The Wicklow Minor Football team were unable to repeat their heroics of last year as they lost to Dublin 0-20 to 1-09 in Joule Park Aughrim.
The Wicklow team came into the quarter-final full of optimism after getting big score line victories over Kilkenny and Louth in their previous two games. They knew it was going to be a difficult task but they took confidence in the fact that they managed to shock the Dubs last year at the same stage. Wicklow had a team full of talent showcasing what the county really has to offer and they weren’t going to fear anybody.
Wicklow needed to have a good start if they had any chance of toppling “the Dubs”. They began the brighter, looking lively on the ball with Captain Cillian McDonald and Arun Daly Danne getting early runs in possession. It was a dominant first 10 minutes for the home side as scores from forward Matthew Ging and the impressive Shane Daly put them into a 0-2 to 0-1 lead. However, this was the only fruitful period for the Wicklow men in the first half.
The Wicklow men looked comfortable running with the ball in the middle of the park but they struggled to get the ball into the box and into prolific forward Eoin Doyle who has been the top-scorer this championship as they were met with tough defence. Wicklow were forced to take shots from long range that ultimately turned into wides . On the other hand the young Dubs were clinical in front of the sticks scoring from all angles. The Visitors also drew a few frees when they ran at their opposing defenders. Fionn Murray was on fire all day scoring a total of 0-6 points. The men from the Capital went into the break with a 0-12 to 0-3 lead.
The garden county men knew they needed to hit back early with some big scores if they had any chance of making a remarkable comeback. However, the boys in blue continued with their jobs as they extended their lead by three points with scores from Alex Rogers twice and Fionn Murray.
Trailing by 12 points and looking down and out, Wicklow had no choice but to throw caution to the wind and chase the lead. Wicklow started to dominate possession as they ran at their opponents at speed causing them problems. Daly’s efforts never stopped as he looked very lively on the ball throughout and especially in the second half. In the 49th minute Wicklow’s pressure paid off as wing-forward Joe Prendergast scored a goal to reduce the deficit to 0-16 to 1-6.
Wicklow kept pressing forward. The home side were then awarded a penalty as one of the umpires made the referee aware of an off the ball incident. Ging’s penalty was stopped by a great save by Hugh O’Sullivan. Ging almost had a chance to redeem himself as he looked set to score a goal, but Dublin’s corner back Conor Tyrell made a fine save of his own on the line.
Dublin closed the game out professionally with scores from Luke Swan and two from substitute Luke Curran in injury time. The game finished 1-9 to 0-20 as the young Dubs now progress to the semi-finals. Wicklow fell short on the day, but there was definitely positive signs from this campaign that suggest there is plenty of talent available for the future in Wicklow Football.
SCORERS – Dublin: F Murray 0-6 (0-3f, 0-1 ‘45’), A Rogers 0-4, R O’Dwyer 0-3 (0-2f), L Curran 0-2, L Murphy-Guinane, S Kinsella, R Bolger, L Swan, R Keogh 0-1 each. Wicklow: S Daly 0-4, J Prendergast 1-1, M Ging 0-3 (0-2f), T Keogh 0-1.
Match Report by Ciaron Noble
Ciaron is currently studying journalism and hopes to become a sports journalist. He has got a big passion for the football and is hoping to try and get into the local football this summer and for the future. We wish Ciaran every success and he has obviously got the skills to have a very successful career ahead of him. We have great admiration for the brilliant Sports Journalists around like Brendan Lawrence and hopefully one of the local professional publications can offer Ciaron a role.
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