GAR­DEN MEN

Fur­long brace puts fin­ish­ing

Bray People - - SPORT - BREDNAN LAWRENCE At Aughrim

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.

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