Higgins' late burst decisive for Rossies
ROSCOMMON 3-14 WICKLOW 2-16
Midfielder Kevin Higgins scored a goal and a point in the closing stages to give Roscommon victory in a thrilling top-of-the-table clash in Aughrim.
Wicklow had eased into a five-point lead in the third quarter and looked to be on their way to victory, but then Higgins landed the killer blows that turned the game in favour of the Westerners.
Wicklow's defence was guilty of slack marking for Higgins' goal on 61 minutes, and he duly punished them by drilling a terrific shot to the net to give the Connacht champions a 3-13 to 2-13 lead entering the closing stages.
Wicklow fought back with points by Leighton Glynn, Seanie Furlong and Austin O'Malley, but their efforts were not enough to reel in Roscommon, with Higgins popping over the winner on 70 minutes.
Wicklow had the wind on their backs in the first half but their early 0-5 to 0-2 lead was wiped out by John Rogers on 18 minutes when he volleyed to the net. Ten minutes later Furlong boxed home at the far post to give Wicklow a 1-7 to 1-6 lead at the break.
Karl Mannion rifled in a shot to put Roscommon in front just after the restart; from the kick-out O'Malley goaled with a scorcher.
Wicklow hit a purple patch and points by Furlong and O'Malley stretched their lead by 2-11 to 2-6 after 48 minutes. However, Roscommon put in a storming last 20 minutes, with Higgins' scores proving decisive.
Man of the Match: Kevin Higgins (Roscommon)
Scorers -- Roscommon: J Rogers 1-3 (2f), K Higgins 1-2, K Mannion 1-1, C Devaney, D Shine (2f, 1 '45') 0-3 each, S O'Grady 0-2 Wicklow: S Furlong 1-8 (4f), A O'Malley 1-4 (1f), L Glynn 0-3, P Earls 0-1.
Roscommon -- G Claffey 6; S McDermott 6, D Ward, 6, P Domican 6; N Carty 6, D Keenan 7, S Purcell 6; M Finneran 8, K Higgins 8; K Mannion 7, D Shine 7, C Cregg 6; J Rogers 8, S O'Grady 7, S Dunning 6. Subs: C Devaney 6 for Dunning, P Garvey 6 for Cregg.
Wicklow -- J Flynn 6; P Higgins 6, A Byrne 6, C Hyland 6; P Dalton 6, B McGrath 6, D Hayden 7; J Stafford 8, R Finn 6; T Hannon 6, P Cunningham 6, JP Dalton 6; A O'Malley 7, S Furlong 8, L Glynn 8. Subs: D Siney 6 for JP Dalton, P Earls 6 for Cunningham.
Ref -- B O'Shea (Dublin).