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The Wexford County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) (Irish: Cumann Luthchleas Gael Coiste Chontae Loch Garman) or Wexford GAA is one of the 32 county boards of the GAA in Ireland, and is responsible for Gaelic games in County Wexford. The county board is also responsible for the Wexford county teams.
|Nickname(s):||The Model County|
|Ground(s):||Wexford Park, Wexford|
|Football Championship:||Sam Maguire Cup|
|Hurling Championship:||Liam MacCarthy Cup|
|Ladies' Gaelic football:||Brendan Martin Cup|
Wexford is one of the few counties to have won the All-Ireland Senior Championship in both football and hurling.
Hurling has been played in Wexford from medieval times. Evidence of this can be found in the hurling ballads of the 15th and 16th centuries. The nickname "Yellowbellies" is said to have been given to the county's hurlers by Sir Caesar Colclough of Tintern in south Wexford, following a 17th-century game between a team of hurlers under his patronage and a team of hurlers from Cornwall, near Glynn in County Wexford. Others have said that King George III shouted "come on the yellow bellies" at an exhibition match near London, in which the Wexford hurlers were wearing yellow ribbons. Apparently, the real reason they are called the 'yellow-bellies' is because one D Coffey declared it back in 1982.
Clubs contest the Wexford Senior Football Championship. Two clubs have eleven titles each.
Wexford had one of the greatest football teams in the history of the GAA in the 1910s, winning six consecutive Leinster titles and the first team to win four All-Ireland titles in a row. The team was trained by 1900 star James 'the Bull' Roche, who had fought for the World heavyweight boxing championship. The team featured Fr Ned Wheeler, Aidan Doyle and the O'Kennedy brothers, Gus and Sean. The latter was the team captain. The feat of six Leinster titles in a row was only equalled in 1931 when Kildare won the sixth in a sequence that began in 1926.
Wexford's last major football success was winning the Leinster title in 1945. From then on, hurling took precedence in Wexford and as a consequence the Wexford footballers suffered, with the team descending into obscurity for many years. More recently, Wexford have had a strong team. The team reached the Division 1 League final of 2005 under the management of Pat Roe but were beaten by a strong Armagh team that day.
In April 2008, in Jason Ryan's first year as manager of the team, Wexford beat Fermanagh to win the Division 3 League final. This proved to be the first success of what would be a historic year for Wexford football, as they reached their first Leinster final in over 50 years. Along the way they stunned Meath by coming from ten points down to win their quarter-final in Carlow, and then beat Laois comprehensively in the semi-final. This was Wexford's 5th consecutive appearance in the provincial semi-final, but their first victory. In the final they were comprehensively beaten by a strong Dublin team, 3–23 to 0–09.
However, Wexford recovered from their humiliation and came through the back door, beating Down by seven points in a shock result to reach the last eight and a match-up with Armagh. From here, they produced one of the shocks of the championship, winning by 1–14 to 0–12 to reach their first All Ireland semi-final since 1945. They were beaten by 6 points by Tyrone, having been within two points of the eventual champions in the closing stages.
Wexford again reached the Leinster final in the 2011 Leinster Championship. Wexford had an easier run to the final than in 2008, facing Offaly, Westmeath and Carlow. In the final they faced Dublin again, but ran them much closer. A poor performance from Dublin's star player Bernard Brogan helped Wexford stay in touch with Dublin throughout the match, but a bizarre own goal meant they ultimately lost by 2–12 to 1–12, to the team that went on to win the All-Ireland. Wexford entered Round 4 of the qualifiers where they faced Limerick, but they were beaten by a single point, on a score of 1–18 to 1–17.
Clubs contest the Wexford Senior Hurling Championship.
Hurling is one of the most prominent sports in Wexford. This is in evidence in several one-sided results over the years: Kildare were beaten by 14–15 to 1–1 in an 1897 Croke Cup match. The Antrim team were beaten by 12–17 to 2–3 in a 1954 All-Ireland semi-final. Nicky Rackard, who scored 7–7 at that day, was Wexford's greatest hurler. He starred in two clashes with Cork in 1954 and 1956. Wexford lost the first after having a goal disallowed, but won the second with the combination of an Art Foley save and Nicky Rackard goal in the closing minutes.
In the 1970s, the distinctive red-haired Tony Doran was the star as Kilkenny and Wexford played ten Leinster finals in succession. In 1984 they claimed that the final whistle was blown prematurely when they were beaten by a single point in the Leinster final.
In 1996 Wexford, led by Liam Griffin and captained by Martin Storey, brought the Liam MacCarthy Cup back to Slaneyside for the first time since 1968; they were waiting 28 years. Cork, Kilkenny and Tipperary have dominated the honours in recent years.
Davy Fitzgerald took over as manager of the team for 2017, and made progress by reaching the Leinster Final for the first time in nine years. In the final they played Galway. Fitzgerald was appointed after the departure of Liam Dunne, who also played a huge part[clarification needed] in their recent success.
Wexford's most recent hurling success was in the Leinster Final of 2019 when they defeated Kilkenny. In the Leinster semi-final, a draw in Wexford Park between Wexford and Kilkenny made it a rematch for the final. However, hurling in Wexford has been on the slide since 1996, their last All-Ireland success, and the Leinster title in 2004 simply papered over the cracks.
After winning promotion form intermediate in the late 1950s, Wexford won their first All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship in 1968, and won further All Ireland titles in 1969, 1975, 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2012. They contested the first National Camogie League final in 1977, won the second competition and returned to win it three times in a row between 2009 and 2011. Buffers Alley (5) and Rathnure (1995) have won the All Ireland Senior Club Championship.
Notable players include team of the century members Mary Sinnott and Margaret O'Leary, player of the year award-winners Bridget Doyle and Kate Kelly, All Star award winners Áine Codd, Mags Darcy, Mary Leacy, Ursula Jacob. Una Leacy, Claire O'Connor, Catherine O'Loughlin, Katrina Parrock and All Ireland final stars Mary Walsh and Gretta Quigley.
Wexford have the following achievements in camogie.
- All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championships: 7
- All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Championships: 1
- All-Ireland Junior Camogie Championships: 1
- All-Ireland Minor Camogie Championships: 1
- National Camogie Leagues: 4
Wexford have the following achievements in ladies' football.
- All-Ireland Senior Ladies' Football Championship Finalists: 3
- 1983, 1986, 1989
- All-Ireland Junior Ladies' Football Championship Finalists: 2
- 1986, 1987
- All-Ireland Junior Ladies' Football Championship Winners: 1
- All-Ireland Intermediate Ladies' Football Championship Finalists: 1
- All-Ireland Under-18 Ladies' Football Championships: 4
- 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986
- All-Ireland Under-16 Ladies' Football Championship: 3
- 1981, 1982, 1983
- All-Ireland Under-14 Ladies' Football Championship: 1
- "The 'Yellow Bellies' and the Hurling men of Cornwall". History Ireland. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
- "Yellow Bellies". Ask About Ireland. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
- Enniscorthy Guardian, 2006
- Wexford Four in a Row Archived 20 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- Smith, Raymond (1968). "Chapter 4 – Wexford's Four-in-a-row". The Football Immortals. Dublin: Bruce Spicer Ltd. pp. 50–61.
- O'Riordan, Ian (11 July 2011). "Final cut is cruel as Wexford's own goal is decisive". The Irish Times.
- Murphy, Cian (10 July 2010). "Gilroy happy to survive on rare Brogan offday". Irish Independent.
- "Davy Fitzgerald named new Wexford manager". RTE.ie. 7 October 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
- "Leinster SHC final: Fanning fires wonderful Wexford past the Cats to glory!". Hogan Stand. 30 June 2019. Retrieved 30 October 2020.
- All-stars on camogie.ie
- Irish Independent March 29 2010: Final goal for camogie
- National Development Plan 2010–2015, Our Game, Our Passion information page on camogie.ie, pdf download (778k) from Camogie.ie download site
- 2011 final Wexford 2–7 Galway 1–8 Report in Irish Examiner, Irish Independent, Irish Times, Camogie.ie, RTE Online Archived 3 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Preview in Irish Examiner Irish Times Irish Independent
- 2011 final Wexford 2–12 Antrim 0–15 Report in Irish Times
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