shot Faye McCarthy saved brilliantly and cleared the danger. And had to do it again a minute later. No wonder she was Player of the Match.
Half-time Dublin 0-9 Wexford 0-5.
The lead wasn’t significant but the manner in which Dublin were playing gave cause for optimism. Nobody was getting skinned and Dublin were playing confidently – maybe a carryover from the League win in Wexford Park earlier in the season? Dublin had only one wide in the opening half and would finish on just three.
As in the first half, Aisling Maher was handed a difficult free 30 seconds after the restart. But she nailed it with aplomb.
Wexford knew they had to react and quickly.
But all could have changed utterly in the next move when Wexford cut through the Dublin defence. A goal beckoned from Joanne Dillon but a brilliant tackle by Eve O’Brien took the sting out of the effort and Faye McCarthy made a great save. Back came Wexford and from the 45 Chloe Foxe pointed expertly. The same player nailed a great point immediately after for Wexford. Dublin threw the weakish start aside and in the next 14 minutes picked off four points into the breeze. The first from a delivery from Claire Donnelly and Aisling Maher showed great composure to point.
Gráinne Quinn defended well and Áine Woods cleared long. The pressure on the Wexford defence led to possession being regained and Ali Twomey took her first point of the day. Chloe Foxe is a rising Wexford star and she was back again with a pointed free to reduced the gap to 0-12 to 0-7.
Dublin responded with a mighty point from an 85m free from Faye McCarthy. Strangely Wexford’s free-taker Chloe Foxe was removed from play and from her first touch substitute Linda Bolger was handed a free which she missed.
The error was punished four minutes later when Aisling Maher pushed Dublin 7 clear. As the game entered the fourth quarter Dublin hopes were soaring. But such is the game of camogie – changes can happen in minutes. In a blistering two minutes spell Wexford hit four unaswered points from Linda Bolger, two from Shelly Kehoe and a fantastic long-range free from Sarah O’Connor. Some of the scores coming from an uncharacteristic bit of slackness at the Dublin end of the field.
With 13 minutes of normal time, the flow of the game was definitely going in Wexford’s direction.
The entire full-back line of Gráinne Quinn, Eve O’Brien and Áine Woods were each called into action inside a minute. With her first touch Mairi Moynihan played the ball into the corner. Emma Flanagan and Siobhan Kehoe did enough to keep it there and force a throw-in from which “Shivers” won possession and launched a Hail Mary to the Wexford goals. Unfortunately for the keeper she failed to hold the ball and Ali Twomey gratefully finished it to the net. It was the match winning score.
Dublin had recovered control and ever-busy Miriam Twomey stood in the way and won a free from which the rejuvenated Ali Twomey claimed possession to shoot a great confidence score. Miriam was at the centre of play again for the next minute and from a ruck Siobhan Kehoe was decked earning the opportunity for Faye McCarthy to raise another white flag.
Eimear O’Leary came on to make her senior debut and Dublin were home and hosed despite the three minutes of added time.
- Maher 0-7, A. Twomey 1-2, H. Hegarty 0-1, S. Kehoe 0-1, E. McGovern 0-1, E. McCarthy 0-2, F. McCarthy 0-2
- Foxe 0-4, Shelley Kehoe 0-3, Stacey Kehoe 0-2, L. Bolger 0-1, S. O’Connor 0-1, Ú. Leacy 0-1
Referee Cathal Egan