League hopes end

Wick­low fin­ish in third de­spite de­cent win over Derry

Bray People - - SPORT - RICHARD CLUNE at Bray Em­mets GAA Club

WICK­LOW left it all too late and all too dif­fi­cult in their at­tempt to qual­ify for the league fi­nal and go one step fur­ther than last year.

To qual­ify they had to beat Derry well and hope that other re­sults went their way, namely Mayo beat­ing Down and Done­gal get­ting the up­per hand on Ar­magh. Done­gal held up their side of the bar­gain, but Down’s vic­tory over Mayo qual­i­fied both for the league fi­nal.

It was a scrappy af­fair that never re­ally ig­nited. Wick­low chugged their way into an eight-point lead mid­way through the sec­ond half and then ap­peared to shift down the gears and coast to the end of the match. They very nearly got caught.

Derry were the quick­est from the start line and led by five points to two af­ter 11 min­utes. They at­tempted to find Cor­mac O’Do­herty in that open­ing quar­ter and he hit two points along with set­ting team­mate Colm Mur­phy for a third. Grad­u­ally Stephen Kelly man­aged to off­set his in­flu­ence though while his team­mates out the field got a foothold in the game.

Once Wick­low with­stood that early on­slaught they gath­ered some speed and scored 1-04 with­out re­ply in the next eigh­teen min­utes, along with cre­at­ing nu­mer­ous goal chances.

The first goal chance was blocked out for a con­verted 65 by Andy O’Brien be­fore Ge­orge O’Brien scored a quick­fire 1-01. Em­met Byrne won back pos­ses­sion on the end line and found John Con­nors in space whose long ball landed in O’Brien’s hand. He skipped past a de­fender and hit the back of the net.

The two O’Briens added an­other point each and Wick­low had taken con­trol of the game.

Mid­fielder Mark McGuigan stopped the bleed­ing for Derry with a lovely score from an acute an­gle in­side the 21 me­tre line. Alan Grant scored an­other free to keep Derry in the game un­til a few mo­ments be­fore half time Andy O’Brien worked his way in to­wards goal and kicked the ball past Kirk­patrick.

The teams traded a cou­ple of scores late in the half and Wick­low went in at half time lead­ing by six points, 2-08 to 0-08.

Once again Derry started the sec­ond half the bet­ter team, Grant got his first from play and cen­tre for­ward Mee­haul McGrath mus­cled his way past a few tack­lers to hit the back of the net. Wick­low pleaded for a free out but ref­eree Peter Burke didn’t see it that way.

Wick­low re­sponded well how­ever and hit 1-02 within three min­utes to create a seven point lead. First John Con­nors scored two from play be­fore Andy O’Brien got his sec­ond goal when he won a long ball from War­ren Ka­vanagh, with a lit­tle help from Seanie Ger­maine, and hit the back of the net.

Derry were then handed a life­line with the dis­missal of Padraig Doyle for an off the ball in­ci­dent with Mee­haul McGrath who went down in a heap scream­ing at the lines­man. Doyle was per­plexed with the de­ci­sion.

That gave Derry lots of pos­ses­sion and space which they ex­ploited though Andy O’Brien did get the next score of the game for Wick­low af­ter a nice pass from Ro­nan Keddy.

Goal­keeper Michael Kirk­patrick was able to find a team­mate with his puck outs and Derry cre­ated lots of space in the Wick­low half. Bren­dan Quigley, Grant and Naoise Wal­dron prof­ited from this with a point each.

This brought Derry to within five points and Aod­han O’Don­nell’s goal fol­low­ing a mis­take by Robert Fitzger­ald made it a two-point game.

Derry couldn’t get any closer how­ever, not scor­ing for the fi­nal ten min­utes as they lobbed high balls in around the Wick­low square for a con­so­la­tion goal.

Wick­low’s de­fence wasn’t breached how­ever and John Con­nors with a cou­ple of frees and a Ro­nan Keddy point from play saw Wick­low cross the line first, five-point win­ners.

Derry now face a rel­e­ga­tion bat­tle with Ar­magh while Wick­low won’t play again un­til the first round of the Christy Ring Cup in May.

Scor­ers – Wick­low: Andy O’Brien (1 65, 1f) 2-04; Gerry O’Brien 1-03; John Con­nors (2f) 0-05; D Staunton 0-02; Ro­nan Keddy 0-01.

Derry: Alan Grant (3f) 0-05; Mee­haul McGrath 1-01; Aod­han O’Don­nell 1-00; Cor­mac O’Do­herty 0-02; Liam Mur­phy, Mark McGuigan, Colm Mur­phy, Bren­dan Quigley, Naoise Wal­dron 0-01 each.

Wick­low: Robert Fitzger­ald; Em­met Byrne, Stephen Kelly, Martin O’Brien; Garry Byrne, War­ren Ka­vanagh, Ea­monn Kearns; Ro­nan Keddy, Danny Staunton; John Con­nors, John Hen­der­son, Seanie Ger­maine; Padraig Doyle, Andy O’Brien, Ge­orge O’Brien. Subs: Jack Doyle for Seanie Ger­maine (56 mins); Peter Keane for Garry Byrne (61 mins); Billy Cud­dihy for Martin O’Brien (64 mins); Eoin McCor­mack for Andy O’Brien (69 mins).

Derry: Michael Kirk­patrick; Niall Far­ran, Pa­trick Turner, Dar­ragh McCloskey; Naoise Wal­dron, Ciaran Steele, Jack Phe­lan; Thomas Magee, Mark McGuigan; Alan Grant, Mee­haul McGrath, Colm Mur­phy; Liam Mur­phy, Cor­mac O’Do­herty, Dar­ragh Cartin. Subs: John Mul­lan for Pa­trick Turner (23 mins); Niall Smyth for Liam Mur­phy (HT); Aod­han O’Don­nell for Dar­ragh Cartin (38 mins); Bren­dan Quigley for Thomas Magee (45 mins); Tim Rankin for Alan Grant (58 mins, inj.).

Ref­eree: Peter Burke (Kilkenny)

Martin O’Brien’s mother May cel­e­brat­ing Mother’s Day with a cold out­ing to Bray with her daugh­ters Therese and Caitri­ona and grand­chil­dren ÓisÍn and Eirin Meyler.

Derry’s Dar­ragh McCloskey holds on tight to Wick­low’s Andy O’Brien in Bray. Pho­tos: Bar­bara Flynn

Derry’s Ea­mon Kearns loses his hurl as John Hen­der­son drives for­ward.

Padraig Doyle looks to se­cure pos­ses­sion against Derry.

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