Baltinglass young guns overcome Rathnew
Baltinglass 0-8 Rathnew 0-6
Baltinglass bridged a 13-year gap to beat arch rivals Rathnew at Aughrim yesterday and win their first Wicklow senior football title since 1994.
Rathnew made their push for victory at the start of the second half with three unanswered points from Nicky Mernagh, Leighton Glynn and Tommy Gill -- to draw level at 0-4 each.
With ten minutes to go, the sides still deadlocked at 0-6 each.
Rathnew legs started tiring as Trevor Doyle and Tommy Gill both missed point chances before Henry Sinnott and ace-free-taker JP Kelly scored winning points for Baltinglass -- with three minutes left.
The very young Slaneysiders enthusiasm, vigour and speed wore their opponents down.
However, they had to survive early scares as Tommy Gill was left unmarked in front of goal. First time goalie Quirke had to foul the Rathnew striker, conceding a point to Trevor Doyle.
Minutes later, Quirke had to come off his line again to force Gill into shooting wide.
Baltinglass brought Brian Fleming into midfield for this replay in an effort to curb the high-fielding of Rathnew's James Stafford.
Fleming had some success, but Stafford was again one of the losers' better players along with Glynn, in a roving role at corner-forward, and full-back Damien Power.
John Paul Kelly was the chief marksman for Baltinglass, scoring three of their four first half points (they led by 0-4 to 0-1 at the break), while Ciaran Foley and Brian Nolan were the shining lights in the Slaneysiders' defence.
When the chips were down, it was Rathnew who blinked as Trevor Doyle and Tommy Gill missed vital point chances in the closing stages.
Baltinglass pushed on for victory with the winning scores coming from Henry Sinnott and JP Kelly (from a free).
Scorers -- Baltinglass: JP Kelly (0-4), John McGrath (0-1f), Peter Burke, Ciaran Walshe and Henry Sinnott (0-1 each).Rathnew: Tommy Gill (0-2, 1f), Trevor Doyle (0-1f), Nicky Mernagh, Leighton Glynn and Richard Dignam (0-1 each).
Baltinglass --K. Quirke, B. Whelan, A. Nolan, B. Nolan, P. Fleming, C. Foley, A. Nolan, B. Fleming, T. Murphy, JP Kelly, S. O'Brien, J. McGrath, H. Sinnott, C. Walshe, T. Cullen. Subs: P. Burke for S. O'Brien, S. Wall for B. Fleming.
Rathnew -- P. Dignam, A. Clarke, D. Power, S. Canavan, B Mernagh, S. Byrne, S. Doherty, J. Stafford, D. Byrne, A. Mernagh, T. Doyle, R. Dignam, N. Mernagh, T. Gill, L Glynn. Subs: C. Murphy for S. Canavan.
Ref -- Declan Greene, Kilcoole.