Last chance sa­loon

Kil­dare defeat puts Wick­low in rel­e­ga­tion dog­fight

Bray People - - SPORT - MICK HAGAN

WICK­LOW have been pro­pelled into a Christy Ring Cup rel­e­ga­tion dog­fight with Derry af­ter they suf­fered a sec­ond half col­lapse against Kil­dare in Ark­low last Satur­day af­ter­noon.

Both sides en­tered this lat­est show­down be­tween th­ese two coun­ties hop­ing to keep their Christy Ring Cup hopes alive with the win­ners qual­i­fy­ing for a quar­ter-fi­nal spot while the losers would face the rel­e­ga­tion fi­nal against Derry.

This challenge will now be all the more dif­fi­cult for Martin Storey’s men af­ter a mo­ment of mad­ness as the game en­tered in­jury time.

With the Wick­low men al­ready well beaten on the score board, disas­ter struck for the home side fol­low­ing a goal­mouth melee. Gavin Weir and Christy Moore­house were both shown red cards aris­ing out of spate in­ci­dents, while full-back Billy Cud­dihy also saw red fol­low­ing a off the ball in­ci­dent fur­ther out the field which left Wick­low fin­ish­ing the game with 12 play­ers.

Th­ese events at the death of the game were un­for­tu­nate and leave Wick­low fac­ing an up­hill bat­tle with Derry in three weeks time.

The first half of this game was a great bat­tle be­tween two evenly matches teams which saw the Kil­dare lead­ing by one, 0-07 to 0-06, at the break.

How­ever, the end re­sult saw a stronger Kil­dare side dom­i­nate the en­tire sec­ond half and they fully de­served their vic­tory as they emerged vic­to­ri­ous with an eight­point win­ning mar­gin to end their rel­e­ga­tion wor­ries and in do­ing so the win­ners they can now look for­ward to their quar­ter-fi­nal clash with Lon­don.

The teams took the field with no changes from the match day program, but there was one prom­i­nent player, Mikey Lee miss­ing from the Wick­low panel but the Bray Em­mets star was there as a spec­ta­tor in the stand.

Kil­dare’s first attack re­sulted in a free which saw ace free taker Gerry Kee­gan score the open­ing point af­ter just one minute.

A quick re­sponse saw the home side work the ball up the field fol­low­ing good work by Luke Maloney and Ea­mon Kearns which re­sulted in Daniel Staunton be­ing fouled and Christy Moore­house pointed to bring the sides level at 0-01 each af­ter five min­utes.

Both sides missed two scores each be­fore Christy Moore­house was fouled as he headed to­wards goal and he popped over his sec­ond point from placed balls to edge Wick­low in front.

From the puck out, Kil­dare surged for­ward which saw Billy Cud­dihy win pos­ses­sion but was deemed to have thrown the ball in at­tempt­ing a pass, which re­sulted in a Kil­dare free which Gerry Kee­gan pointed to bring the sided level on a score of 0-02 each af­ter seven min­utes.

With both de­fences on top and both sets of backs fo­cused on the task that lay ahead, scor­ers were hard to come by. Cen­tre-half back Mark Maloney raced up field to score a point for the Li­ly­whites but the home side re­sponded and fol­low­ing a foul on Daniel Staunton, a long ball from Ea­mon Kearns floated in the dan­ger area but the Kil­dare de­fence stood firm which re­sulted in a missed chance as the ball went wide.

At this stage the tempo was upped by both teams which saw some nice hurl­ing be­ing played with play flow­ing from end to end and some hard knocks be­ing given by both sides with no ques­tions be­ing asked in what was a real cham­pi­onship game that was be­ing in good spirit.

Af­ter some missed chances, Anto Byrne won a free around the cen­tre of the park and Christy Moore­house’s long shot was cleared by full-back John Do­ran.

Not for the first time in the game both sets of for­wards were guilty of bad shoot­ing and were also find­ing the go­ing tough against two solid de­fences a Wick­low attack saw the in-form Daniel Staunton fouled which re­sulted in Christy Moore­house bring the sides level on 0-03 each at the end of the first quar­ter.

The win­ners keep the pres­sure on and they went on to record two wides in row, mainly due to a solid Wick­low de­fence which saw Paul Divilly be­ing shown a yel­low card for dis­sent.

A Wick­low re­sponse saw a move in­volv­ing three play­ers and good work by Padráig Do­ran re­sulted in Paul Der­mody mak­ing a good save in the Kil­dare goal.

Fol­low­ing this let off, Kil­dare surged for­ward and won a free and, not for the first time in the game, Gerry Dee­gan edged Kil­dare in front once more and were also un­lucky when an­other shot re­bounded off the post but the alert Wick­low de­fence cleared up field.

Padráig Do­ran then gave a per­fect pass to John Hen­der­son and the Bray man split the Kil­dare de­fence and won a free which Christy Moore­house pointed to bring the sides level at 0-04 each.

It was only fit­ting that the top two marks­men Gerry Dee­gan and Christy Moore­house should record a point each both frees to bring the sides level at 0-05 each.

The win­ners kept the pres­sure on but were de­nied scor­ing chances fol­low­ing good work by Stephen Kelly who outstanding play­ing as a sweeper.

Wick­low went in search of scores which saw Christy Moore­house edge his side in front for the sec­ond time in the open­ing half with a point from play.

Kil­dare re­sponded with a point from at­tack­ing half-back Sean Gainey and also were de­nied a goal fol­low­ing a rasp­ing shot from mid­fielder Niall O Muineachain which pro­duced a bril­liant save from Wick­low goal­keeper Dan O’Neill, the win­ners fin­ished the half with a point in in­jury time by Martin Fitzger­ald which saw the Li­ly­whites with a slen­der lead of 0-07 to 0-06.

Af­ter the break Kil­dare took the game to their op­po­nents and hit a golden spell and went on to score four points in row.

With the Wick­low de­fence un­der pres­sure from the slick mov­ing Kil­dare for­wards they were forced to foul which proved costly with ace free taker Gerry Dee­gan in spark­ing form.

The full-for­ward slot­ted two points from frees, cor­ner-back Ross Bergin also got his name on the score sheet with a long range point which in­spired cen­tre-back Mark Maloney to race through the Wick­low de­fence and added an­other point and for good mea­sure full-for­ward Gerry Dee­gan popped up again to land an­other point from a free.

Wick­low’s only re­sponse were two at­tacks which yielded noth­ing as Christy Moore­house and Anto Byrne failed to find the tar­get. This left the Kil­dare men lead­ing on dou­ble scores, 0-12 to 0-06 at the end of the third quar­ter.

A Wick­low attack saw sub­sti­tute Tommy Storey fouled which Christy More­house point the free but, not for the first time in the game, Kil­dare upped the tempo once more which saw them score three more through full-or­ward Gerry Dee­gan, mid­fielder, Niall O Muineachain and wing for­ward Ryan Casey.

The game saw a shoot-out be­tween Gerry Dee­gan and Christy Moore­house as they ex­changed a point each which left the score read­ing 0-16 to 0-08.

In fair­ness to Wick­low, who were chas­ing the game fol­low­ing Kil­dare’s ex­cel­lent start to the sec­ond half, they kept plug­ging away and saw sev­eral at­tacks break down which was mainly due to solid Kil­dare de­fence.

A rare Wick­low attack which was late in the game saw Ea­mon Kearns head for goals and the Avon­dale man was fouled.

The re­sult­ing free was de­flected out for a 65 and Stephen Kelly pointed and this proved to be Wick­low’s last score.

One last ef­fort from the home side saw a line ball from sub­sti­tute Gavin Weir float into the Kil­dare goal­mouth which re­sulted in the home side be­ing awarded a penalty.

At this stage, fol­low­ing the melee, disas­ter struck for the home side as the three play­ers were shown red cards.

Defeat would have been bad enough to take but this was in­sult to in­jury.

Looking for­ward, the team must now face into the rel­e­ga­tion fi­nal with­out th­ese play­ers which has left the team man­ager and his selectors with a mighty task ahead as they re­group in the com­ing weeks.

Scor­ers – Kil­dare: Gerry Dee­gan 0-10 (8f); Mark Maloney 0-02, Sean Gainey 0-01, Martin Fitzger­ald 0-01, Ross Bergin 0-01, Ryan Casey 0-01, Niall O Muineachain 0-01.

Wick­low: Christy Moore­house 0-08 (7f), Stephen Kelly 0-01 (65).

Kil­dare: Paul Der­mody; Ross Bergin, John Do­ran, Conor Gor­dan; Sean Gainey, Mark Maloney, Mark Grace; Martin Fitzger­ald, Niall O Muineachain; Philip Co­co­man, Paul Divilly, Ryan Casey; Brian Byrne, Gerry Kee­gan, Jack Sher­dian. Subs: Leo Quinn, Paddy Mckenna, Declan O’Fla­herty, Shane Ryan.

Wick­low: Dan O’Neill; Luke Maloney, Billy Cud­dihy, Cathal O Dúlachain; Peter Keane, John Hen­der­son, Martin O’Brien; Ro­nan Keddy, Ea­mon Kearns; Anto Byrne, Padráig Do­ran, Diar­muid Master­son; Stephen Kelly, Christy Moore­house, Danny Staunton. Subs: Gavin Weir for Diar­muid Master­son, Tommy Storey for Padráig Do­ran.

Ref­eree: Gearoid McGrath (Wex­ford)

Wick­low’s Danny Staunton is held in the square by Kil­dare’s Conor Gor­don dur­ing the Christy Ring Cup clash in Pearse’s Park, Ark­low. Pic­ture: Garry O’Neill

Wick­low’s John Hen­der­son comes un­der pres­sure from Kil­dare’s Mark Grace in Ark­low.

Kil­dare’s Martin Fitzger­ald and Wick­low’s Diar­muid Master­son.

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