First defeat for Derry in Wicklow

Wicklow . . . . . . . . . . 2-15

Derry . . . . . . . . . . . . .1-17

DERRY surrendered their undefeated record in Aughrim following a dogged battle with Wicklow in NHL Division 3A, the Oakleafers losing by the narrowest of margins in the end.

Indeed, the northern side produced a superb come-back during the second half but, in fairness, Derry were not firing on all cylinders.

Paddy Henry and Paddy Kelly accounted for 1-9 of their side’s score but they found it difficult to match the scoring power of Wicklow’s centre-forward, Jonathan O’Neill, who recorded 10 points - seven of those from frees.

However, the Oakleafers also struggled to contain the contribution made by Wicklow corner-forward, Andy O’Brien, who netted two goals at crucial stages during the game.

Twice during the early stages of the first half, O’Neill and Kelly swapped points and that basically set the tone for the match itself with the sloither ebbing and flowing througout the contest.

Kelly and centre-forward, Ruairi Convery - the provider for four of Derry’s points - edged the visitors ahead after 10 minutes but, just as they began to celebrate, the Garden County bounced back when O’Brien, after scoring a point, netted an opportunist goal which clearly boosted the confidence levels of the home side as they moved into a 1-7 to 0-9 lead at half-time.

Preparing to face the wind in their faces in the second half, Derry’s hopes were raised when Wicklow were reduced to 14 men, substitute Enan Glynn, shown a straight red card by referee, P. O’Dwyer, seconds before the break.

In fact, Derry certainly exuded confidence after the break when scoring three unanswered points and their tails were up.

A point from Pat McCloskey followed by a brace from Ruairi Convery was reduced by Wicklow’s Ronan Keddy but Oisin McCloskey cancelled out that score with a solid point.

Paddy Henry then answered an O’Neill score and by the end of the third quarter Derry remained in the driving seat, leading by two points - 0-15 to 1-10.

Then minutes later O’Brien pounced again with his second sucker punch of the match. Again following a well taken point, O’Brien registered his second goal having taken a pass from O’Neill.

But it was far from over with Kelly goaling for Derry to bring the sides level again on 63 minutes at 2.12 to 1-15.

The result remained in the balance right up until the final whistle with O’Neill snatching the spoils for Wicklow when scoring the winning point deep into injury time.

Wicklow - W. O’Gorman; J. Connors, G. Keogh, W. Collins; G. Bermingham, L. Kennedy, B. Cuddihy; E. Kearns, T. Doyle; R. Keddy (0-1), J. O’Neill (0-10, 0-7 frees), E. Dunne; A. O’Brien (2-3), D. Hyland (0-1), L. Browne.

Derry - D. McDermott; A. Rafferty, C. Quinn, L. Hawkins; C. McKenna, M. Craig, S. Cassidy; K. Hinphey (0-1), O. McCloskey (0-1); A Grant (0-1) R. Convery (0-4), P. Henry (0-6, 0-2 frees); O. Doherty, P. McCloskey (0-1), P. Kelly (1-3). Subs - B. Glass for O’Doherty.

Referee - Mr. P. O’Dwyer (Carlow).