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O'Neill helps shock Kerry

Wicklow 2-20 Kerry 2-15

Wicklow caused a shock in the opening round on Saturday as they got the better of reigning champions Kerry at Arklow.

Kerry's defence just could not handle Wicklow's lethal two-pronged strike-force of corner-forward Andy O'Brien and full-forward Jonathan O'Neill, who delivered the killer blows as they racked up 1-16 between them.

The Kingdom got off to a great start with a gift of a goal by wing-forward Michael Boyle after just two minutes, but once Wicklow settled they scrapped for everything and knocked the visitors off their game.

O'Brien followed up his opening point for Wicklow on four minutes with a goal with his second strike after his first shot was blocked, and when Wayne O'Gorman drilled to the net from a line ball by O'Neill, the hosts were firmly in the driving seat.

O'Neill, who only returned from injury last week, was back in top form as he contributed 0-11, with eight of those points coming from frees, including one from 90 yards as Wicklow led by 2-9 to 1-6 at half-time.

Kerry got their second goal eight minutes from the end as Shane Nolan narrowed the gap to three points, 2-17 to 2-14, but they couldn't break the resolve of a defiant Wicklow side.

Man of the Match: J O'Neill (Wicklow)

Scorers -- Wicklow: J O'Neill 0-11 (8f), A O'Brien 1-5, W O'Gorman 1-0, E Kearns 0-2, R Keddy, C Moorehouse 0-1 each. Kerry: S Nolan 1-3, M Boyle 1-1, S Brick (3f), D O'Connell (1f) 0-4 each, W O'Dwyer 0-3.

Wicklow -- J Murphy; J Connors, G Keogh, B Cuddihy; J Henderson, S Kelly, G Bermingham; E Kearns, R Keddy; T Doyle, W O'Gorman, E Dunne; E Glynn, J O'Neill, A O'Brien. Sub: C Moorehouse for W O'Gorman.

Kerry -- B Rochford; J Godley, T Murnane, R Horgan; A O'Connor, P Costello, L Boyle; D Dineen, J Griffin; M Boyle, W O'Dwyer, D O'Connell; S Brick, P Boyle, S Nolan. Sub: J Flaherty for P Boyle.

REF -- D Hughes (Carlow).

Irish Independent