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murphy hat-trick as arklow hit six

Wicklow Town .......................1

Arklow Town A ......................6

Jack Tim Murphy banged in a superb treble as Arklow took a major step towards the Wicklow League/South Dublin Under 18 Youth Division crown.

In the battle of the top two placed clubs last Saturday at FinlayPark, the visitors led 4-1 at the break before claiming a decisive 6-1 victory.

With five wins and three walk-over's before kick off, the away side now need to secure 14 points from their remaining seven matches to become champions.

Arklow fielded without Irish Colleges player Daniel Ledwith (suspended) and influential captain James Scallan.

But got off to the best possible start and took the lead after just 40 seconds.

From Ciaran Byrne's right wing cross, the ball was flicked on. And Irish Schools international Murphy smashed in a stunning first time back stick volley from 16-yards.

Wicklow - leaders of the section beforehand by four points but having played three more times than Arklow - started with their suspended first choice central defensive pair of Eamonn Wolfe and Simon Dunne.

Yet they levelled just four minutes later. Divisional top-scorer Trevor Doyle showed persistence along the left flank to send over a high hanging delivery.

And Aaron Barry inadvertently sliced his clearance into the roof of his own net.

But the full-back put that OG behind him to go on and have a major bearing on the end result.

Arklow went back in front in the 17th minute. Keith Armstrong's long range shot hit the inside of the post and bounced clear.

But as play developed, Barry tried his luck from 20-yards. It proved too hot for Colin Smullen to handle and Darragh Culleton's pull back left Murphy with a simple tap-in.

They went further ahead in the 24th minute. Armstrong linked with Barry. The defender then played a left wing one-two with Murphy and

sent in a low cross which Adam Hanlon - another Irish Schools cap - bundled in at the back-post.

Murphy turned provider in first half stoppage time.

His left footed corner from the right was powered in by Barry's brilliant header.

Barry was the creative force behind their fifth in the 67th minute. Heagain got to the by-line and picked out Hanlon who scored with a ten-yard half volley.

Arklow wrapped up the success in the 73rd minute with a sweeping move. Armstrong and Barry were again involved down the left channel Sub Jonathan Kelty pulled the ball for Murphy to register his 13th goal in all competitions this season.

Wicklow Town: Colin Smullen; Anthony Byrne, Dean Leonard, Kevin Wylie, Dean Healy; Theo O'Leary, Sean Duffy, Mikey Dunne, Sean Knowd; Graham Dowling, Trevor Doyle. Subs: Joshua Graham (for O'Leary), Vinny Clarke (for Dowling) (both

half time), Eamon Gaffney (for Doyle 71 mins), Brian Shannon (not used).

Arklow Town A: Cormac O'Brien; Ciaran Byrne, Paul Rice, Karl Kirwan,

Aaron Barry; Adam Hanlon, Keith Armstrong, Clive Crammond, Jack Tim Murphy; Dara Verney, Darragh Culleton. Subs: Jonathan Kelty (for Culleton 53 mins), Ciaran Burke, Cian Ryan (both not used).

Referee: Paul O'Brien.