A successful championship start for Wicklow Schools
WICKLOW'S first venture into the Leinster Post Primary Schools Senior football A championship got off to a successful start on Friday in Dundalk.
A battling second half performance gave them a deserved seven point over a fancied Dundalk Colleges side.
The first half was evenly contested. Wicklow had a dream start with Brendan Behan finding the net in the second minute.
Dean Maguire soon got a goal at the other end, Wicklow managed to keep the lead for most of the first half with Mikey O'Connor and Niall Hughes scoring some good points but Dundalk scored the final two points of the half to send the teams in for half time with a score of 1-6 each.
Dundalk Colleges will rue some of the wides they had in the first half including a few scoreable frees as they had enjoyed a slight wind advantage in that period.
Wicklow came out for the second half looking very determined and dominated the third quarter. During that 15 minutes they added six points without reply; a number of them were from frees but this was because of the pressure put on the Dundalk backs.
A Cormac Byrne point soon followed to put the visitors seven ahead but they did not score again for 12 minutes as Dundalk came back into the game. Three points for the home side reduced the margin to four with six minutes remaining and they tried hard for a goal.
However, the Wicklow defence stood firm and a Niall Hughes point in the 28th minute was followed by long range ones by Shane Lohan who had just been introduced and Darren Walsh.
Dundalk kept on battling and in injury time were awarded a penalty which Robert Curran blasted high and wide leaving Wicklow deserving seven points winners.
This was a very entertaining game between two footballing sides and Meath referee, Tom Lorton, did not have to produce a card of any colour at any stage.
Wicklow were the better team overall but will need to improve to advance further. The defence battled well but could not afford to give the same amount of chances to a more accurate forward line.
The high fielding Niall Hughes was impressive at midfield but he was given fine support especially in the second half.
Mikey O'Connor was their most dangerous forward on the day but a total of only 1-2 from the other nine forwards will be a cause of concern.
Great credit must also go to the mentors Hugh Kenny, Paul Garrigan, and Tom Fox of Scoil Chonglais.
SCORERS: Niall Hughes 0-7 (0-5 frees), Mikey O'Connor 0-6 (0-3frees), Brendan Behan 1-0, Stephen Cruise, Cormac Byrne, Darren Walsh and Shane Lohan 0-1 each.
WICKLOW SCHOOLS : Ian Murphy (Col Chill Mhantain), David Gethings (Scoil Chonglais Baltinglass), Eoin Murtagh (St Kevin's CC Dunlavin), Brian Miley (St Kevin's CC Dunlavin), Martin Cullen (Col Chill Mhantain), Ruairi Marron (East Glendalough School), Darren Walsh (Presentation Col Bray), Cormac Byrne (St David's Greystones), Niall Hughes (Colaiste Bhride Carnew), Eoghan Marah (Col Chraobh Abhann Kilcoole), Stephen Cruise (Col Chill Mhantain), Brendan Behan (Colaiste Bhride Carnew), Jordan Petticrew (Col Chill Mhantain), Eoin Baker (Gaelcholaiste na Mara Arklow), Mikey O'Connor (St Kevin's (CC Dunlavin). SUBS: Gary Allen (St Kevin's CC Dunlavin) for J Petticrew; Patrick O'Connor (St Kevin's CC Dunlavin) for B Behan, Shane Lohan (Colaiste Raithin Bre) for S Cruise, Sean O'Brien (East Glendalough School) for E Marah.