GAA Celtic Challenge and Leinster PP semi-final - Wicklow 4-11 Westmeath 2-09
The Wicklow minor hurlers got off to a dream start in this year's Celtic Challenge, Minor Championship. They beat Westmeath in Abbotstown on a score line 4-11 to 2-9. David Maloney of Bray Emmets picked up the Man of the match award after a dominant display in the middle of the park.
Wicklow were the first to convert and set the tempo of the game. Aftersome impressive interlinked play between the midfield and forwards, Wicklow found themselves 1-2 ahead before Westmeath registered a point.
A superb goal by Avondale's Zach Cullen was orchestrated with a hint of 'Samba' style passing between all the forwards and sparked real sense of belief among the young Garden County hurlers. With their opening score, Westmeath pushed on to narrow the lead 1-2 to 0-3. Fresh legs in the forward line in the shape of Paddy Morehouse (St. Patricks) five minutes before the break sparked a cluster of scores.
Half-time: Wicklow 1-6, Westmeath 0-5.
An aggressive start to the second half proved costly, as a calm Westmeath half-forward line sniffed out lose ball and converted three points on the trot.
Some positional changes and substitutes settled the blues back into their game plan. Aughrim's Dara Owens came out to shut down the midlander's main treat, attack after attack. After Brandon Ryan (Kiltegan) took a heavy knock, Eoin Kavanagh (Carnew) sat back into the centre back position and Brian Keogh (Hollywood) was introduced in the middle of the park.
A free from wing forward PJ O'Connor (Arklow) meant all the Wicklow forwards got on the score sheet. With 10 minutes to play Wicklow lead 4-10 to 0-8. The inside forward line of Torna Mulconroy, Paddy Moorehous and Rory Lamb (Bray Emmets) were Awesome. Speed, power, decision making and finishing.
Great performances across the pitch, In particular the defensive play from Dara Owens and James Mging (Carnew). The Mid field pairing dominated from start to finish while all of the forwards impressed. Headaches ahead for the management team.
Legs were tired, but the panel was big. A promising performance from these young men and plenty to work on. Next up is Carlow in Fennagh Center of Excellence next Wednesday, May 9, at 7.30pm.
Full Time: Wicklow 4-11, Westmeath 2-9
Wicklow: C Connolly (Aughrim); Neill Browne (Eire Og), James McGing (Carnew), Des Byrne (Arklow); Dara Owens (Aughrim), Brandon Ryan (Kiltegan), Darren Reilly (Arklow); David Maloney (Bray), Eoin Kavanagh (Carnew); PJ O'Connor (Arklow), Seanie McDonnagh (Bray), Zach Cullen (Avondale); Rory Lamb (Bray), Oisin O'Neill (Glenealy), Torna Mulconroy (Ballinacor). Subs: Shane Brown for Darren Reilly; Paddy Moorehouse for Oisin O'Neill; Liam Somers for Torna Mulconroy; Brian Keogh for Brandon Ryan; Cian O'Neill for Des Byrne; Adam Bushe for Neill Browne; Tim Byrne for James McGing; Michael Timmons for Zach Cullen; Jack Murray for Dara Owens.