Furlong brace puts finishing
THERE'S something really beautiful in watching great football, something extraordinarily pleasing to the eye and a feeling of privilege, of gratitude emerges in the supporter in the stand or on the bank.
Watching Seanie Furlong score Wicklow's pair of goals on Sunday in Aughrim gave just that feeling and you punched the air with delight as the Kiltegan man shimmied and waltzed past the Waterford defence to put this vitally important Division 4 clash to bed once and for all in the space of a few minutes in the second half.
Before Furlong's first goal the scoreboard read 0-11 to 0-10 in favour of the home side with 54 minutes on the clock. Wicklow looked the better side but had finished the first half with the taste of a missed penalty in their mouths. Would they be able to push on and see this through you wondered?
The brace of goals gave Wicklow the breathing space and Waterford were never going to get back up after such devastating body blows. They had also lost midfielder cum full forward Paul Whyte early in the first half and he was starting to have a major bearing on the game prior to pulling up with what looked like a hamstring injury.
But to find the turning point in this game I think we have to wind the clock back from the goals by Seanie Furlong, an injured Seanie Furlong I might add, and have a look at the 48th minute of the game when Waterford's Tommy Prendergast gathered the ball in the Wicklow square and bore down on Robert Lambert on the goal line.
A goal here would have put Waterford into a one point lead at 1-08 to 0-10 and who knows what might have happened from there. Prendergast races in, pulls the trigger, but tremendous defending from Wicklow full back Damien Power saw the Rathnew man flick the ball away from the boot of Prendergast and the Waterford man's chance was gone.
Robert Lambert gathered the spilled ball and cleared and it eventually fell into the hands of Dean Healy who fired a big ball to Leighton Glynn who found Furlong and he bombed over a fine point.
Who's to say that Lambert wouldn't have saved the shot, he may well have, but Power's interception, his excellent defending in the heart of penalty land, saved the Aughrim man the job and it was this moment that provided Wicklow with the impetus to drive on and win this game handsomely.
It was a tough day for football in Aughrim. A damp, heavy sod made for difficult passages of play and periods of lateral handpassing were tiresome to watch but overall this was a very decent Wicklow performance against a physically impressive Waterford side.
From the start, the Deise men pulled half forward Tony Grey back into their defence and Wicklow allowed Kevin Murphy to enjoy a bit of freedom and the broken nature of the play suited the Baltinglass man down to the ground and he had an excellent game overall, finishing with two super points in the second half.
Leighton Glynn opened Wicklow's account after two minutes and a Furlong wide was followed by a McGraynor point from a free after Tadgh O'Hallohan fouled Leighton Glynn.
Paudge McWalter was making his presence felt early on but his shot on 12 minutes was not his finest.
A free won by the hardworking Dean Healy was moved forward for lip and Seanie Furlong swept over the score from 21 yards out and great work by Damien Power who burst out of his defence, took a ball from Murphy and then fed Darren Hayden who pointed to leave Wicklow leading by 0-04 to 0-00 after 15 minutes.
This was good going in a packed Waterford defence but Shane Ahearn notched up his side's opener a moment later with an excellent score and the impressive looking Paul Whyte rounded Power a minute later to make it 0-04 to 0-02 in favour of Wicklow. That would be Whyte's last involvement in the game and he was a serious loss to Waterford.
McWalter fired over a beauty with his left then before Tony Grey replied for Waterford after a good Deise break up the field. Grey would fire wide seconds later again but McWalter wouldn't make the same mistake after Hayden gathered from the kick out, gave it to McWalter, who played a one-two with McLoughlin, and took care of the rest himself on 27 minutes.
Grey replied instantly before two Seanie Furlong points opened up a four point gap, one from play and one from a free he won himself.
There must be a bet on the go in the Wicklow camp for Ciaran Hyland to score a point in this league campaign because his eagerness to get forward in the Carlow game and in Aughrim on Sunday was mightily impressive. However, his shooting on 33 minutes after he was put into a good position by Darren Hayden left a lot to be desired and
Wicklow defender Damien Power puts in a goal saving tackle on Waterford's Tony Prendergast during the NFL in Aughrim.