Rude awak­en­ing against Long­ford

Bray People - - SPORT -

LONG­FORD 4-10 WICKLOW 0-05

WICKLOW got a rude awak­en­ing when they made the long jour­ney to the lit­tle vil­lage club grounds of Ki­nagh in Long­ford to play the home side in the Hast­ings Cup on Satur­day.

Wicklow were short of key play­ers like Conor McGraynor, Aaron Murphy, John Hen­der­son, Shane O'Rourke, P.J.O'Ke­effe and Phillip Murphy and were no match for an im­pres­sive Long­ford team.

We might have known that the mid­lan­ders had a use­ful team this year.

They are the pro­mot­ers of the Hast­ing Cup, a com­pe­ti­tion that ran very well some years ago.

It had lapsed in re­cent years but Long­ford re­vived it this year.

This win on Satur­day plus an equally big win over Roscom­mon the week be­fore puts them through to the fi­nal where they are ex­pected to clash with the win­ners of the north­ern sec­tion, most likely Ca­van.

This de­feat is a set back to Wicklow's prepa­ra­tions for the Le­in­ster cham­pi­onship but with more matches to come in this com­pe­ti­tion and in the Car­low run tour­na­ment the men­tors, Damien Byrne, Ron­nie Phillips and Pat Wo­gan be­lieve they can get the show back on the road.

It is not even the end of the road in the Hast­ings Cup. They play Roscom­mon at a Roscom­mon venue next Satur­day and a win in that match would put them into the Shield fi­nal.

Long­ford had the ball in the Wicklow net in­side five min­utes, well be­fore the Wicklow lads had time to set­tle af­ter the long jour­ney.

A strong, well drilled and tal­ented team made sure that the vis­i­tors would not get the op­por­tu­nity to re­cover from tat early set back.

Quite sim­ply they were in a dif­fer­ent league on the day. Whether a full strength Wicklow would have been able to re­verse that re­sult is an­other mat­ter.

Fif­teen min­utes had passed be­fore Bren­dan McCrea had Wicklow's first point while their only other score of the first half was a point from a free by Daniel woods. The half time score was 2-6 to 0-2.

Goalie Paul Mi­ley could not be blamed for the shots that beat him and made two other point blank saves that will do his con­fi­dence no harm.

Bren­dan McCrea is clearly the best young for­ward avail­able to the Wicklow se­lec­tors right now but he was starved of pos­ses­sion in an in­side role this time. Even when he moved out field in an ef­fort to get more time on the ball it made lit­tle dif­fer­ence

The Wicklow men­tors dipped into their lim­ited panel for sec­ond half re­place­ments, but with­out success. Ross O'Brien did try to rally his for­wards when he soloed up field to send over a point but the only other scores of the half came from McCrea and Woods.

Wicklow team - Paul Mi­ley; Jamie Snell, John Man­ley, Jim­mie Kelly; Michael Man­gan, Ross O'Brien, Martin O'Brien; Kevin Dempsey (Barn­dar­rig), Shane Ho­gan; Daniel Woods, Paddy Crow­ley, Theo Smith; Joey Doyle, Bren­dan McCrea, Paddy O'Rourke.

Subs - Aaron Nu­gent for Doyle; Phillip O'Connor for Man­ley; Alan Daly for M.O'Brien; Bren­dan Swords (An Tochar) for O'Rourke; John Deeney (Eire Og) for Man­gan.

Wicklow played Kil­dare in the Car­low U-21tour­na­ment at the St Lau­rence's grounds in Bal­ly­tore last night (Tues­day) and will play their next match in the Hast­ings Cup against Roscom­mon at a Roscom­mon venue on Satur­day.

Carnew’s Bren­dan McCrea proved in Long­ford that he is one of the bright­est prospects in Wicklow at the moment.

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