By Kevin Egan in Birr
Wexford 3-10 Meath 1-12: Hat-trick star Catriona Murray bagged 3-5 as Wexford stormed to Lidl Ladies National Football League Division 3 glory on Monday.
The Clonee attacker posted an individual tally of 3-5, powering her team to silverware at St Brendan's Park in Birr.
Wexford suffered final heartbreak against Tipperary after a replay last year but Murray’s nose for goal proved the difference between the Slaneysiders and the gallant Royals.
In a game where there was little to call between two sides that scored 13 times each, player of the match Murray was electrifying in her movement with every possession, while her third goal of the contest after 54 minutes completely changed the momentum of a contest that looked as if it might be starting to go Meath’s way.
For the first three quarters of the game, Meath were the dominant side in the battle for primary possession, and their slick movement and direct running created the better quality chances in the first half.
However.an injury to Vikki Wall meant that their talismanic forward from Dunboyne wasn’t fit to start the game, and it was only for a six minute spell midway through the period in which they scored four points without reply that it looked like they were capable of breaking open a resolute Wexford full back line.
That run of scores left them 0-6 to 0-4 in front but a quick 1-1 from Murray gave Wexford the half time lead, and Anthony Masterson’s side pushed on after half time, moving seven points clear by the 45th minute.
Murray added a second goal while Niamh Butler, Clara Donnelly and former Kerry skipper Bernie Breen were all on the scoresheet from deep positions, with Aisling Murphy pulling the strings from full forward.
An inch-perfect penalty from Stacey Grimes reduced the gap as the game entered the closing stages with Meath piling on the pressure, but another stunning solo strike settled the tie in Wexford’s favour.
Scorers for Wexford: C Murray 3-5 (0-3f), B Breen 0-2, F Rochford, C Donnelly, N Butler 0-1 each.
Scorers for Meath: S Grimes 1-3 (0-1f), N Gallogly & N Wall 0-2 each, F O’Neill, N O’Sullivan, K Byrne, A Cleary & M Farrelly 0-1 each.
Wexford: MR Kelly; S Murphy, M Byrne, S Harding-Kenny; N Butler, N Mernagh, N Moore; R Murphy, B Breen; C Donnelly, F Rochford, K Kearney; C Foxe, A Murphy, C Murray.
Subs: R Bennett for Rochford (53), E O’Brien for Butler (58), A Sheil for Murphy (60), G Hearne for Moore (60)
Meath: M McGuirk; K Newe, M Peel, S Powderly; N Gallogly, S Ennis, E Troy; M O’Shaughnessy, K Byrne; A Cleary, N O’Sullivan, M Thynne; S Grimes, F O’Neill, M Farrelly.
Subs: V Wall for Shaughnessy (37), O Lally for Peel (46), E White for Byrne (52)
Referee: Maggie Farrelly (Cavan)