Sunday 26 March 2017

Micko's run comes to an end

Marie Crowe

Marie Crowe

Mick O'Dwyer's fairytale run with Wicklow came to an end in front of 6,500 people in Aughrim last night. In the end, his fate was sealed by talented young Armagh forward Jamie Clarke, who hit the net twice in his side's five-point win in the qualifiers.

Wicklow did get off to the better start and led in the early stages until Clarke went on a surging run through the Wicklow defence to get the first of his goals after 19 minutes.

Wicklow rallied, just as they had in last weekend's dramatic drawn encounter in Armagh, but Clarke's second goal after 45 minutes swung the momentum in this marathon encounter in the Northerners' favour.

In Navan, Kildare continue to hold sway over Meath. In a thrilling game Kieran McGeeney's side won by 2-11 to 0-14 to record their third championship win over Meath in less than a year. Emmet Bolton, fresh from injury, was the hero for Kildare as he scored 1-1 in a crucial three-minute spell late in the second half to finally break the stout resistance of Seamus McEnaney's side.

Kildare now face the losers of today's Ulster final between Donegal and Derry in six day's time.

"The two Ulster teams are fierce good, Donegal play a very defensive game it will be very hard to break them down and then Derry play a running game so whatever way it turns out we are going to have to adjust our game." said man of the match Bolton afterwards.

Meath played against the wind in the first half and thanks to Cian Ward who kicked five out of their seven opening half scores, they were just two points behind Kildare going in at the break.

But Kildare once again proved they are a second-half team. Bolstered by a superior fitness level, they mounted a second half attack and buried Meath in the last 10 minutes.

Down also advanced last night, at the expense of neighbours Antrim in Casement Park.

It took the home side 17 minutes to register their first score but still they found themselves trailing by just a solitary point at half-time.

Antrim got the second half off to the start they wanted with Brendan Herron getting a point to level the game and Gerard O'Boyle kicked another take the lead with the wind at their backs.

However Down rallied, and once Conor Laverty and Martin Clarke struck for goals the game was up. Caolan Mooney added a third in a 3-13 to 0-10 win.

In the Gaelic Grounds Limerick took to the field without their hurlers for the second week running and made hard work of seeing off Waterford.

Meath referee Cormac Reilly again courted controversy in the Championship when he awarded Waterford a first-half penalty, before reversing the decision after consulting his umpires. Limerick went on to win by five points.

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