Hot-shot Aisling leads the way as Wexford overpower Roscommon
TG4 All-Ireland Ladies IFC semi-final: Wexford 6-11 Roscommon 1-9
Disappointed Roscommon manager Ollie Lennon was looking to the positives after a slick, well drilled and very athletic Wexford side crushed his team’s All-Ireland dreams on Sunday.
“From the very start Wexford brought their ‘A’ game today and we struggled to live with them” Lennon told the Roscommon People moments after his team finished on the wrong side of a 6-11 to 1-9 scoreline.
“Maybe in the first 15 minutes we stayed with them and they were only a couple of points ahead, but once the lead went out to nine points by half-time it was always going to be a struggle”.
Lennon agreed that Wexford’s attack, led by Aisling Murphy, was lethal on the day. “They produced a very similar performance against Tyrone (in the quarter-final). We knew that they had quality all over the pitch and they showed that today”.
The Roscommon manager said that his players would be very disappointed. “I think the manner of this defeat will make them even more disappointed, but look, we have no complaints. The players have Division Two football to look forward to next year and it has been a good year overall”.
Roscommon’s dreams of an All-Ireland final appearance in Croke Park on the last Sunday in July were well and truly shattered by Wexford in a semi-final which was played in sweltering weather conditions in Crettyard, Co. Laois.
There was brief hope for Ollie Lennon’s team when Fiona Tully crashed home a great goal in the 8th minute, especially when a point two minutes later from Roscommon’s best player, Niamh Feeney, reduced the gap to two. That, however, was as good as it got for Roscommon as Wexford were simply faster, more skilled and quite lethal in front of goal.
The chief Wexford ace was full-forward Aisling Murphy, who is a tremendous footballer. Roscommon simply couldn’t handle her all through. She scored four goals and two points and was involved in almost all of Wexford’s scores.
After 90 seconds Murphy drilled home her first goal after a superb pass from Bernie Breen. By the 7th minute, Wexford led by 1-4 to 0-1. That great goal from Fiona Tully did give Roscommon some hope, but The Model County ladies resumed their relentless attacking play and the goals began to flow.
In the 17th minute Catriona Murray converted a penalty after a foul on Kellie Keaveney. With two minutes to the half-time break Aisling Murphy finished a brilliant Wexford move for goal number three, and in injury-time she completed her hat-trick with another super finish. The half-time score was Wexford 4-5 Roscommon 1-5.
There was a big injury blow for Roscommon at half-time. Lisa O’Rourke, who had received a leg injury during the week, was unable to return to the action, and was replaced by Ellen Irwin.
Wexford continued to dominate. Murphy slotted home her side’s fifth goal in the 43rd minute – a classy finish – Wexford now out of sight. While the policy was now to hold on to possession and run down the clock, they still pounced for a sixth goal on 59 minutes, courtesy of corner-back Shauna Murphy.
Niamh Feeney was by far Roscommon’s best player. Unfortunately, very few of the other Roscommon players won their individual battles around the field. Aisling Hanly kicked some good frees and there were flashes of good play from Laura Fleming and Roisin Wynne on what was a difficult day for Roscommon. Now preparations will begin for a Division 2 league campaign and another crack at the championship in 2023.
*There were some confusing refereeing decisions from Gavin Finnegan, including questionable yellow cards.