Useful workout for Under-21 footballers
DCU Freshers 1-16, Wicklow 3-6: The Wicklow Under-21 footballers had a useful work-out against a strong DCU team on the astro turf pitch at Bray on Thursday night. The final scoreline shows the students winning by four points but that is a slightly misleading statistic.
Little separated the sides at any stage in what was a very even and competitive match. The sides were level four times in the first quarter before a great goal by Brendan McCrea gave Wicklow a decent lead.
Another goal, finished by midfielder Shane Hogan, gave the home side breathing space, but not for long.
The students came storming back to kick over some great points and cut back the deficit. Wicklow led by 2-4 to 0-7 at half-time.
DCU drew level within minutes of the re-start as Damien Byrne, Ronnie Phillips and Pat Wogan began to ring the changes. Then a third brilliant goal, this time by Conor McGraynor, lifted Wicklow again and left them leading by 3-5 to 0-11 at the three-quarter stage.
As the last quarter progressed the trickle of substitutes became a torrent and it was a fairly disorganised defence that let the students in for an equalising point and then the lead point, followed in injury time by a goal.
While the temptation is always there to give ever player present a run at some stage, past experience should have taught us that reducing a team in strength to a point where they can no longer compete as they would like is not a good thing. At least it never worked in Wicklow at any level in the past.
The management team is working very hard and have built up, what looks on paper, a strong panel. They have an interesting line-up of matches for the team before they take on Laois in the first round of the championship.
The team also played Carlow in a Carlow-run tournament last night (Tuesday).
Team: Paul Miley (Valleymount); Stephen Bohan (Blessington), John Manley (Ashford), Phillip O'Connor (Newcastle); Daniel Woods (Eire Og, 0-1), Ross O'Brien (Rathnew), Martin O'Brien (Annacurra); Kevin Dempsey (Barndarrig), Shane Hogan (Tinahely, 1-0); Aaron Nugent (Ashford), Conor McGraynor (Avondale, 1-2), Paddy O'Rourke (Tinahely, 0-1); Brendan McCrea (Carnew, 1-2), Paddy Crowley (An Tochar), P.J. O'Keeffe (Hollywood). Subs. used - Brendan Swords ( An Tochar), Theo Smith (Rathnew), Philip Murphy (Rathnew), Jimmy Kelly, Darragh Figgis, Shane O'Rourke (all Dunlavin), Michael Mangan (Stratford-Grangecon), Joey Doyle (Ashford).