MODEL ARE ON TOP
Brave Wicklow young guns will learn from experience
WEXFORD WICKLOW 2-15 2-6
WEXFORD booked a trip to Kildare as a reward for a comprehensive victory over an inferior Wicklow side in Aughrim on Thursday.
Sporting a far bigger side and panel the Model County played some clever football and only for the crossbar of the Wicklow goal, the gap could have been much wider come the end of the hours football.
Wexford took the lead in the opening minute through Fiachra Hourihane with a lovely score off his left foot and backed it up a minute later with a score from other corner forward Todd Hynes. The tenacity of the Wexford backline has to be noted from very early on. The intensity they opened the game at was ferocious allowing Wicklow men no chance to clear their lines or find a team mate with often times, at least three Wexford men could be seen around the ball. In the middle of the field, midfield partnership of James Lawlor and the inspirational Liam Coleman dominated the airways winning or breaking six of the opening seven Wicklow kick outs. Wing forward Eoghan Herlihy chipped in with a point himself and a cross field ball from the same man found Coleman moments later who fired off the crossbar and away to safety. It was almost fifteen minutes before Wicklow opened their account through Daniel Ging. The home side were making simple elementary mistakes, carrying the ball into tackles with a stronger opponent, trying to emulate Ciaran McDonald with shots from outside the boot but skewing them twenty yards wide and handling issues were all to the fore. A Coleman free restored a three point lead for the away side before another goal chance for them. A short kick out was intercepted by Michael Carroll and the ball was worked to Todd Hynes but unfortunately for the lively corner forward it was fired wide.
Wexford wouldn’t have to wait long for a green flag though. A poor decision to shoot from a Wicklow player was blocked by Wexford and a long ball sent Diarmuid Barry in a one on one with the Wicklow defence. Unfortunately for them, the ball popped up nicely to the St Martin’s man who released Hynes who this time made no mistake with the goal. The Wicklow response was immediate and a long diagonal ball into the goal area found Jack Manley who fired home within a minute of Wexford. The impressive Pauric Hughes from Ballynastragh Gaels was proving a real thorn in the Wicklow side in the opening period. The wing back was involved in a lot of attacks and his roving runs into opposition territory almost got himself a goal on one occasion. However, he provided an assist to Diarmuid Barry for Wexford’s goal on the stroke of half time which gave the travelling men an eight point lead at the break which was well deserved by their efforts. Full forward Sean Forde was also proving a handful for the Wicklow defence as he dictated play from the middle third.
Wexford opened the second period in the same vein as the first with three points in as many minutes at the start. Unfortunately for the home side one of the points came in an unfortunate way. After dispossessing a Wexford attack, Wexford turned the ball back over immediately on the 14 for a point from Hynes. Wexford always had an extra couple of seconds on the ball. When coming out of defence, they worked the ball fast through the hands leaving opposition trailing. Attacking, they had willing runners of the shoulder making some of their scores a joy to watch. Other aspects of the attack just show that when things are going your way, they keep going your way. A miscontrolled solo by Lawlor found its way back to him somehow with a Wicklow player closing him down and he fired over a score. To Wicklow’s credit, they performed much much better in the second period. Oisin McGraynor added two points with one lovely score from a free. Andrew Maher and Tadgh O’Toole impressed, trying to drive colleagues forward. James Hedderman battled hard but the introduction of Pauric Murray was the spark needed for the home side. The Coolkenno man was a nuisance from the moment he crossed the white line, winning a free, wanting and having the confidence to kick it himself, grabbing himself two points and firing home a net buster of a goal towards the end of the game. Hard work from Ging, Hedderman and a pass from captain O’Toole released the full forward who fired home a rocket which bounced downwards off the crossbar and bounced behind the line of Joshua Burke’s goal. Wexford will have taken much confidence for this victory as they travel to Kildare and as for Wicklow, they will learn a lot from this. Players will improve from the simple errors and hopefully return to the intercounty stage in years to come with the knowledge of the standard of teams they will be facing.
Wicklow’s Daniel Ging and Wexford’s Tommy Ryan compete for posession.