Brave Wick­low fall short

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - At Sem­ple Sta­dium

WHEN Michael Boland made the net dance in Sem­ple Sta­dium for the sec­ond time last Satur­day, Wick­low hearts per­formed som­er­saults and we dared be­lieve that the Gar­den county lads could push on and put a very dan­ger­ous look­ing Kerry side to the sword.

Alas, as a wise man once said, you are never more vul­ner­a­ble than when you have scored a goal and that old pearl came back to haunt Wick­low as they switched off in the mo­ments af­ter Boland’s sweet strike and a long search­ing ball from the su­perb Jack Gould­ing was won by Shane Con­way and the rest, as plenty of wise peo­ple have said over the years, was his­tory.

The goal was a ham­mer blow for Wick­low who had been per­form­ing so well up to that point and Boland’s sec­ond goal was out of the top drawer in terms of team ef­fort with cap­tain Pádraig Doyle per­form­ing mir­a­cles along the side­line be­fore pass­ing inside the Jack Doyle.

Doyle clev­erly help up play for an in­stant be­fore fir­ing a pass to Padraig O’Toole who in turn picked out Seanie Ger­maine and the Baltinglass man slipped a sweet pass across to Boland and he fired home de­spite the pres­ence of a tan­gle of Kerry bod­ies.

That goal made it 2-06 to 0-09, a three-point lead. Did Wick­low de­serve it? Ab­so­lutely. Yes, Kerry looked that bit more ac­com­plished and po­ten­tially lethal but Sea­mus Mur­phy’s charges were work­ing their socks off all over the field and were in a re­ally good place at the time.

It was Gould­ing who started the scor­ing in the game, played be­fore a rea­son­able crowd in what was the cur­tain raiser for the Un­der-21 A fi­nal be­tween Lim­er­ick and Kilkenny.

The venue, crowd or weight of the oc­ca­sion didn’t seem to have any ef­fects on the Wick­low lads and they had a wide on the board from Seanie Ger­maine from a tight an­gle just be­fore Gould­ing’s first point.

The Kerry cor­ner-for­ward would col­lect the Man of the Match award af­ter the game and his open­ing score sug­gested that he would be there or there­abouts, in fair­ness.

A di­ag­o­nal ball was sent skip­ping across to him and with Terry Healy all over him he kept his right hand on his hip and waited for the ball to ar­rive be­fore turn­ing and skip­ping away and stroking the ball over the bar.

It was a beau­ti­ful move­ment. The ball looked like it had dis­ap­peared or been dis­ap­peared and sud­denly, like magic, it reap­peared in Gould­ing’s hand.

A ma­jor player for Wick­low early on was Jack Doyle. He opened Wick­low’s ac­count with a stun­ning score from dis­tance and his club col­league from Carnew Em­mets, Enda Dono­hue, op­er­at­ing as a sweeper, added a free won by Doyle with five on the clock to give Wick­low a 0-02 to 0-01 lead.

With Dono­hue act­ing as a de­ter­rent at one end, that left Kerry’s Jason Dig­gins free at the other end and this was a block­age that took some cir­cum­vent­ing by the Wick­low lads over the course of the game.

Jack Doyle’s sec­ond point ex­tended Wick­low’s lead and then all of a sud­den Kerry moved up through the gears with points from Shane Con­way (2), Ro­nan Donovan and Mau­rice O’Con­nor to leave the King­dom lads lead­ing by 0-05 to 0-03 af­ter 17 min­utes.

Wick­low needed a score badly and Seanie Ger­maine won and pointed his own free with 19 on the clock to stop the rot.

And then Boland grabbed the Gar­den county’s open­ing goal. A Wick­low at­tack, ball comes to Seanie Ger­maine, pulls, magic re­flex save from Stephen Mur­phy in the Kerry goal but the ball spills to Boland and bang to the back of the net.

Ex­actly what the doc­tor or­dered. Wick­low were right back in the game on the score­board and led by 1-04 to 0-05.

A Gould­ing point is fol­lowed by a moment of magic from Cian Staunton in the Wick­low goal when he saved from Gould­ing af­ter 28 min­utes and Pádraig Doyle won a free at the other end and Dono­hue points to send Wick­low in lead­ing by 1-05 to 0-06.

If ever there was a morale lift­ing boost for a team then see­ing a side­line cut go straight over the black spot is cer­tainly one of them and Jack Gould­ing of­fered just such a tonic to his side when he split the posts with a de­li­cious cut not long af­ter the restart.

Sea­mus Mur­phy and Michael Neary sent in Kiltegan’s Padraig O’Toole at this stage with Cor­mac Whit­more mak­ing his exit af­ter a de­cent shift and O’Toole be­gan im­pos­ing him­self im­me­di­ately.

Af­ter a Shane Con­way point from a free for Kerry, O’Toole won a free and Dono­hue did the nec­es­sary but Con­way added an­other to even things up mo­ments later a 1-06 to 0-09.

And then came Pádraig Doyle along the side­line like a big jug­ger­naut, un­stop­pable.

The ball is worked to Boland is a mag­nif­i­cent se­ries of passes and the Wick­low fans re­joice in the stands. We can do this, you think.

And then the puck out, down it comes, breaks, it’s kicked back­wards, gath­ered, fired in, caught, Con­way’s head goes down, rides a tackle, shoots, scores. Damn it.

Tier­nan Mel­lon comes in for Terry Healy. Shaun Hughes de­fends like a de­mon. Pádraig Doyle picks up a yel­low. Kerry go wide with a free. There’s hope.

Kerry at­tack. They’re start­ing to open up a bit here. Ball to the very ac­com­plished Mau­rice O’Con­nor, no chance for Staunton, goal, we’re in se­ri­ous trou­ble now.

Shaun Hughes wins a dif­fi­cult ball and points su­perbly to of­fer some calm and Wic­ck­low at­tack again but go wide through Ger­maine.

Kerry miss at the other end. Pádraig Doyle wins a free off Jason Dig­gins, Ger­maine points but so does Daniel O’Car­roll and they lead by two and now the foul­ing starts to hurt big time.

Lim­er­ick’s Johnny Mur­phy seems very ea­ger to blow his whis­tle but a chop from Oisin Fur­long is right­fully pe­nalised and Kerry have an­other point from Con­way and the game is slip­ping away big time.

An­other free for Kerry and Con­way points and it’s 2-12 to 2-08 with 31 min­utes gone and Wick­low need a goal but Kerry shut up shop and Christy Moore­houses’s at­tempted long de­liv­ery is cleared by Kerry and the fi­nal whis­tle sounds shortly af­ter.

A gal­lant ef­fort from the Wick­low lads. Kerry were the bet­ter team but they were pushed hard by Sea­mus Mur­phy’s charges.

Scor­ers - Kerry: Shane Con­way 1-6 (6f), Mau­rice O’Con­nor 1-1, Jack Gould­ing 0-3 (0-1 side­line), Ro­nan Donovan and Daniel O’Car­roll 0-1 each.

Wick­low: Michael Boland 2-0, Enda Donoghue 0-3 (3f), Jack Doyle 0-02, Seanie Ger­maine 0-2, Shaun Hughes 0-1.

Michael Boland of Wick­low scores his side’s first goal de­spite the ef­forts of Billy Lyons of Kerry.

A de­jected Enda Dono­hoe af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle.

Barry O’Sul­li­van of Kerry in ac­tion against Matthew Traynor, left, and Christy Moore­house of Wick­low.

Padraig Doyle of Wick­low.

Shaun Hughes of Wick­low keeps his eyes on the ball.

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