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Thursday 22 August 2019

Sparkling show from O'Connor

Footballers beat Wicklow

Michael O'Regan sizes up his options as James Stafford moves in
Michael O'Regan sizes up his options as James Stafford moves in
Declan Murphy putting pressure on John Manley

Brendan Lawrence

Two experimental Senior football sides went head to head in Rathnew on Friday night and the undeniable conclusion reached was that the Wexford side were streets ahead of their Wicklow counterparts.

Wexford 1-23 Wicklow 1-10

The neighbours clashed in the Shane Fogarty Memorial Cup, an annual tournament normally reserved for Wicklow club sides but opened up to inter-county this year. The occasion also doubled as an unveiling of the new floodlights at the Rathnew G.A.A. club, who were hosting their first-ever inter-county game at night.

Wexford, while struggling in Division 3 of the Allianz League, showed that they are operating at a higher level than the Wicklow men as they led by 0-11 to 0-5 at the break and then proceeded to run riot for the second-half before finishing with an impressive 1-23 to Wicklow's 1-10.

Chief tormentor for the Model men was full-forward Kevin O'Connor who finished with nine points, five from frees. The brand new Wicklow full-back line received a baptism of fire from the Wexford attackers but the foundations of the win were laid by delightfully quick ball from the half-back line and midfield.

Declan Murphy got the Wexford side going after five minutes on a brisk but clear night in Rathnew. Wicklow hit back through corner-forward Daniel Woods and then Dermot Flood grabbed a rebound from a Kevin O'Connor shot for goal and fired over.

Paul Cronin fired over a free for the home side to level matters after eleven minutes but that was really as good as it got for the Wicklow men with O'Connor grabbing his first a moment later followed by his second, third, fourth, and fifth by the 21st minute which, when added to Declan Murphy's second point in between, left Wexford 0-8 to 0-2 to the good and deservedly so.

Further points from O'Connor and Graham Carty sent Wexford in with the comfortable lead of 0-11 to 0-5.

David Power sent in Páraic O'Keeffe, Syl Byrne and Ben Brosnan for the second-half and Brosnan's pace was scintillating at times.

Midfielder Michael O'Regan sent over a screamer to get the second-half under way and from the time Dermot Flood found the back of substitute Wicklow goalkeeper, Will Hender-Phillips' net, it was all Wexford despite a quick Dean Odlum goal in reply to Flood's effort.

A glut of points from Graham Carty, Ben Brosnan, Syl Byrne, Declan Murphy, and O'Connor over the course of the second-half saw Wexford cruise to victory on a score of 1-23 to 1-10.

David Larkin was particularly impressive in the full-back line for Wexford while the team's ability to move the ball at speed up the field and their tenacity in defence was the undoing of Wicklow who, for the most part, resorted to that frustrating lateral handpassing codology.

Wexford: Shane Roche; Kevin Day, Jim Rossiter, David Larkin; John Tubritt, Naomhan Rossiter, Adrian Flynn; Michael O'Regan (0-1), Niall Hughes; Niall Harney, Graham Carty (0-4), James Holmes; Declan Murphy (0-5), Kevin O'Connor (0-9, 5 frees), Dermot Flood (1-1). Subs. - Páraic O'Keeffe for Tubritt (HT), Syl Byrne (0-1) for Hughes (HT), Ben Brosnan(0-2) for Harney (HT).

Wicklow: Andrew Murphy; John Manley, James Kavanagh, Brendan Kennedy; Michael Mangan, Kevin John Rogers, Chris Murphy; James Stafford (0-1), Paul Cunningham; Paddy Dalton, Paddy Byrne (0-1), Mark Kenny (0-1); Paul Cronin (0-2, 1 free), John McGrath (0-2), Daniel Woods. Subs. - Dean Odlum (1-2) for McGrath, Brendan McCrea for Cronin, Niall Gaffney (0-1) for Byrne, Will Hender-Phillips for A. Murphy, Ross O'Brien for Rogers.

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