A HAT-TRICK of goals by Tony Hannon was the main feature of Wicklow's win over Kilkenny in the sixth round of the National Football League played in Castlecomer on Sunday.
However, there is more to this story than Hannon's goals - much more.
If extending their unbeaten run in Division 4 of the NFL was Wicklow's main objective, then the verdict must be 'mission accomplished'.
However, Mick O'Dwyer would have learned little from this one-sided contest although it must be said that Kilkenny put up braver resistance than has been the case in recent years.
In many ways this game was a comedy of unexplained errors.
Wicklow were under little or no pressure in this match and still managed to do all or most of the things that Micko would not have wanted them to do.
For starters they kicked a grand total of 18 wides, many of them from very favourable scoring positions.
Wicklow had a dream start to this match with Seánie Furlong pointing a free after a foul on Paul Earls after 30 seconds and Paul Cunningham landing another point in the second minute. Tony Hannon found the net with a shot that was most likely intended for a point, all inside three minutes.
The pattern continued but at a much slower pace with the home side improving all the time. J.J. Dumphy opened Kilkenny's account with a point in the sixth minute but they had to wait almost 20 minutes for their next point.
In between a number of bad wides, Patrick McWalter, Seánie Furlong (2) and Darren Hayden had Wicklow points but when David Garvey shook off his marker and got inside to box a Kilkenny goal and leave the score standing at Wicklow 1-6 to Kilkenny's 1-2 after 25 minutes, there was a definite hush among the small crowd of Wicklow supporters that had made the journey.
However, Wicklow hit back smartly with Tony Hannon blasting home his second goal and Seánie Furlong kicking over two good points to leave the half-time score Wicklow 2-8, Kilkenny 1-2.
However, Micko and his selectors found themselves with plenty of work to do during the interval.
The team was down to 14 men, they had to find a replacement for Stephen Kelly at full-back and had to decide on taking off Patrick McWalter to avoid further damage to his injured knee.
In addition they had also lost Paul Earls to a back injury very early on. Alan Byrne went to fullback, Rory Finn dropped back to centre half and Stephen Kavanagh came on to make it an all Rathnew partnership at midfield.
If figures are anything to go by, then the second half of this match was better than the first - Wicklow scored 2-8 in both halves but kicked less wides and only conceded two more points to Kilkenny in the second half.
Wicklow were down to 14 players for all of the second half but continued to set the pace.
Seánie Furlong got them off to a flying start again with an early goal and Hayden continued to raid from the back and sent over two more points.
When Tony Hannon completed his hat-trick in the 60th minute it was all over.
Wicklow and Roscommon are tied at the top of the table but Wicklow have a game more played. It means that they must win when the Connaught champions visit Aughrim next Sunday if they are to stay in contention.
Victory also came at a price; Wicklow's fullback Stephen ‘Chester’ Kelly was sent off on a straight red late in the first half while two more of his players, Patrick McWalter and Paul Earls, picked up injuries that could keep them on the sideline for the rest of the League campaign.
On the credit side Micko and his selectors managed to take a look at fringe players like Paul Cunningham, Dean Healy, Conor McGraynor, Stephen Kavanagh, Barry Dalton and Anthony McLoughlin while resting Leighton Glynn, Brian McGrath and Jacko Dalton.
Of the newcomers on trial, Paul Cunningham was the most impressive and apart from scoring three good points, did a lot of donkey work as well.
Three players stood out from the pack on this day; Seánie Furlong had a great game and was kicking points when most others were kicking wides.
Tony Hannon's three goals was a huge contribution to victory while Darren Hayden had a blinder at wing-back and also moved forward to kick three great points.
However, all will have to up their game again when they take on Roscommon on Sunday.
Paul Earls breaks through a gap in the Kilkenny defence.