Brave Wicklow fall short
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.