Wexford 3-13 Cork 3-06
For the second time in 12 months, Ursula Jacob exploded into the most important camogie game of the year and decided the outcome with a most telling contribution.
Last year’s 1-2 in the final 10 minutes was special from the skipper, but yesterday’s intervention was even better.
Her two goals were magnificent, the second scintillating and coming at the end of a two-minute spell that also included Katrina Mackey’s goal, it was the key exchange of a game watched by 15,900 people.
The Oulart-The Ballagh sharpshooter, whose father Mick was Wexford hurling’s first All Star, and brothers Michael and Rory have served the county for many years, was glowing afterwards.
It was the joy of a team success that gave her joy though, as the Model County girls claimed their first ever senior three-in-a-row.
“I think it’s getting better every year because you just want it so much and every team is just pushing really hard,” Jacob explained. “I think the challenge is there and you’re wanting to get better and better. I don’t think you take it for granted, getting to All-Irelands. We really want to win them. That’s the thing with this group of girls — we want to win so much. I think we showed that today.”
Jacob plundered 2-7 yesterday and her goals ultimately blew this game open. They book-ended a crazy two-minute spell.
The first came in the 46th minute, when Michelle O’Leary’s dipping shot was batted into the air by Cork goalkeeper, Aoife Murray. Jacob reacted quickest to deftly flick the sliotar to the net.
Within 40 seconds, Mackey had responded in kind at the other end, rocketing a shot beyond Mags D’Arcy after showing fantastic pace.
The score of the game was to follow quickly though, as the ball broke on the 13m line and to the right of the posts.
Sensing that she had no time to pick it up, Jacob pulled off the sod, arrowing a shot back into the far corner that Murray had no chance of stopping, despite diving full-length.
That exchange left five points between the sides and Jacob landed two more points — one a sensational effort from tight on the right sideline — to cement the verdict.
Cork more than contributed to what must surely be considered one of the greatest All-Ireland senior finals of the modern era.
They struggled early on, though, with Katrina Parrock doing most of the damage. The full-forward finished brilliantly for a 14th-minute goal and also flashed over two points as the Yellowbellies stormed six points clear.
Joanne O’Callaghan was yellow-carded in the 26th minute for a foul on Parrock that led to another point from Jacob, and it was at that juncture that Rena Buckley was belatedly switched onto the St Ibar’s player.
Briege Corkery had been the chief threat of a misfiring Cork attack with her strong running and Cork were given a lifeline though when Catherine O’Loughlin hauled her down in the square. Murray came forward to clinically dispatch the penalty to the net.
The Rebels finished the half strongly and a Síle Burns goal, allied to points from Orla Cotter and Jenny O’Leary, had the teams level at the interval, 1-7 to 2-4.
“We should have been ahead at half-time with the way we played in the first 20 minutes,” Wexford manager, JJ Doyle said. “But Cork played very well in those last 15 minutes coming up to half-time. They were on fire. They clawed it back where lesser teams might not have done that against a team that had won two All-Irelands. They drove on and drove on. We had a belief but we knew we had to go out and do it in the second half. I’m just so happy that’s what we did.”
Wexford settled after the resumption and though D’Arcy made one excellent save from Corkery, they were two points clear at the end of the third quarter. Then came Jacob’s heroics and there was no return for Cork.
Scorers for Wexford: U Jacob 2-7 (0-4fs, 0-2 45s); K Parrock 1-2; F Rochford, K Kelly 0-2 each.
Scorers for Cork: J O’Leary 0-4 (3fs, 1 45); A Murray (pen), S Burns, K Mackey 1-0 each; O Cotter, B Corkery 0-1 each.
Sub for Wexford: F Kavanagh for Bolger (47).
Subs for Cork: K Buckley for Burns (56); R Curtin for Casey (56).
Referee: A Lagrue (Kildare).
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