SANTA CLAUS has treated us to some early Christmas presents in the form of a couple of giant-killings and a hatful of goals throughout the Wicklow Cup this weekend.
There was a rather astonishing 71 goals fired in between the 12 ties and we were also treated to two Premier Division sides crashing out at the expense of a pair of Division 3 outfits.
Fairwood Celtic and Arklow United B were the two teams that claimed top flight scalps. Fairwood Celtic's victims were Enniskerry YC. First half goals from John Blake and PJ O'Keefe set the Dunne's Field club on their way and the cupset was confirmed when Tony Darcy added a third in the second period. The Division 3 league leaders marched on.
High-flying Arklow United B proved to be a banana skin for BBK United at Brittas Park; edging past their hosts by four goals to three. Alan McBride (2), Alan O'Neill and Richie Neary all secured temporary hero statuses as their goals ousted the Premier Division side from the competition. Evergreen Deccie Byrne (2) and Willie Sinnott notched for the home side.
There were no other upsets this weekend but there were plenty of goals. Eleven of those goals came at the Bridgewater Centre Park at the meeting of Seaview Wanderers and Arklow Town. Unfortunately for Wanderers, ten of those goals fell to the 'away' side. John Fennell struck a hattrick against the Division 2 opposition, Gavin Doyle managed a brace, while Willy Kavanagh, Cliff Whelan, Lee Kenny, Anto Kenny and Peter Smith all contributed singles.
While Gavin Doyle may have felt a bit special for bagging that hat-trick, he certainly was not alone in achieving that accomplishment. Danny Quinn and Jonathan Byrne both hit the net thrice as Rathnew AFC B cruised to a 7-0 success over Fassaroe YC. Centre half Jason Devlin added the Shamrock Park Club's other effort.
And there was one more man who went home with a match ball tucked under their arm; Wolfe Tone Celtic's Robbie Healy. The young striking ace hit a treble against Conary United as he helped the Bray side to a 6-1 win. Corey Bishop (2) and Robbie Mullen were also on target for the Division 1 side against their Division 2 opponents.
Wicklow Town may be a very different side from the team that lifted the cup that last season but they remain in the hunt to retain the trophy following their 4-1 triumph over Newtown United B. Singles from Eddie Kelly, Cathal Doyle, Niall Manning and Eric Dunne eased the Finlay Park side into the next round. Conor Eccleston scored for the Magpies.
Shillelagh United have also tasted success in this completion in recent seasons and they're still on course to do so again. The Ballard club had to deal with the challenge of Division 3's Greystones United and did so with supreme ease; smashing six past the Seasiders. Martin Kelly (2), Mark Collins, Don Jackman, Cillian Doyle and David Cullen all found a way past the 'Stones goalkeeper at the Woodlands.
St. Patrick's also hit their challengers for six this weekend. MK Dons stood in their way of the next round but a facile 6-1 victory over the Arklow side secured the Saints' passage to the next round. Adam Tuke and Martin Kenny both bagged braces against the Dons, with John Kavanagh and Patrick Kennedy weighing in with singles.
Aughrim Rangers of Division 1 went one better than Shillelagh United and St. Patrick's as they recorded a 7-0 win over St. Fergal's B. Jason Cush and Conor Phelan both struck twice for Rangers, with Darren Thompson, Keith Stephens and Liam Keenan chipping in with singles.
The Premier Division's top and bottom sides, St. Anthony's and Arklow Celtic A, also safely negotiated their way into the next round at the weekend.
A trip to Division 3's Carnew United didn't prove too daunting a task for Anto's as they racked up a 0-5 win. Darren Collopy and Patrick Woods ended the match with a double apiece, with midfielder Robbie O'Gara also finding the net.
Arklow Celtic A had Division 2 club Redbank United to deal with but also advanced with relative ease courtesy of a 0-3 victory. Edwin Walker, Mike Doyle and Jonathan Quinn were their goalscorers in Moneystown.
Last but not least, Avonmore FC B ensured that giant-killers Fairwood Celtic and Arklow United B would not be the only sides representing the fourth tier in the next stage as they got the better of Shamrock Celtic in their all-Division 3 clash in Celtic Park. Wes O'Toole's double was enough to hand the Rathdrum side a 1-2 success.