Garden County Prevails after Strange Allianz League Encounter
Leitrim 0-10 Wicklow 0-11
Thirty minutes into this Round 2 Allianz League Division 4 match in Aughrim, Leitrim were coasting after totally dominating play and Scóring at will, having built up a very healthy 0-9 to 0-0 scoreline. The Leitrim defence was cutting out any threat posed and, with flowing moves and great economy in front of the posts, the team was exercising the scoreboard operator with regularity. However, once Wicklow got off the mark as the game moved toward the interval they quickly added three further points and suddenly it was game on. As it transpired the second half momentum remained with the home side and they continued from where they left off, replicating Leitrim’s first half showing, but ultimately bettering it, by Scóring eleven unanswered points to establish the match winning lead.
In foggy, but nonetheless, very playable conditions, play swung either end at the commencement of this match before a 45 converted by Kevin Conlan opened Scóring after 7 minutes. This set the tone for a series of Leitrim points which flowed with regularity into the Clubhouse end of the grounds as Conlan doubled the advantage with a free and midfielder James McGrail’s long delivery deceived the Wicklow keeper Robert Lambert and hopped over the bar. Micheal McWeeney forayed forward to finish a fine move from the right wing and this was followed up with a Donal Wrynn pointed effort to leave Leitrim five points to the good entering the second quarter. The scores kept coming for Leitrim from Fergal Clancy, play, in between two Conlan frees as Wicklow followers must have been wondering were they ever going to raise a white flag. Little did those present realise what would ultimately unfold when Kevin Conlan pointed another free to leave Leitrim nine points clear and the homesters pointless. Wicklow eventually got off the mark with a Seanie Furlong free and this was quickly added to with further scores from Conor McGregor (free) and two points from play by Mark Kenny and John McGrath, to leave just five in at the break and it was game on.
A period of sustained Wicklow pressure in the early stages of the second half was thwarted by a determined Leitrim defence but the tide had turned in this remarkable encounter. A Conor McGraynor free eventually broke the deadlock and what unfolded was so similar in nature to the first period. Wicklow took over and the points flowed as Leitrim struggled to gain a foothold. John McGrath with a converted free and Dean Odlum from play reduced the deficit to two. Win forward Darren Hayden left the minimum between the sides before Donal Wrynn brought a full length diving save from Lambert in the Wicklow goals as Leitrim tried to stop the rot. Two pointed frees from the boot of John McGrath gave the home side the lead and while Leitrim recorded two wides around this period the advantage had swung in favour of the men in blue. Furlong, from play, pointed what ultimately proved to be the winner with Wicklow’s eleventh unanswered point. Kevin Conlan with a free reduced the margin to the minimum with time running out and while both sides had chances in what remained, it was Wicklow who took the two points at the full time whistle.
Overall, a disappointing day for the Leitrim Players and Management but nonetheless, a lesson on the learning curve for a young team building for the future heading into the Allianz League break as we look forward to the visit of Antrim to Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada in three weeks time.
Leitrim: Cathal McCrann, Micheal McWeeney (0-1), RonanÓgallagher, Niall Woods, Conor Farrell, Gary Reynolds, Sean McWeeney, Paddy McGowan, James McGrail (0-1), Shane Quinn, Fergal Clancy (0-1), Danny Beck, Ciaran Gilheaney, Donal Wrynn (0-1), Kevin Conlan (0-6). Subs used: Cian Clinton, Alan McLoughlin, Darren Sweeney, Shane Moran.
Wicklow: Robert Lambert, Chris Murphy, Paul Cunningham, Alan Byrne, Dean Healy, Ross O Brien, Aaron Murphy, Paul McLoughlin, Anthony McLoughlin, Darren Hayden (0-1), Conor McGraynor (0-2), Michael McLoughlin, Dean Odlum (0-1), John McGrath (0-4), Seanie Furlong (0-2). Subs used: Mark Kenny (0-1), Patrick McWalter, Daniel Woods, Brendan McCrea.
Referee: Niall Ward (Westmeath)
09-Feb-15 by Declan Bohan – PRO