Saturday 16 December 2017

Wicklow gain Ring revenge

Wicklow's hurlers caused something of an upset on the opening day of the Christy Ring Cup yesterday when they turned the tables on defending champions Kerry to record a deserved 2-20 to 2-15 win at Arklow.

Kerry won this championship last year, beating Wicklow in the final, and they also beat the Garden County in the Division 2A league, both wins by 13-point margins.

Wing-forward Michael Boyle, one of the players controversially dropped by manager John Meyler earlier in the season, gave the Kingdom a tonic start with a goal after two minutes, but once Wicklow settled in they showed the greater hunger and spirit.

First-half goals by corner-forward Andy O'Brien and centre-forward Wayne O'Gorman put Wicklow in the driving seat. They led by 2-9 to 1-6 at the break, and Kerry did not snatch their second goal by Shane Nolan until eight minutes from the end to narrow the gap to three points, but they just could not break the resolve of the home side.

Elsewhere, Down had to dig deep to record a 0-19 to 0-17 win against a gutsy Mayo side that shot to the front with 15 minutes left at Elverys McHale Park in Castlebar yesterday.

Mayo came from four points down at the interval and hit the front thanks to a fine point from Brian Hunt after Keith Higgins had levelled matters with the score of the match following a dazzling 40-yard run.

However, Down, who led by 0-11 to 0-7 at the break, finished the stronger, with points from Conor Mageean, substitute Michael Turley and Aaron O'Prey sealing a hard-won but deserving victory.

In Celtic Park, Derry had a thrilling 1-22 to 2-18 win over Kildare.

At the end of an entertaining first half, Derry enjoyed a two-point advantage, 1-11 to 1-9, recovering well from a first-minute Mark Moloney goal. Derry levelled with a kicked Kevin Hinphey goal in the sixth minute, and four Paddy Kelly frees put them in control.

In the second half, Derry kept control with Paddy Henry adding a succession of points to keep his side's nose in front, despite Paul Divilly's goal.

Donegal pulled off a shock 1-15 to 0-14 victory over Roscommon in Letterkenny to reach the semi-final of the Nicky Rackard Cup.

A goal from Ronan McDermott just before half-time proved the crucial score. It sent Donegal to the dressing room ahead by 1-6 to 0-7 and they were helped when Roscommon were reduced to 13 in the second half with Kevin Conneely and Shane McDermott both picking up second yellow cards as the home side held out.

In Dundalk, 13-man Armagh cruised to a 0-20 to 1-8 victory over Louth. Playing against the breeze in the opening period, the visitors were full value for a 0-9 to 0-6 half-time lead, but their mettle was tested when Ryan Gaffney was shown a straight card just before half-time and Adrian Wallace netted an equalising goal just after the restart. But the Orchard men made light of their disadvantage to pull away.

Sunday Indo Sport

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