Sharpshooter O'Neill opts to take his point
Wicklow 0-14 Derry 1-11
An injury-time point by Jonathan O'Neill from a penalty secured Wicklow a share of the points at Aughrim yesterday.
This was the fourth meeting of the teams in two years and there was never more than a puck of a ball in it in the three previous matches, all won by Wicklow.
Derry came to Aughrim determined to reverse that trend and they hit the ground running, Jarlath Mulholland and Ruairi Convery easing them into an early two-point lead.
And when Andy O'Brien halved the deficit, Derry responded immediately when Shane Farren blasted to the net before hitting a free to put the northerners 1-3 to 0-1 ahead after nine minutes.
Gradually Wicklow clawed their way back to take a 0-9 to 1-5 lead at the break.
Derry again set the pace after the restart with a brace of points from the impressive Farren and another from Convery.
The sides were level three times during the second half but Derry were forcing Wicklow to play catch-up and they held a 1-11 to 0-13 advantage as the game went into injury-time.
Wicklow kept plugging away, with corner-back Jim Connors playing a stormer.
And in injury-time, Andy O'Brien was brought down after rounding his man. It must have been tempting for O'Neill to go for broke from the penalty, but prompted from the sideline, he opted to take a safe equaliser.
Man of the Match: Jim Connors (Wicklow)
Scorers -- Wicklow: J O'Neill 0-11 (8f), A O'Brien, E Glynn, R Keddy 0-1 each. Derry: S Farren 1-4 (3f), R Convery 0-4 (1f), O McCloskey, P McCloskey, J Mulholland 0-1 each.
Wicklow -- J Murphy 7; Jim Connors 9, G Keogh 6, E Dunne 5; T Doyle 6, B Cuddihy 6, G Bermingham 7; E Kearns 7, R Keddy 6; J Quirke 5, S Kelly 6, W O'Gorman 6; A O'Brien 7, J O'Neill 8, E Glynn 6. Subs: P Farrell for J Quirke, J Connors for E Dunne.
Derry -- O Doherty 6; J McCloskey 7, R McCloskey 7, L Hawkins 6; M Warnock 6, A McCloskey 7, L Hinphey 7; O McCloskey 7, D McCloskey 7; R Convery 7, J Mulholland 6, A Grant 6; S Farren 8, P McCloskey 8, A Kelly 6. Subs: K Gilmore for A Kelly, S McGuigan for J Mulholland, C Convery for M Warnock, S McNicholl for A Grant.
Ref -- D Hughes (Carlow)