O'Connor beauty at the death earns fair result
Wicklow and Carlow played out a draw in a Minor football friendly at Baltinglass on Saturday.
Conditions were all against good football; a very strong, but curling wind, blowing mostly into the road made it difficult. Carlow had first use of that wind but it was Wicklow that saw most of the ball in the first 10 minutes.
Then a freak goal turned the game Carlow's way. A high lob from roving full forward Conor O'Toole from close to midfield hopped just outside the square and as the Wicklow backs and goalie got their calls mixed went straight to the empty net.
It gave Carlow a great boost and five minutes later they were in for another goal.
Paddy O'Connor got Wicklow's first point in the 18th minute. They wasted a number of chances before the impressive Darren Walsh moved up from his half back position to send over another point. Walsh, from the Newtown club was injured a few minutes later and took no more part in the game.
Half time - Carlow 2-2; Wicklow 0-2.
It was in the third quarter that Wicklow disappointed most. Wicklow appeared to have the game for the taking at that stage but could make no use of the strong wind.
It was Carlow that got the first point but Paddy O'Connor pulled one back for Wicklow. The game had entered the last quarter when Wicklow at last came to life.
Eoin Murtagh who had moved up to the forwards kicked over a point. A somewhat subdued Mickey O'Connor got another and when Gary Allen got through for a goal there was only a point in it. Wicklow continued to press but were losing possession far too easily.
It was Mikey O'Connor that got the next point and the sides were level. We were waiting for Wicklow to go ahead and press the destruct button but it was Carlow that found another gear and took the lead again.
This time it was the hard working Martin Shannon that brought Wicklow back to level terms. With just a minute to go Carlow got what looked like the winning point.
There was time for one more Wicklow attack. They won a very difficult free out near the sideline and Mikey O'Connor sent over a beauty.
A draw was a fair result but on this form Wicklow still have a lot of work to do before they take on Meath in the championship in Navan.
We are not going to pass judgment on any players after a game played in such conditions so we will give you the full panel and you can take it that the first 15 were in the starting line out - Kyle Flynn; David Gettings, Sean O'Brien, Brian Miley; Martin Cullen, Eoin Murtagh (0-1), Darren Walsh (0-1); Eoin Baker, Shane Lohan; Martin Shannon, Gary Allen (1-0), Patrick O'Connor (0-2); Brendan Behan, Jack Gilligan, Mikey O'Connor (0-3). Panel: Ian Murphy, Bradley Delaney/Byrne, Caolan McGorman, Conor Kenny, Conor Ryan, Darren Beevor, Eoin McCormack, Jordan Nolan, Liam Kinsella, Donnachadh O Midheach, Pat Burke, Stephen Connor, Stephen Cruise, Sean McGraynor, Bobby Greenan and Dylon Terry.
Referee - Garrett Whelan, Kiltegan.