Bur no promotion for Wicklow
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.