Hurlers grab vi­tal win in Christy Ring Cup

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT -

WHEN the apoc­a­lypse hits and the world needs one man to de­fend it, en­ter War­ren Ka­vanagh. The Gle­nealy man and Wick­low cap­tain was ex­cep­tional at full-back as Wick­low put Mayo to the sword in their open­ing Christy Ring Cup game last week­end.

Mayo at­tempted to iso­late him against their full-for­ward, Corey Sc­ahill. Their at­tempts were fu­tile. Sc­ahill was of­ten the only Mayo player within 30 me­tres of Wick­low’s goal, Ka­vanagh keep­ing him com­pany. If Ka­vanagh made a mis­take or let Sc­ahill have pos­ses­sion, he had a clear run at goal.

But such ideas are lu­di­crous be­cause Ka­vanagh never made a mis­take or let Sc­ahill have pos­ses­sion. If it came in high, Ka­vanagh caught it. If it came in low, Ka­vanagh was there first. If it came in any other way, Ka­vanagh flicked it away.

At the other end of the field, Mikey Lee made a wel­come re­turn to the Wick­low jer­sey, Wex­ford im­port PJ Nolan added some ball win­ning abil­ity to the half-for­ward line while Seanie Ger­maine not so much put his hand up for se­lec­tion as barged his way to the front of the line dur­ing his 30-minute cameo.

This was a good win for Wick­low though, in truth, not a great per­for­mance. Mayo were poor on the day and gifted Wick­low a few points with their in­ac­cu­rate pass­ing and mis­takes. Wick­low, at times, weren’t much bet­ter.

Their con­ces­sion of 1-02 at the end of each half made the re­sult much closer than it should have been. For a pe­riod dur­ing the sec­ond half their balls into the full-for­ward line were high, Hail Mary type passes that gave the for­wards lit­tle hope of win­ning them. They hit 14 wides and didn’t take a few more goal chances.

All in all, they per­formed like an old car chug­ging along rather than a brand new model glid­ing along the road. How­ever, as man­ager Sea­mus Mur­phy said af­ter­wards, prepa­ra­tions weren’t ideal with in­juries ham­per­ing much of the squad, the poor weather in­ter­rupt­ing the train­ing sched­ule and a lack of match prac­tice due to April be­ing a club only month.

It sets them up for a trip to Roscom­mon at the week­end be­fore they wel­come Kil­dare when they’ll need to move up a cou­ple of gears against a team that played in Divi­sion 2A this year.

The teams were level at two points each in the tenth minute, Ge­orge and Andy O’Brien with the Wick­low points, but Wick­low scored eleven of the next twelve points to lead by ten on the half hour mark.

Andy O’Brien, Mikey Lee, Christy Moore­house, PJ Nolan and Danny Staunton all got on the score­sheet dur­ing that time, a cou­ple of the points handed to Wick­low on a plate by Mayo, a cou­ple of the points were sub­lime ef­forts.

In de­fence Wick­low held Mayo score­less for eigh­teen min­utes, Pa­trick Kiely’s point their first from play in the 26th minute. When Mayo didn’t go long be­cause War­ren Ka­vanagh made a mock­ery of the idea, their half for­ward line and mid­field were suf­fo­cated by Wick­low’s tack­ling. Un­der pres­sure, two of their shots drifted wide and two fell short into Robert Fitzger­ald’s hand.

Mayo handed them­selves a life­line with 1-02 be­fore half time and halved the deficit. Wick­low in­dis­ci­pline al­lowed Kenny Feeney to con­vert a cou­ple of frees and then Corey Sc­ahill struck for a goal in the last ac­tion of the half.

A way­ward John Hen­der­son pass lost pos­ses­sion and a long Mayo ball into the full for­ward line was won by Brian Mor­ley. Martin O’Brien let Mor­ley past him and he found Sc­ahill who hit the back of the net at the sec­ond time of ask­ing.

It cer­tainly changed the team talks at half time and Wick­low came out of the dress­ing room in no mood for the dif­fer­ence to get any closer. Lee, Andy O’Brien and an ex­tra­or­di­nary Garry Byrne point in­creased the lead to eight. Byrne sim­ply pulled on a loose ball, sim­i­lar to Cork’s John Fen­ton in the 1980s, and it sailed be­tween the up­rights from near the 65.

Not to be out­done in the out­ra­geous stakes, Byrne’s Gle­nealy team­mate Danny Staunton pro­duced his own mo­ment of magic mo­ments later. He sent two Mayo de­fend­ers the wrong way with a silky hand­pass be­hind his back to PJ Nolan and the Askamore man hit his sec­ond point at his leisure.

Feeney con­verted two more frees to keep the Mayo score­board tick­ing over but Ger­maine’s goal in the 50th minute ex­tended the lead back to ten points. Ten min­utes later the lead was twelve and Mayo could only add a cou­ple of late con­so­la­tion scores to take the bad look off the score­board.

Scor­ers – Wick­low: Andy O’Brien (5f) 0-08; Mikey Lee 0-04; Seanie Ger­maine 1-01; Christy Moore­house, PJ Nolan 0-02 each; Garry Byrne, Danny Staunton, Ge­orge O’Brien 0-01 each.

Mayo: Kenny Feeney (8f) 0-09; Corey Sc­ahill, Eanna Ryan 1-00 each; Pa­trick Kiely, Shane Boland 0-01 each.

Wick­low: Robert Fitzger­ald; Pe­ter Keane, War­ren Ka­vanagh, Martin O’Brien; Garry Byrne, John Hen­der­son, Ea­monn Kearns; Ro­nan Keddy, Danny Staunton; PJ Nolan, Anto Byrne, Christy Moore­house; Ge­orge O’Brien, Andy O’Brien, Mikey Lee. Subs: Seanie Ger­maine for Ge­orge O’Brien (42 mins); Billy Cud­dihy for Ro­nan Keddy (63 mins); Enda Dono­hoe for PJ Nolan (66 mins); Jack Doyle for Andy O’Brien (74 mins).

Mayo: Donal O’Brien; Austin Lyons, Conor Daly, Sean Mul­roy; Conor Henry, David Kenny, Donal McGreal; Kieran McDer­mott, Brian Hunt; Eanna Ryan, Kenny Feeney, Pa­trick Kiely; Brian Mor­ley, Corey Sc­ahill, Shane Boland. Subs: Michael Mor­ley for Austin Lyons (29 mins); Bobby Dou­glas for Corey Sc­ahill, Conor Mur­ray for Donal McGreal (both 52 mins); Darren McTighe for Pa­trick Kiely (59 mins); Martin Par­sons for Donal O’Brien (63 mins).

Ref­eree: P Burke (Kilkenny)

Wick­low’s Mikey Lee in ac­tion against Mayo.

Wick­low’s Christy Moore­house in ac­tion against Mayo’s Austin Lyons.

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