Feeney leads Mayo drive into last four
Mayo 1-15 Wicklow 0-14
TOP-SCORER scorer Kenny Feeney led his Mayo hurlers to a place in the semi-finals with a great display in Arklow.
In contrast, Wicklow were far from united in their performance, particularly their forwards, when facing a solid Mayo defence in which inside backs Adrian Brennan and Aidan Connolly were simply superb.
It meant that Wicklow had to rely on the free-taking of Mikey Lee for over half their 14 points, with Andy O'Brien having to be content with a single point over the 70 minutes.
Christy Moorehouse with three points, centre-back John Henderson and full-back Stephen Kelly started well for the home side, but the sheer weight of the pressure exerted on them by Mayo proved just too much.
Mayo were in no way inhibited, with centre-forward Feeney banging over seven points and he was helped by winger Keith Higgins with two and substitute Stephen Hoban, who landed three smashing points after he was introduced in the second half.
Feeney put Mayo in front in the second minute from a free, but Mikey Lee hit three points for Wicklow between the 17th and 21st minutes, all from frees, as the home side went on to lead to 0-8 to 0-6 at the break.
When Brian Hunt crashed home a Mayo goal 10 minutes into the new half following a searing run by Feeney, it was downhill for Wicklow from there.
Briefly Mikey Lee brought Wicklow level at 0-10 to 1-7 on 47 minutes, but points by Feeney (2) and Stephen Hoban in the next four minutes set Mayo on the road to victory.
Scorers – Mayo: K Feeney 0-7 (5fs), K Higgins 0-2, S Hoban
0-3, B Hunt 1-0, F Boland, D McDonnell, P O'Flynn 0-1 each.
Wicklow: M Lee 0-9 (8fs), C Moorehouse 0-3, A O'Brien, W O'Gorman 0-1 each.
Mayo – D O'Brien; A Brennan, A Connolly, D Kenny; D Gallagher, P Flynn, P Barrett; C Charlton, B Higgins; S Regan, K Feeney, K Higgins; B Hunt, D McDonnell, F Boland. Subs: G Nolan for D Gallagher, S Hoban for F Boland, J Kennedy for P Barrett.
Wicklow – T Kennedy; G Bermingham, S Kelly, E Dunne; G Byrne, J Henderson, S Byrne; E Kearns, R Keddy; C Moorehouse, M Lee, J O'Neill; A O'Brien, W O'Gorman, D Staunton. Subs: L Kennedy for E Kearns, B Cuddihy for G. Bermingham, G Keogh for W O'Gorman.
Ref – S Cleere (Kilkenny)