Kate Kelly scored eight points this afternoon to help guide Wexford to victory
Wexford snatched an injury time victory to book a Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie semi-final against champions Cork.
Not for the first time in a remarkable career, Kate Kelly was the hero as she held her composure to convert a free for the winner at Walsh Park, having seconds earlier, chased back deep into her own half to force a turnover as Tipperary strove for a winner.
That was the 36-year-old’s eight point of the day but as joyous as it proved for Wexford, it was a nightmare event for their opponents.
Brian Boyle’s outfit will be thoroughly devastated, as they led by eight points early in the second half having been the dominant outfit.
Even when Úna Leacy struck her eight goal of the campaign, Tipperary looked confident and responded with points from Nicole Walsh and Mairead Teehan to lead by seven.
It would have been all over but for two splendid saves by Mags D’Arcy to deny Teehan and Miriam Campion and those contributions were critical as Tipp failed to score in the last 20 minutes of action – including five injury time – while Wexford drew on all their experience to find another level.
Wexford's Katrina Parrock is tacked by Tipperary's Teresa Ryan. Image: ©INPHO/Ken Sutton
A goal was needed and Emma Walsh cashed in on good work by Shelley Kehoe and Leacy to provide it in the 53rd minute.
That made it a two-point game and after Kelly slotted another free, Katrina Parrock pulled first time on a hopping ball to bring the sides level, leaving it to Kelly to put the exclamation mark on a dramatic comeback.
It had looked so good for Tipperary for three-quarters of the game as Nicole Walsh, Orla O’Dwyer and Róisín Howard all had early points, though Wexford kept in touch by virtue of scores from Kelly and Leacy.
The sides were level on 0-4 each mid-way through the opening half but Tipperary’s young forwards started to really make an impact. Megan Ryan fired three points and Walsh took full advantage from placed ball opportunities to make it 0-10 to 0-5 at the change of ends.
O’Dwyer slotted the opening two points of the second half and Teehan followed up to open that eight-point margin but those thinking we were in for a massive shock did not account for the remarkable will of the Model County women, while the enormity of white might be about to occur may have gotten to a very youthful Tipperary unit.
In the end, they left it late but with the goals from Leacy and Walsh, D’Arcy’s vital stops and Kelly’s measured free-taking and industry in general play, it was Wexford who prevailed.
Words: Daragh Ó Conchúir