Healy the hero as AGB earn draw with Bless­ing­ton

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - ERIC MELIA at Joule Park Aughrim


BLESS­ING­TON and AGB played out a thrilling draw at the county grounds last Sun­day evening as both teams kept their un­beaten records in this year’s cham­pi­onship. Philip Healy clipped an equal­is­ing point from in front of the posts as the game en­tered in­jury time for the Arklow men.

The south Wick­low men started like a train with Chris O’Brien point­ing af­ter Phil Healy had lo­cated him with a di­ag­o­nal cross-field pass. Mo­ments later the roles were re­versed, and O’Brien fed Healy whose thun­der­bolt of a shot can­noned off the un­der­side of Stephen Kitt’s bar and over the line.

Bless­ing­ton re­sponded su­perbly. Anto McLough­lin had a goal bound ef­fort saved by keeper Mervyn Travers, how­ever Cur­tis Ger­aghty was on hand to bun­dle the re­bound home. O’Brien was al­ways an outlet for Arklow and he had his sec­ond point soon af­ter. Stephen Hur­ley ex­tended the lead from a long dis­tance free af­ter ten min­utes.

McLough­lin be­gan to dom­i­nate pro­ceed­ings from here on out. First, he earned a free that Mikey O’Con­nor con­verted, then opened his own ac­count as he led the de­fence a merry dance. O’Brien re­sponded af­ter Hur­ley had done the don­key work be­fore McLough­lin tied the scores up with two more.

O’Con­nor gave Bless­ing­ton the lead af­ter McLough­lin was fouled again and O’Con­nor scored from play soon af­ter.

AGB lost the in­flu­en­tial Hur­ley on a black card at this stage which re­quired O’Brien - who was caus­ing so much has­sle at full-for­ward - to move to mid­field.

How­ever, O’Brien proved that be­ing fur­ther out from goal was no is­sue to him with a morale boost­ing score from 50 yards. McLough­lin closed out the first half scor­ing with his fourth point to leave the men from the west two clear at the break.

Within sec­onds of the restart McLough­lin had added to his tally with Bless­ing­ton’s sec­ond goal. He firstly beat his own man to the ball be­fore link­ing with Cur­tis Ger­aghty and O’Con­nor whose pin­point fisted pass across goal saw McLough­lin palm home.

Healy pointed a free for Arklow but when Eoin Keogh and McLough­lin again added scores it looked like last year’s beaten fi­nal­ists were go­ing to pull away.

Credit to Arklow though, they showed a tenac­ity and de­ter­mi­na­tion to get back in the con­test and kicked five of the next six scores through Healy, Peter Hem­pen­stall and es­pe­cially Cor­mac O’Shea who came to the fore with a trio of ex­quis­ite points from the cen­tre for­ward po­si­tion. With ten min­utes to go McLough­lin and O’Shea ex­changed points and the lead was three.

It was amaz­ingly to be Bless­ing­ton’s last score as AGB fin­ished the stronger. J.P. Hur­ley pointed a 50-yarder af­ter col­lect­ing a short free from Dar­ragh Fitzger­ald, O’Shea fed Healy in­side who rounded the keeper but off bal­ance could only flash his ef­fort high through the up­rights be­fore, with nerves of steel, Healy stepped up and slot­ted the last-sec­ond free af­ter Cathal Kelle­her had been fouled.

A fair re­sult to a pul­sat­ing game. Cor­mac O’Shea and Chris O’Brien were su­perb for the Arklow men, for Bless­ing­ton, Anto McLough­lin was out­stand­ing, scor­ing 1-6 and be­ing in­volved for an­other 1-4, it was a sur­prise that Arklow did not put vet­eran Ciaran Hyland back on him to try curb his in­flu­ence.

Bless­ing­ton: Stephen Kitt; Barry Mur­phy, Stephen Bo­han, Caolan McGor­man; Kevin Han­lon, Wayne Cal­laghan, Kevin John Rogers; Gavin Murray, Eoin Keogh (0-1); Bryan Car­roll, Pa­trick O’Con­nor (0-1), Jack Cot­ter; Cur­tis Ger­aghty (1-0), An­thony McLough­lin (1-6), Mi­ikeyO’Con­nor (0-4).

AGB: Mervyn Travers; Karl Kirwan, James Tyrrell, Tom Ma­her; Dar­ragh Fitzger­ald, Ciaran Hyland, An­drew Ma­her; J.P. Hur­ley (0-1), Stephen Hur­ley (0-1); Peter Hem­pen­stall (0-1), Cor­mac O’Shea (0-5), Tier­nan McBride; Philip Healy (1-4), Chris O’Brien (0-3), Cathal Kelle­her. Subs: Ciaran O’Shea, Cor­mac Hyland, Cal Kelly.

Ref­eree: Kieron Kenny (Tinahely)

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