Gar­den County fail to re­cover from Car­low’s light­ning start

Bray People - - SPORT - MARK KENNEDY At Car­low IT

WICK­LOW'S U-21 foot­ballers turned up at Car­low IT grounds last Wed­nes­day in body but not in spirit as they did battle with the home county in the Le­in­ster cham­pi­onship.

Their thoughts were else­where, their minds not fo­cussed on the task be­fore them, and they never re­ally got to grips with the game or their op­po­nents in this match.

Wick­low's de­fence had a night­mare start to the game, Car­low floored them with two sucker goals in the first ten min­utes, and Tim Healy's team never re­cov­ered re­ally from those killer blows.

Tim Healy and his back­room team had been putting the play­ers through their paces since last Oc­to­ber in prepa­ra­tion for this cham­pi­onship but it would seem that on Wed­nes­day night they left all they had learned back on the train­ing ground.

It was Car­low who oozed qual­ity foot­ball all over the field, their play­ers played with the pas­sion, the hunger and de­ter­mi­na­tion that we wanted to see from Wick­low but never got apart from a few tiny vi­gnettes.

The home side were a man down af­ter 15 min­utes with the red-card­ing of Car­low's num­ber 10, Murtagh Ware, but it brought lit­tle com­fort or no tan­gi­ble im­prove­ment to the visi­tor's for­tunes.

Wick­low got no value from hav­ing the ex­tra man who stood be­side his full-back for most of the time in­stead of be­ing de­ployed fur­ther afield to try and choke off the sup­ply of ball be­ing gen­er­ated by Car­low's ram­pant mid­field­ers Hughie Ga­han and Dar­ragh Fo­ley, who iron­i­cally is fu­elled by Wick­low and Rath­dan­gan blood in his veins.

The game was scarcely a minute old when the Gar­den County men found them­selves reel­ing from the might of their op­po­nent's su­pe­rior at­tack­ing forces.

Hughie Ga­han's punched ef­fort struck the cross­bar, rolled across the bar to the right-side where Ed­ward Byrne ap­plied the clin­i­cal fin­ish in­stead as he blasted to the net.

Dean Siney opened for Wick­low two min­utes later with a point, but that was met with two swift counter-punches from Car­low as David Keogh and manof-the match mid­fielder Dar­ragh Keogh sent shots over, with Fo­ley's a fine ef­fort from a 50-me­tre free.

Bray's Paul McLough­lin made a good run into en­emy ter­ri­tory to set up Siney for a free and a one pointer and then the Bray man lofted over the bar him­self from a dif­fi­cult an­gle with his left foot.

Wick­low had cut the mar­gin to 0-3 to 1-2 af­ter ten min­utes, but just as we thought and hoped that Wick­low might be set­tling into the game, we were hit with the sec­ond sucker-punch from Car­low. Again it was cor­ner-for­ward Ed­die O'Byrne who landed us back on the ropes as he again drilled to the net fol­low­ing a great field from Fo­ley.

In some tur­moil in de­fence, par­tic­u­lar the in­side line, Wick­low were for­tu­nate not to con­cede two more goals in the next three min­utes. First goalie Wil­liam Hen­der Phillips had to fin­ger-tip around the post for a '45' with a full-length div­ing save, and mo­ments later Car­low's wing-for­ward Eoin Ruth saw his ef­fort strike the cross­bar.

Car­low had Murtagh Ware, a name with a great Car­low foot­ball pedigree, sent off, but the flow of play re­mained the same, with David Keogh and Dar­ragh Fo­ley tack­ing on two more points to ex­tend the win­ners lead 2-5 to 0-3.

Tim Healy de­cided it was time to pay a visit to the re­pair shop. Conor McGraynor was sprung from the bench and mid­fielder Paul McLough­lin was drafted to full-back. At least Wick­low leaked no more goals af­ter that.

Cen­tre-for­ward Paul Cun­ning­ham, one of only two Wick­low for­wards to score in this match, grabbed a point on 22 min­utes and then saw his grass scorch­ing shot, aimed for the right cor­ner of Barry Doyle's net, curl out­side the far post at the last mo­ment.

Wick­low badly needed the lift a goal would give them if they were to get back into con­tention.

Cun­ning­ham who was im­press­ing, scored a sec­ond point off his left foot and Wick­low re­tired trail­ing 0-5 to 2-7 at the break.

Car­low started the sec­ond half just as they had dom­i­nated the first pe­riod. In the first ten min­utes they stretched their lead to 2-10 to 0-5 with points from cen­tre-for­ward Cor­mac Wal­she and David Keogh who added a brace. The home team were mak­ing light of the fact that they had a man less.

Wick­low did have their most fruit­ful pe­riod in the last 20 min­utes, but by that stage Car­low were start­ing to empty their bench.

Eire Og's Jack Tan­ner, who lined out at cor­ner­back, came for­ward to land a point, but it was Dean Siney who now posed the big­gest threat to Car­low as he scored five points, four from frees, and mid­fielder Mark Kenny grabbed the re­main­ing score.

Had we not con­ceded those two early goals, there would have been just two points be­tween the teams com­ing into the fi­nal straight, but such a sce­nario would have been an in­jus­tice to the su­pe­rior foot­ball skills dis­played by Car­low through­out the field.

For our part, we in Wick­low will have to go back to the draw­ing board and see where we are go­ing wrong with our train­ing and prepa­ra­tions at this level.

We find it hard to ac­cept that we are not able to pro­duce foot­ballers on a par with our neigh­bours or any other county in the prov­ince for that mat­ter.

Car­low scor­ers: Ed­die Byrne (2-0), Dar­ragh Fo­ley (0-3, two frees), David Keogh (0-6), Eoin Ruth (0-2), Hugh Ga­han (0-1), Cor­mac Wal­she (0-1), Paul McEl­lig­ott (0-1).

Wick­low scor­ers: Dean Siney (0-7, five frees), Paul Cun­ning­ham (0-2), Paul McLough­lin (0-1), Jack Tan­ner (0-1), Mark Kenny (0-1).

Wick­low’s Tommy Kelly tries to shake off the at­ten­tions of Richie Ma­hon of Car­low.

Car­low's Ja­son Kane gets to grips with Wick­low's Paul Cun­ning­ham as Dar­ragh Fo­ley looks on.

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