Friday 13 December 2019

Lee points way in Garden County triumph

Wicklow 0-23 Down 1-18 NHL Division 2B Final

Gary Byrne, Wicklow, in action against Donal Hughes, Down
Gary Byrne, Wicklow, in action against Donal Hughes, Down
Christy Moorehouse, Wicklow, is sent off by referee John Keane
Eugene Dunne, Wicklow, in action against Conor O'Neill, Down
Johnny McCusker, Down, in action against Billy Cuddihy, left and Gary Byrne, Wicklow
Wickow manager Casey O'Brien celebrates with captain Wayne O'Gorman at the final whistle
The Wicklow squad celebrate with the cup after the game

WICKLOW upset the odds to gain promotion at Pairc Tailteann, Navan.

The Garden County led throughout. Mikey Lee was the star with 10 points, eight from frees. He contributed seven points in the opening half as Wicklow led 0-12 to 0-9 at the break.

They started at a terrific pace with four points in as many minutes and soon opened up a 0-6 to 0-1 lead.

Down responded with frees from Conor Woods and Johnny McCusker and with Conor O'Neill scoring a brace they eventually reduced the deficit to the minimum, 0-10 to 0-9.

Wicklow finished the half stronger with further points from Lee and Christy Moorehouse before doubling their advantage within two minutes of the restart through Wayne O'Gorman, Daniel Staunton and Andy O'Brien.

Down's Scott Nicholson made an instant impact off the bench, blasting to the net to leave the minimum between the sides.

The Ulster side were unable to gain parity, though, and O'Brien, O'Gorman and Lee got points in reply. The lead eventually stretched to five but was back to the minimum following McCusker's sixth free of the contest late on.

Lee's added-time free made certain of victory in a tense conclusion which was marred by a couple of unsavoury incidents.

Down midfielder Fintan Conway was shown a red card and then lashed out at an opponent before leaving the pitch. Wicklow also finished with 14 as Moorehouse received a straight red card just before the final whistle.

SCORERS – Wicklow: M Lee 0-10 (8fs), W O'Gorman 0-4, D Staunton, A O'Brien 0-3 each, C Moorehouse 0-2, J O'Neill 0-1. Down: J McCusker 0-6 (6fs), S Nicholson 1-1, C Woods 0-4 (2fs, 1 '65'), C O'Neill, D Toner, C O'Prey 0-2 each, S Ennis 0-1.

WICKLOW – T Kennedy 6; E Dunne 7, S Kelly 8, B Cuddihy 6; G Byrne 7, L Kennedy 7, S Byrne 7; J Henderson 7, R Keddy 7; C Moorehouse 7, D Staunton 7, J O'Neill 7; M Lee 9, W O'Gorman 8, A O'Brien 7. Subs: J Bermingham 6 for Cuddihy (50), TJ Hennessy for Keddy (70).

DOWN – S Keith 6; M Conlan 7, P Flynn 7, M Hughes 6; B Nicholson 7, C Woods 7, P Hughes 6; S Ennis 7, F Conway 7; S Dineen 6, C O'Neill 7, D Hughes 7; C O'Prey 7; D Toner 7, J McCusker 8. Subs: R Brannigan 7 for P Hughes (h-t), S Nicholson 8 for Dineen (42), M Turley 6 for O'Neill (49), P Sheehan for O'Prey (62), E Clarke for M Hughes (66).

REF – J Keane (Galway)

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