Ladies suffer opening defeat to Wexford

TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Intermediate Football Championship

Wexford 0-11  Roscommon 1-7

Caoimhe Cregg, Roscommon, and Caitriona Murray, Wexford, in action during last Sunday’s Tesco All-Ireland LFGA IFC match at Dr Hyde Park. Pic: Michelle Hughes Walsh

Roscommon will have to go to Monaghan and win if they want to progress in this year’s Ladies’ Intermediate Football Championship following this one-point defeat in Dr Hyde Park on Sunday last.

The home side were in a reasonably good position at half-time when they led by 0-6 to 0-4, but it took them all of 26 minutes to score in the second half and despite a late goal against the run of play, Wexford deserved to win it.

Roscommon lined out without star attacker Aisling Hanly, who is doing her Leaving Cert, and her absence was crucial as Ollie Lennon’s side missed at least two goal chances in the opening half and also a number of frees that the Kilbride star would surely have scored.

On a very warm and humid afternoon, scores were hard to come by in the opening half and the sides shared just four points in the opening 20 minutes. Roscommon missed a couple of goal chances from Aoife Gavin and Aisling Feely but nevertheless they forged ahead in the final ten minutes of the half.

With Rachel Fitzmaurice and Laura Fleming leading from the front, they led by 0-5 to 0-2 by the 25th minute. Chloe Fox was keeping the Wexford girls in touch and by half-time Roscommon led by 0-6 to 0-4.

But it was a different Wexford we saw on the resumption. They dominated possession and were far more direct, and with Ciara Banville, Aisling Murphy, and Chloe Fox all excellen, they set about Roscommon’s lead and they lead by 0-9 to 0-6 by the 48th minute.

But with three minutes to go, and against the run of play, Judy McDermott sent in a long delivery and Aisling Shanagher bundled the ball to the Wexford net to level the scores.

The Slayneysiders responded strongly, and points from Chloe Fox (free) and Aoife Cullen re-established their lead. Laura Fleming’s late pointed free was of consolation only for Roscommon. Wexford also had Bernie Breen and Aisling Murphy yellow carded in injury-time, but they done more than enough to earn their victory.

Speaking at the full-time whistle, Roscommon manager Ollie Lennon agreed that a poor second half display was key to the outcome.

“It took us a long time to get going in the second half. When they got on top we found it hard to get back into it. They made it difficult for us for sure. We got level with a couple of minutes to go but they went down and got a couple of great scores to win it,” he said.

Ollie said a number of missed opportunities, particularly in the first half, were key as was the absence of Aisling Hanly.

“The missed chances were key but these things happen and there is no one to blame really. I have to say we are gutted to have lost but that’s the way it goes,” he said.

“Aisling Hanly would be a loss to any team but we had other girls to go in there today and they gave it everything”.

Next up for Roscommon is a trip to Monaghan for what is now a must win fixture.

“We will see how Monaghan and Wexford get on next week and then we will know what we are up against. But it’s a game that we have to win and that’s what we will focus on now,” Ollie Lennon concluded.