Wicklow reach tour­na­ment fi­nal

Draw with Wex­ford is enough

Bray People - - SPORT - PETER KEOGH At Tin­ry­land

A BE­LOW PAR per­for­mance by Wicklow's U-21 foot­ball team in their fi­nal match in the league sec­tion of this tour­na­ment, played at Tin­ry­land on Tues­day night.

In fact it took a late point by sub­sti­tute Daniel Keane, an up and coming Eire Og star, to get us a draw.

How­ever that draw proved enough to send us through to a place in the Cup fi­nal against ta­ble top­pers Kil­dare.

Joint man­ager Damien Byrne pointed out that we en­tered this tour­na­ment to get match prac­tice, not to win medals and what the re­sult means most of all is that a young and raw team will get an­other com­pet­i­tive match be­fore fac­ing the win­ners of the Laois v Of­faly in the Le­in­ster cham­pi­onship.

We can read very lit­tle into this re­sult other than the fact that it ap­peared to in­di­cate that this is a very well balanced com­pe­ti­tion with lit­tle or noth­ing sep­a­rat­ing the sides.

Wex­ford also played a draw with Car­low the week be­fore. How­ever we must record that Wex­ford had to field an much un­der strength team as one can given that a car car­ry­ing five play­ers broke down on the way and that five only joined the fray in the sec­ond half.

In hind­sight the con­fu­sion be­fore the match about whether Wex­ford could field a team may have af­fected the Wicklow team most.

They never got off the ground at all in the first quar­ter and gave Wex­ford the free­dom of the pitch.

The Model County lads led be 0-6 to 0-1 at one stage and could have been fur­ther ahead. An op­por­tunist goal by Shane O'Rourke in the 24th minute lifted Wicklow a lit­tle and left them just two points be­hind at the break - 1-2 to 0-7.

It was only when Wex­ford were up to full strength in the sec­ond half that Wicklow started to pro­duce the form their sup­port­ers ex­pected.

An early goal by over­lap­ping wing back Daniel Woods put Wicklow in front early in the sec­ond half and points by P.J.0'Ke­effe, Bren­dan McCrea (free) and Eoin Devlin stretched the lead.

Wex­ford took over en­ter­ing the last quar­ter and clawed back the deficit point by point. A goal by cor­ner for­ward Robert Dempsey in the 53rd minute re­stored their lead.

Wicklow ral­lied again in the clos­ing five min­utes but missed a cou­ple of chances of points. With min­utes to go su­per sub Daniel Keane sent over the equaliser from play and Wicklow held on for the draw they need- ed to put them through to the fi­nal.

Kil­dare fin­ished on six points; Wicklow on three; Wex­ford on two and Car­low on one.

Kil­dare and Wicklow meet in the Cup fi­nal which was fixed for last night (Tues­day) in Tin­ry­land while Wex­ford and Car­low play off for the Shield.

Wicklow’s Martin O’Brien plucks one out of the night sky in the U-21 clash with Wex­ford in Tin­ry­land.

Paddy O’Rourke breaks for­ward for Wicklow.

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