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O'Brien helps to ease Wicklow's relegation fears

Wicklow 1-16 Mayo 1-13, Allianz NHL Division 2A

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Wicklow's Andy O'Brien. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Wicklow's Andy O'Brien. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Wicklow's Andy O'Brien. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Wicklow eased their relegation worries in this hard-fought win over Mayo at a wind-swept Centre of Excellence in Bekan yesterday.

Andy O'Brien proved to be the key man for the visitors, proving equally adept with his free-taking into the wind as he was against it and finishing the game with 12 points, including one from play.

Mayo, who now have a relegation headache after their third defeat, looked well in this game despite conceding a first-half goal which left them trailing by 1-9 to 0-6 at the break having played into the teeth of a very strong wind in the first half.

When Cathal Freeman scored from the penalty spot early in the second half, the home side looked to be in a strong position to secure their first win in the league and they looked even stronger when points from Eoin Delaney and Fergal Boland pared it back to just a point - 1-10 to 1-9 - going into the last 20 minutes.

But Wicklow played their best hurling into that strong wind and while Mayo were within striking distance at all times, it was Wicklow's ability to pull out big scores at crucial moments which proved decisive, Daniel Staunton and Jack Doyle coming up with one apiece.

But ultimately it was the accuracy of full-forward O'Brien who kept the scoreboard ticking over and kept the home side at arm's length to secure a deserved win in a game played in very testing conditions for both sides.

Scorers - Wicklow: A O'Brien 0-12 (10f, 1 '65); E O'Donoghue 1-0; J Doyle, W Kavanagh, E McCormick, D Stanton 0-1 each. Mayo: S Boland 0-6 (6f); C Freeman 1-2 (1-0 pen); S Kenny 0-3 (2f); E Delaney 0-2.

Wicklow - C McNally 8; W Kavanagh 8, B Kearney 7, M O'Brien 8; G Byrne 7, B Cuddihy 7, P Keane 6; E Kearns 7, J Henderson 8; J Doyle 7, E McCormaick 7, D Staunton 7; E Donoghue 7, A O'Brien 9, P Doyle 7. Subs: G O'Brien 8 for Donoghue (h-t), G Weir 7 for Doyle (47), C Breen 6 for Byrne (65).

Mayo - G Kelly 7; C Murray 7, S Coyne 7, A Brennan 7; G Nolan 6, S Mulroy 8, M Phillips 7; D Huane 6, B Hunt 7; C Freeman 8, S Boland 7, B Morley 8; E Delaney 8, A Phillips 6, S Kenny 7. Sub: C Phillips 7 for M Phillips (50).

Ref - M Murtagh (Westmeath)

Irish Independent