Wicklow hang on to edge out IT Carlow after Odlum strike
Wicklow 1-9 IT Carlow 0-11
Harry Murphy was pleased to see his largely experimental Wicklow team get their campaign off to a winning start with a one-point victory over IT Carlow at rain-soaked Ashford yesterday.
Despite the conditions, both teams tried to play open flowing football and only one black card was issued minutes from the end, to Wicklow's Kevin Murphy.
Wicklow took a 1-6 to 0-6 lead into the break, thanks to a well-worked goal.
The move was started by corner-back Ciaran Hyland with a searing run down the right flank. After linking up with two of his forwards, he blasted a shot at goal, but his shot was parried.
Corner-forward Dean Odlum was lurking with intent and he volleyed to the net at the far post.
The lead was no more than Wicklow deserved as they had enjoyed the greater share of the play in the first half, but failed to put away several chances.
The students showed true grit, and inspired by the accurate shooting of Tipperary's Liam Boland, they clawed their way back to parity in the third quarter at 1-7 to 0-10
Adam Merriman put Wicklow back in front on 55 minutes and wing-back Dean Healy added what turned out to be the winner minutes later.
However, IT Carlow kept the pressure on the home team right to the finish with Boland narrowing the gap to the minimum from a well-struck '45'.
Scorers -- Wicklow: D Odlum 1-1, S Furlong (1f), P Earls (2fs), D Healy 0-2 each, P McLoughlin, A Merriman 0-1 each. IT Carlow: L Boland 0-6 (2fs, 1 '45'), T Sheil 0-2, D Hayden, T Dever, K McGrath 0-1 each.
Wicklow -- T Lambert; C Hyland, M O'Brien, M Staines; K Murphy, P McLoughlin, D Healy; N Gaffney, J Sheerin; C Murphy, P McWalter, R Finn; D Odlum, S Furlong, P Earls. Subs: A Merriman for P Earls, N Meldon for K Murphy (BC).
IT Carlow -- R Sansom; A Nolan, C Lawlor, P Crowley; E Lynch, M Mangan, K McGrath; B Kinahan, D White; D Hayden, T Dever, T Sheil; L Boland, T Durnin, B McHugh. Subs: M Gunning for T Dever, N Kane for B McHugh, A Camon for K McGrath.
Ref -- B Hickey (Carlow)