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Bur no pro­mo­tion for Wick­low

Bray People - - NEWS - BRIAN O’DONOGHUE At Sem­ple Sta­dium

The num­ber of in­jury time sec­onds it took the Wick­low se­nior foot­ballers to turn a seven point

de­fecit into a two point lead

IF PETER KEOGH says he hasn't seen it be­fore, then you bet­ter bet ev­ery penny you own that it has never hap­pened be­fore. With 70 min­utes up and Wick­low trail­ing by a whop­ping seven points, they hit three goals in less that two min­utes to win the game, amaz­ingly, by two points.

“Be God and I didn't,” was Peter's re­ac­tion when asked soon af­ter full time if he had ever seen any­thing like that end­ing. Many GAA fol­low­ers have seen games res­cued from the death with a goal here or there, a two point lead killed by a late goal, but a seven point gap oblit­er­ated in un­der two min­utes has ar­guably never been seen be­fore.

To speak plainly, Tip­per­ary must be sick! They were al­ready guar­an­teed pro­mo­tion so the re­sult mat­tered lit­tle to them, but to have been so far ahead, and the game over, they must be won­der­ing what the hell hap­pened.

In fair­ness, even af­ter the first two goals, you'd think they could bat­ten down the hatches and just not con­cede a third to a 14 man Wick­low. In­cred­i­ble stuff, the kind of end­ing Sky Sports would pay mil­lions for, but let's not men­tion that for now.

Wick­low goal­keeper Robert Lam­bert had to watch the ball go over his bar 22 times in the 70 min­utes, a colos­sal score to put up from Tip­per­ary but an alarm­ingly high score for Wick­low to con­cede. It's hard to imag­ine kick­ing 22 points in a game and los­ing, but in Sem­ple sta­dium Thurles, that's ex­actly what hap­pened on Sun­day.

Wick­low had been sec­ond best in most ar­eas of the field and de­spite tak­ing the lead early on through Leighton Glynn they had to wait al­most 25 min­utes for their sec­ond score and in the mean­time Tip­per­ary were ram­pant, kick­ing six points in a row.

When Seanie Fur­long sent over a free 10 min­utes be­fore half time there was a huge sense of re­lief and credit to the vis­i­tors they dom­i­nated the next pe­riod. Niall Gaffney sent over a point and Leighton Glynn took a free that seemed to give Wick­low a good plat­form to build on.

Seanie Fur­long and Paul Cunningham added fur­ther points and sud­denly, hav­ing not been in the game at all Wick­low were level only for Peter Ach­e­son to move for­ward for the home team and es­tab­lish a lead again which was dou­bled by Philip Austin with one minute to go un­til half time.

Seanie Fur­long took a great pass from Leighton Glynn to kick a sev­enth point for Wick­low and at the break they only trailed by one on an 8-7 score line. This was an ex­cel­lent re­turn for the gar­den­ers hav­ing only re­ally played for the fi­nal 10 min­utes of the half.

James Stafford en­tered the game at half time in an at­tempt to keep some Wick­low mo­men­tum but once again Tip­per­ary to­tally dom­i­nated and then to add fur­ther pres­sure full back Damien Power was sent off and the tim­ing couldn't have been worse for the vis­it­ing team. Al­though Podge McWal­ter came for­ward in the 41st minute and kicked a point, it was only a slight in­ter­rup­tion to fur­ther Tip­per­ary dom­i­nance as they moved into dou­ble fig­ures at 128.

Rory Finn be­gan to en­joy some free­dom on the wing for Wick­low and be­gan to be worth his weight in gold af­ter a Wick­low at­tack was re­cy­cled and Finn did the nec­es­sary. It was only a small bit of respite for Wick­low though and they just could not get a strong hand on the game. Again Tip­per­ary came for­ward and knocked over four in a row and this was hap­pen­ing all too easy from a Wick­low per­spec­tive.

Two Kil­te­gan men, Rory Finn and Seanie Fur­long got a cou­ple of scores to try and drag Wick­low back into con­tention but at 17-11 and still 15 min­utes to play, it didn't look good.

Tipp added two points head­ing into the fi­nal 10 min­utes but Wick­low were handed a life­line when awarded a penalty and Leighton Glynn stepped up and stroked the ball home to the net ex­pertly.

At 19 points to 1-11 Wick­low seemed to at least show signs of re­vival but Tip­per­ary were still com­ing for­ward at ease and they moved into the twenty's with points from Philip Austin and sub­sti­tute Bernard O'Brien. Kevin Mur­phy got Wick­low's 12th point in the last minute but Don­agh Leahy re­sponded for Tipp and the game was dead and buried mov­ing into in­jury time at 0-22 to 1-12.

With the clock run­ning down Rory Finn took pos­ses­sion and moved in­side the 13m line. With the game over and out of sight, Finn tried an au­da­cious lob over the keeper and the ball flew glee­fully into the net to make the score a bit more re­spectable.

From the kick­out Wick­low got on the ball again but it was surely too lit­tle too late, a long ball for­ward and a Gar­ry­owen ball in turn into the square was pulled out of the sky by Seanie Fur­long and he slipped to Stafford who sent the ball to the net.

Again though, it was too lit­tle too late. Wasn't it? The fourth of­fi­cial had in­di­cated just one minute of added time and the crowd waited on the fi­nal whis­tle. Even the play­ers seemed to do the same and sud­denly af­ter the kick out Wick­low were once again on the ball.

Tip­per­ary didn't seem to want to know at this stage and Wick­low took full ad­van­tage with the ball even­tu­ally land­ing with Fur­long who couldn't miss and for the first time since the third minute Wick­low lead by two.

On the restart the ref­eree called time and amaz­ingly Wick­low were win­ners, it was the stuff out of movies. How­ever with news fil­ter­ing through that Clare had won also, Wick­low would have to come to terms with an­other year in Di­vi­sion 4. Still though, it was worth the ad­mis­sion fee for the last minute alone.

WICK­LOW Robert Lam­bert; Ciaran Hyland, Damien Power, Alan Byrne; Kevin Mur­phy (0-1), Padraig McWal­ter (0-1), Dean Healy; Anthony McLough­lin, Niall Gaffney(0-1); Rory Finn (1-2), Paul Earls, Dar­ren Hay­den; Leighton Glynn (12), Seanie Fur­long (1-4,2fs), Paul Cunningham (0-1). SUBS: James Stafford (1-0) for Paul Earls, Conor McGraynor for Cunningham, Aaron Mur­phy for Byrne, Paddy Dal­ton for McWal­ter, Chris Mur­phy for McLough­lin.

TIP­PER­ARY Matthew O'Don­nell; Ciaran McDon­ald, Paddy Codd, John Cough­lan; Rob­bie Kiely (0-1), Peter Ach­e­son(0-2), Don­nagh Leahy (0-2); Aldo Matassa, Alan Camp­bell; Philip Austin (0-4), Barry Gro­gan (0-3), Lor­can Egan (0-1); Brian Fox, Conal McCullagh, Conor Sweeney (0-5). SUBS: Roy Mul­vi­hill (02) for McCullagh, Paddy Dal­ton (0-1) for Kiely, Donal Lynch for McDon­ald, Bernard O'Brien (0-1) for Gro­gan,To­mas Has­sett for Austin, Ger Hally for Cough­lan. VENUE: Sem­ple Sta­dium

REF­EREE: Jerome Henry (Mayo)

Wick­low’s Seanie Fur­long turns from goal af­ter he blasted to the Tip­per­ary net to give Wick­low the lead.

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