O'Briens shine as Wicklow take final step
Wicklow B 4-19 Longford 1-6
Longford stayed with Wicklow for 25 minutes of this clash yesterday, but 1-3 without reply before half-time and a raft of second-half substitutions meant the Garden County had no fears of an upset.
Playing with a mixture of the team that was heavily defeated by Wexford the previous week and their fringe players, Wicklow led by 0-4 to 0-2 in the first quarter. Their inaccuracy in front of goal kept Longford in the game and the midlands county capitalised as Sean Stakelum pounced on a ball full-back Billy Cuddihy missed and hit the back of the net.
The teams traded points and were level by the 25th minute, but Wicklow would score 1-5 before Longford's next point, Seanie Germaine flicking a dropping ball past Eanna Daly for the goal.
Andy O'Brien's goal on 47 minutes, an unstoppable shot from the '21', gave Wicklow a 2-12 to 1-4 lead, before his clubmate George O'Brien flashed two goals into the top corner from acute angles. Wicklow march on to the final where they will face either Longford and DCU/St Pat's, who play in tomorrow's rescheduled round-robin tie. A draw will be enough for Longford to progress.
Scorers - Wicklow: G O'Brien 2-4, A O'Brien (2f) 1-2, S Germaine 1-0, J Cranley (1f), J Connors (1f), G Connors, G Byrne 0-2 each, E Byrne, R Keddy, L Evans, W Kavanagh, E Donohoe (f) 0-1 each. Longford: P Walsh (3f) 0-4, S Stakelum 1-0, K Murray (f), D Duggan (65) 0-1 each.
Wicklow: R Fitzgerald; M O'Brien, B Cuddihy, E Byrne; S Doyle, P Keane, G Byrne; R Keddy, J Connors; L Evans, G Connors, E McCormack; J Cranley, G O'Brien, S Germaine. Subs: A O'Brien for J Cranley, W Kavanagh for S Doyle (both HT), A Byrne for G Connors (46), O Furlong for E Byrne, D Maloney for M O'Brien (both 57), E Donohoe for G Byrne, C Moorehouse for J Connors, P O'Brien for E McCormack (all 60), P Doyle for S Germaine (61), S Kelly for R Keddy, C McNally for R Fitzgerald (both 63).
Longford: E Daly; A Sheridan, K Murray, P Corcoran; G Moore, D Duggan, D Connell; B Hanley, P Walsh; S Stakelum, S Hannon, J Casey; J Mulhern, J Leonard, R Murray. Subs: S O'Brien for J Casey (27), C Gallagher for E Daly, C McLoughlin for A Sheridan, J Casey for S O'Brien (all HT), P Leonard for G Moore (49), R O'Brien for J Leonard, S O'Brien for J Mulhern (both 52), M Farrell for B Hanley, D Lee for D Connell (both 60), PJ Masterson for S Hannon (65).
REF - T Gleeson (Dublin).