Wicklow Schools 1-06 St. Patrick’s Navan 0-05
By Brian Kelly
In what many will regard as a surprise result, Wicklow Schools advanced to the Top Oil ‘A’ SFC Final when disposing of St. Patrick’s from Navan in a low scoring encounter in Abbotstown on Saturday afternoon. With the surface greasy following a wet start to the day and with a very strong wind blowing in from the Blanchardstown end, it was always likely to be the team who picked off the most scores when playing with the elements on their back who would progress to the final and so it proved.
2018 Minor All Star Eoin Darcy who was in sparkling form throughout and a constant thorn in the St. Patrick’s rear-guard kept the scoreboard ticking over with 5 points, 2 coming from play while the towering Oisín McGraynor registered the all-important goal with just 3 minutes of the second half having elapsed. This pushed the Wicklow outfit into the lead for the first time and it was a lead they never looked like relinquishing as their impressive defence resolutely kept St. Patrick’s at bay with the Navan side remarkably not registering a score after half time, when they held the lead by 0-05 to 0-02.
It had all looked more promising early in the game for them when Meath Minor, Niall Finnerty sent over 2 frees from out on the right-hand side but after he pointed for the second time in the fifth minute, St. Pat’s went 25 minutes before scoring again when a Barry O’Connell shot from distance sparked a mini scoring flurry on the run in to half time. In this long scoreless spell St. Pat’s couldn’t and breakthrough the relentless Wicklow tackling when they did create their only goal chance, Finnerty was felled but Aaron Lynch saw his penalty brilliantly saved by Ben Fennell.
Then came the second half when as nothing seemed to go right for St. Patrick’s (they failed to register a point), the underdogs grew in confidence and with the inspirational team captain Mark Reid, Oisín Cullen and the irrepressible Darcy all leading the charge, the Wicklow Schools advanced to the final where they will face either Colaiste Eoin or CBS Naas on March 16th.
Wicklow Schools: Ben Fennell; Cillian McDonald; Andy Maher; Andy Conway; Gavin Fogarty; Mark Reid (Capt.); Oisín Cullen; Patrick O’Keane; Ciaran Coffey; Darragh Rochford; Oisín McGraynor; Sean Doody; Eoin Darcy; Aaron Kenney; James Hedderman.
Substitutions: Craig Maguire for P. O’Keane; Daire Wright for J. Hedderman; Tadgh O’Toole for D. Rochford.
St. Patrick’s: Sean Brennan; Mark Dowdall; Simon Rooney; Conor Farrelly; Jeaic Timmons; Cathal Hickey; Josh Carolan; Cian McBride; Sean Commons; Shane Smyth; Brian O’Hanlon; Barry O’Connell; Niall Finnerty; Aaron Lynch (Capt.); Keith Curtis.
Substitutions: Joseph Moore for B. O’Hanlon; Larry Morgan for S. Commons; Tommy Hanley for M. Dowdall; Shane McEnry for N. Finnerty.