Under-21 hurlers fall short against Kildare
Second-half fightback not enough to thwart Kildare
KILDARE 1-14 WICKLOW 1-12
AT half-time, with Wicklow nine points behind Kildare, it looked like another heavy beating was on the cards for a Wicklow team.
Kildare dominated the first half, their strength and superiority around the middle third of the pitch set the foundation for attacks and starved Wicklow of possession. Seanie Germaine and Jonathan O’Neill, as a two-man full-forward line, barely touched the ball during the half and even when they did their markers were on top.
The visiting team could have been further ahead as well, they hit eight wides to go along with their 1-09 total at half-time and a couple of goal chances went a begging.
The half-time break changed the game however and Wicklow were level in the 57th minute. The defence gained an upper hand on the Kildare forwards, limiting them to only one point in a twenty-minute period, and the midfield began winning some breaking ball to set up attacks.
Enda Donohoe converted a 65 to equalise in normal time but a couple of injury time Kildare points broke Wicklow’s hearts and the dream of going one step further than last year was shattered.
Kildare played with a breeze in the first half that was stronger pitch-side than in the stand and after an even opening ten minutes they took control of the game.
It was two points each by the tenth minute, two Donohoe frees balanced out a Kildare free and exquisite Jack Sheridan side line.
Kildare went on to score 1-06 without reply in the next fifteen minutes, some Wicklow indiscipline granting James Burke another three converted frees while Sheridan repeated his party piece from the side line.
The goal came courtesy of full forward Shane Ryan who bustled his way past a couple of Wicklow players and hit the roof of the net.
Christy Moorehouse pulled one back for Wicklow late in the half, their only score from play in 30 minutes, but Brian Cormack was on hand to restore Kildare’s nine point lead at half-time, 1-09 to 3.
Wicklow came out in the second half and started well, scoring three points to Kildare’s two.
It looked like it would be in vain though, the deficit too high a hurdle to overcome. That was until they hit 1-02 in three minutes and suddenly the hurdle wasn’t so daunting.
For the first 40 minutes or so Donohoe went back as a sweeper to cut out the danger posed by a Kildare forward line that possessed a couple of players with Christy Ring Cup medals.
However, his influence was negated somewhat when his man followed him and the Kildare played with seven forwards.
At times, Donohoe was a corner-back. Seamus Murphy did explain afterwards why they left him there for so long and there was a method in the management’s madness that looked strange from the stand.
Donohoe moved into the full-forward line after he converted a free in the 42nd minute and then he latched onto a Seanie Germaine pass for the goal.
Padraig O’Toole added a point and the deficit was down to three.
James Burke converted a 65 to extend the lead to four before Donohoe replied with a 65 of his own.
Midfielders Christy Moorehouse and O’Toole added another point each and then Donohoe hit a second 65 to level the game.
Wicklow had the next two chances, Germaine from a tight angle under pressure and O’Toole from distance. Unfortunately both went left and wide. Kildare had a couple of chances of their own which they put over the bar.
It’s the end of the road for many of this team at U21 level, they were unable to replicate the glory of 2015. They will however go on to senior level and Seamus Murphy is looking forward to working with them next year.
Scorers – Kildare: James Burke (5f, 1 65) 0-06; Shane Ryan 1-02; Jack Sheridan (2sl) 0-02; Sean Lawlor, Cathal Melville, Barry Cormack, Kevin Ahearne 0-1 each.
Wicklow: Enda Donohoe (5f, 2 65) 1-07; Christy Moorehouse, Padraig O’Toole 0-02 each; Gary
KILDARE: Mark Doyle; Simon Lacey, Richard Hogan, Lorcan Behan; Diarmuid Greene, Aran Kelly, Reece Gavin; Sean Lawlor, Jack Travers; David Murphy, James Burke, Cathal Melville; Barry Cormack, Shane Ryan; Jack Sheridan. Subs: Sean Mac Donnacha for Lorcan Behan (18 mins); Conor Kielty for Jack Travers (36 mins); Kevin Ahearne for Reece Gavin (41 mins).
WICKLOW: Cian Staunton; Aaron Kinsella, Matthew Treanor, Brian Kearney; Padraig Byrne, Andrew Kavanagh, Oisin Furlong; Christy Moorehouse, Liam Benville; Luke Evans, Padraig O’Toole, Gary Hughes; Enda Donohoe, Seanie Germaine, Jonathan O’Neill. Subs: Padraig Doyle for Liam Benville (22 mins); Aaron Byrne for Luke Evans (37 mins). REFEREE: T Walsh (Waterford)
Luke Evans taking a free for Wicklow.
Wicklow’s Jonathan O’Neill gathers possession.