McWal­ter res­cues

Bray People - - SPORT - PETER KEOGH At Brewster Park

WICK­LOW HELD on to their un­beaten record in the league, but only just, af­ter their long trip to the north at the week­end.

In fact it took a last minute point by sub Pa­trick McWal­ter to save the day for Micko's men in this Divi­sion 4 match played at Brewster Park, En­niskillen on Sun­day.

In the end both sides were happy to set­tle for a di­vide of the spoils in what had been a scrappy enough match played in rea­son­ably good con­di­tions.

The fact that ref­eree Con Reynolds from Down saw fit to is­sue 19 yel­low cards and turn three of them into reds meant that this was a ‘stop, start’ match with nei­ther side es­tab­lish­ing a strong foothold at any stage.

Seánie Fur­long pointed two early frees, the first in­side a minute and the sec­ond af­ter eight min­utes when a shot by Tony Han­non came back off the up­right.

Wick­low went score­less for al­most 20 min­utes be­fore Fur­long pointed an­other free for a foul on James Stafford.

The home side replied with points by Paul Ward and Tommy McElroy.

Af­ter 15 score­less min­utes the home side took the lead for the first time with a point by su­per sub Ryan Jones in the 25th minute and then went two points clear when Chris O'Brien kicked an­other from play.

Seánie Fur­long kept Wick­low in the hunt when he pointed two more frees but three late points saw Fer­managh go in lead­ing by 0-7 to 0-4 at half-time.

It def­i­nitely wasn't Wick­low's best 35 min­utes of the year.

They were turn­ing over to play against the wind in the sec­ond half and needed to up their game if they were to stay in con­tention.

Fer­managh went five points clear when they had two more scores from frees in the early min­utes of the sec­ond half.

At that stage Wick­low looked to be in big trou­ble but then they struck for the first goal of the match in the 43rd minute to re­vive their flag­ging hopes.

A great run through the mid­dle by Jacko Dal­ton made the open­ing and it was mid­fielder James Stafford that ap­plied the fin­ish­ing touch. That was the tonic that Wick­low needed.

How­ever, Jones kicked an­other point two min­utes later and there was three be­tween the sides again.

At that stage Wick­low were find­ing gaps in the Fer­managh de­fence which didn't ap­pear to be there ear­lier.

An­other good pass­ing move­ment ended up with Fer­managh back scoop­ing the ball off the goal line in a des­per­ate ef­fort to save a goal.

How­ever, the ref­eree deemed he had touched the ball on the ground, pointed to the spot and Leighton Glynn blasted the penalty to the net and the sides were level again.

Fer­managh went into a two-point lead be­fore Seánie Fur­long again squared the game with two points from frees.

With ten min­utes still to go it was the home side that again edged in front as both sides were re­duced in num­bers.

With so many play­ers on yel­low cards, it was in­evitable that in such a tight match some­body would pick up the sec­ond yel­low.

First to suf­fer was Fer­managh when their mum­ber five, Barry Mul­rone walked.

With five min­utes to go he was joined in the ‘sin bin’ by Wick­low's Leighton Glynn and just be­fore the fin­ish John Paul Dal­ton also picked up a sec­ond yel­low.

Down to 13 men Wick­low did ex­cep­tion­ally well to fight back and cre­ate the open­ing for sub Pa­trick McWal­ter to kick over the equal­is­ing point one minute into in­jury-time.

Mick O'Dwyer was in­clined to look at this as a point gained rather than a point lost and was happy enough to see his side reach the half way stage of the competition un­de­feated.

Seánie Fur­long had a fine game at full-for­ward and gave no less a man than for­mer All Star Barry Owens a tor­rid time.

The Kil­te­gan man must get the Man of the Match rat­ing for a very busy evening's work.

John Flynn again in­spired con­fi­dence in goal al­though he never got a real shot to stop which says some­thing for Wick­low's last line of de­fence.

Ciarán Hy­land had his best game so far this year while Stephen Kelly and Pádraig Hig­gins both got through their jobs in a much qui­eter way.

James Stafford and Rory Finn did very well at mid­field and could still de­velop into our best part­ner­ship in that area for some time.

Tony Han­non was back af­ter a break for his hon­ey­moon but did not reach his nor­mal high stan­dards ei­ther from frees or play.

Both Paddy and Jacko Dal­ton worked very hard with­out reap­ing much re­ward. Leighton Glynn as usual cov­ered a lot of the pitch but for once didn't get on the score­sheet, that is with the ex­cep­tion of the penalty.

To sum up, Wick­low's over­all per­for­mance was noth­ing to write home about but they of­ten played bet­ter and fin­ished up with a worse re­sult.

By any stan­dards tak­ing a point out of a match at an Ul­ster venue has to rate as a good re­sult.

Leighton Glynn holds off Brian Og Maguire.

Seánie Fur­long slips by Fer­managh cap­tain Barry Owens.

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