Baltinglass waltz to win over St Pat's
GAA: SFL Division 1 - St Patrick's 0-7 Baltinglass 3-12
Sean O'Brien got his tenure over the Baltinglass Senior footballers off to the best possible start when his eager charges demolished the challenge of the defending champions in Dunbur Park last Saturday evening in their opening SFL Division 1 clash.
Both sides were without key figures due to county duty - Dean Healy and stephen Duffy for Pat's, Mark Jackson and Dan Kelly for Baltinglass - but nevertheless, the manner of this defeat will give Casey O'Brien plenty of food for thought ahead of a very tricky journey to Hollywood this Friday evening.
Sean O'Brien will be delighted with this opening day devouring of the champions as he looks to stamp his own unique brand of passion and energy on the west side fror the coming season and take them back to the pinnacle of Wicklow club football. He won't be getting carried away after a February win by the sea, but he will acknowledge the boost it will have given his charges ahead of a home meeting with Kiltegan this Friday evening.
A bright start for Pat's that resulted in an early Jonathan Delahunt point was soon wiped out by points from Jason Kennedy and Jordan Deans.
Heavy hits and saucy challenges resulted in the blood rising in both teams and made referee John O'Brien work for his match fee.
St Pat's suffered a major setback around this time when full-back Shane Murley was forced off with a head injury.
Former county star John McGrath began to take control of this game, but he was being challenged for dominance by Tommy Kelly at the opposite side of the field who was having to deal with two markers at times.
Kelly would bag three points in that opening half and help send his side in at the breaking leading by 0-7 to 0-6 with nobody foreseeing the collapse that was to follow from the county champions.
Peader Burke got the ball rolling for Baltinglass immediately after the restart and for the next 30 minutes it was all the visitors as they dominated in every sector of the field.
Three goals in seven minutes proved fatal.
The first arrived from the boot of John McGrath who walloped past Simon Alexander into the top corner, Peadar Burke got the fist to a McGrath ball from a 45 and then Jordan Deans sloooted home after being picked out by Mikey English to finish the job.
Casey O'Brien's men battled as bravely as they could in the face of the Baltinglass dominance, but they would fail to score in that second half in what was probably the most worrying aspect for Casey O'Brien.
Scorers - Baltinglass: John McGrath 1-3, Peadar Burke 1-1, Jordan Deans 1-1, Jason Kennedy 0-2, Adam McHugh 0-2, Chris Heaslip 0-2, John Murphy 0-1.
St Patrick's: Tommy Kelly 0-3, Jack Dunne 0-1, Jonathan Delahunt 0-1, John Crowe 0-1, Paul Earls 0-1.
St Patrick's: Simon Alexander, Padraig O'Kane, Shane Morley, Wayne Doyle, Ciaran Doyle, Patrick McWalter, John Crowe, Jonathan Delahunt, Ronan Murray, Jack Dunne, Paul Earls, Paul O'Brien, Jordan Pettigrew, James Kavanagh, Tommy Kelly. Subs: Matthew Traynor for Shane Murley, Eamon Wolfe for Ronan Murray, Donal Fitzgerald for James Kavanagh, Jack Kelly for Paul Earls, Ryan Doyle for Jordan Pettigrew
Baltinglass: Willie Hanlon, Paddy Kirwan, Tom Burke, Ian Sherrin, Pat Burke, Jason Kennedy, Stephen Heaslip, Micheal English, Cian Lee, Sean Doody, Adam McHugh, John McGrath, Chris Heaslip, Peader Burke, Jordan Deans. Subs: Sean O'Brien for Michael English, Johnny Keogh for Chris Heaslip, John Murphy for Stephen Heaslip, Paddy Whelan for Pat Burke, Niall Kirwan for Cian Lee
Referee: John O'Brien