Pat’s through as Newtown see red
but he limped off shortly afterwards with an ankle injury. A severe blow to Newtown’s chances.
Ross Odlum now shouldered the responsibility in place of his injured brother Dean. Gary Duffy was lording it at midfield for St. Patrick’s but their defence was inclined to wobble under pressure, allowing John Heffernan to finish to the net from a cross-goal ball from Garrett Doyle in injury time.
Throughout the first half, however, the Wicklow town side always had the reserves in the tank to strike back after every Newtown score. Just before half time John Slattery drilled home the winners third goal, leaving St. Patrick’s comfortably ahead by 3-7 to 1-4.
Newtown should have been well and truly dead and buried five minutes into the new half following another Paul Éarls goal to stretch St. Patrick’s lead to what looked an unassailable 12 point margin (4-8-to 1-5).
To their credit Newtown refused to surrender. Instead they got the bit between the teeth to stage a determined fight-back. Ross Odlum was at the heart of the comeback with some fine points from frees and a goal in the 42 minute from a long-ball out of defence from Justin Owens.
The margin between the sides was down to nine points at the end of the third quarter. Stephen Duffy pointed for St. Patrick’s from a free but Newtown kept driving forward. John Heffernan popped over two more points and Garrett Doyle finished to the net on 50 minutes. The margin was now down to five points (3-9 to 4-11) and Newtown began to dream the impossible dream.
Then it all went horribly wrong for the magpies. In the space of six minutes, their dream turned into a nightmare as they had four players sent off, three on straight red cards.
Their fightback was over and St. Patrick’s seized the initiative once more; finishing with a third goal from Paul Earls – he cheekily chipped the keeper from the right – to run out decisive winners in the end.
Paul Earls (3-3), Dara O’Sullivan (1-1), John Slattery (1-3), Stephen Duffy (0-3), Shane Morley, Gary Duffy and Andy Jameson (0-1 each). 1. Robert Hollingsworth 2. Pádraig Higgins 3. Ronan Connolly 4. Brian Cornyn 5. Shane Morley 6. Paudge McWalter 7. Ciaran Doyle 8. Gary Duffy 9. Richard Murphy 10. David Smullen 11. Stephen Duffy 12 Andy Jameson 13. Dara O’Sullivan 14. Paul Earls 15. John Slattery SUBS: Chris Kavanagh for A. Jameson, Thomas Kelly for D. O’Sullivan, Wayne Farrell for S. Morley, Mark Conway for P Earls.
Newtown's John Tierney tries to halt the progress of Dara O'Sullivan of St. Patrick’s.