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Odlum gives Town a lift!

NEwTOWN UNITED....................... 3

WICKLOW TOWN.......................... 0

It proved third time lucky for Newtown as they retained the Jim McLaughlin Premier Trophy.

Having relinquished their hold of the Charlie Bishop Cup and Wicklow Cup to Wicklow in the previous 13 days, the Magpies ensured they ended the 2011/12 season with silverware thanks to Dean Odlum's second-half brace.

Reigning Wicklow League Player of theYear John Heffernan had slotted in an early penalty for the holders last Saturday at Finn Park, Kilcoole.

The Town, already without the suspended duo of Maurice Dunne and Eamon Wolfe, were further weakened by captain Ricki Quinn having departed on holidays and left-back John O'Loughlin pulling up injured in the warm-up.

And the encounter proved one game too many for their under-strength panel who suffered their first cup loss in 13 fixtures in the entire campaign.

From the team that lost their two-year reign in the Wicklow Cup, Newtown made no less than six changes to their starting line-up.

With Ross Odlum banned, both Jason Fitzsimons and Jason Collins were injured. One of those who came in, Billy Clarkson, was instrumental in the opening score.

Awarded a disputed spot-kick in the Charlie Bishop Cup but controversially denied another in the Wicklow Cup, United took a fourth minute lead. Dessie Waters' pin-point pass put Clarkson in off the right wing but he was brought down by David O'Connor.

And Heffernan stepped up to register his 23rd goal in all competitions.

Wicklow went agonisingly close to levelling matters in the 22nd minute as Anto Doran's surging run set up Willie Sinnott. But his drive crashed back off the frame of the goal.

Matters got worse for the Town just after the half hour when joint manager Paul Anthony 'Dido' Dunne, as well as the banned Wolfe, were removed from the touch-line by referee Michael Kennedy when protesting after play continued while Mark Johnson lay injured.

Tommy Kelly's 68th minute free almost drew the Yellow and Blues all square but it dropped just wide of the far post.

Newtown then scored twice in six minutes to get their hands on a trophy.

Heffernan linked with sub Shane Mooney who rolled Neil Martin into space on the left-wing. His cross was deflected to the back stick were the unmarked Odlum pounced with a diving header.

His persistence then paid off in the 78th minute. The forward harried Mark Delaney into losing possession on the left side of the box. Odlum then turned Matthew Byrne inside out before firing past Lar Newsome from eight-yards.

Newtown United: Paul O'Riordan; Billy Clarkson, PJ Dowling, Cathal McNicholas, Neil Martin; David Healy, Barry Davis; John Heffernan; Dessie Waters, Mark Fitzsimons; Dean Odlum. Subs: Shane Mooney (for Healy 69 mins), John Tierney (for McNicholas 81 mins), Martin Melia (for Clarkson 84 mins), Richard Franey (not used).

Wicklow Town: Lar Newsome; Denis Vickers, Mark Delaney, Tommy Kelly, David O'Connor; Sean Duffy, Matthew Byrne, Anto Doran, Mark Johnson; Willie Sinnott, Warren Gormley. Subs: David Duggan (for Gormley 64 mins), John O'Neill (for Byrne 79 mins), John O'Loughlin, Stephen Morris (both not used). Referee: Michael Kennedy.