Kildare Earn Win Over Wicklow
Kildare 1-17 Wicklow 0-10
By Ger McNally at Netwatch Cullen Park
Paddy Woodgate’s 60th minute goal eventually proved pivotal as Kildare booked their place in the Leinster semi-final at Netwatch Cullen Park, despite a spirited showing from Wicklow.
Wicklow had cut the Kildare lead back to just three points with 11 minutes remaining and there was growing confidence among the Wicklow contingent in the stands that Oisin McConville’s team could cause a major upset.
However, that belief was evaporated in the blink of an eye when Woodgate crashed a shot into the Wicklow net. The nippy corner forward is not known for the strength of his right footed kicking but he marked his first Championship start with a strike to remember after he had been teed up by Kevin Flynn.
From there, Kildare coasted to victory and there was a 10 point gap between the teams at the end.
The opening 25 minutes of the game had been nip and tuck, with Wicklow giving every bit as good as they got. They arrived into the game on the crest of a wave after securing promotion from Division Four and a first round Championship win over Carlow and they showed no fear of Kildare in the early exchanges.
Kildare kicked some good scores themselves, with Alex Beirne and Jack Robinson scoring a brace apiece, and they led by 0-5 to 0-4.
However, Kildare moved up a gear in the last 10 minutes of the half and the quality of their attack began to show. Ben McCormack kicked two excellent scores from around the 45 metre line either side of creating a goalscoring chance for Darragh Kirwan, whose shot was only six inches the wrong side of the post.
Darragh Kirwan, Woodgate and Kevin Flynn scored in the closing stages of the half to ensure Kildare took a 0-10 to 0-5 lead into the dressing room.
Upon the resumption of play, they were strangely lifeless and the intensity that they finished the half with had gone.
After both sides scored two points apiece in the opening 15 minutes of the second half, Jack Kirwan and Kevin Quinn converted to leave just three between the sides and Wicklow sensed a chance.
It was probably that belief that proved to be their downfall as they committed men forward, allowing Kildare to exploit the gaps created and once Woodgate fired past Mark Jackson with his weaker foot the game was pretty much finished.
Kildare were helped by some strong performances of the bench, Paul Cribbin scored three points, Neil Flynn also got on the scoresheet and the pace of Paddy McDermott and Daniel Flynn caused problems for tired legs.
It sets up another meeting with Dublin in Croke Park next Sunday for Kildare and Glenn Ryan will be hoping for a much improved performance from when the two counties last collided at GAA headquarters.
Scorers for Kildare: P Woodgate 1-2 (2fs), J Robinson 0-3 (1f), P Cribbin 0-3, B McCormack 0-2, A Beirne 0-2, D Kirwan 0-2, K Flynn 0-1, D Malone 0-1, N Flynn 0-1.
Scorers for Wicklow: E Darcy 0-2 (2fs), M Jackson 0-2 (2fs), K Quinn 0-2 (1f), D Healy 0-1, M Kenny 0-1, JP Hurley 0-1, J Kirwan 0-1.
Kildare: Mark Donnellan; Eoin Doyle, Shea Ryan, Darragh Malone; David Hyland, Kevin Flynn, Jack Sargent; Aaron Masterson, Kevin O’Callaghan; Barry Coffey, Ben McCormack, Alex Beirne; Jack Robinson, Darragh Kirwan, Paddy Woodgate.
Subs: Paul Cribbin for McCormack, 48; Paddy McDermott for Coffey, 51; Daniel Flynn for Robinson, 51; Kevin Feely for Masterson, 55; Neil Flynn for Woodgate, 65.
Wicklow: Mark Jackson; Eoin Murtagh, Paul McLoughlin, Malachy Stone; Jack Kirwan, Patrick O’Keane, Zach Cullen; Dean Healy, Padraig O’Toole; Cillian McDonald, John Paul Hurley, Fintan O’Shea; Mark Kenny, Kevin Quinn, Eoin Darcy.
Subs: Karl Furlong for O’Shea, 43; Darragh Fitzgerald for Kenny, 49; Gearód Muruphy for Darcy, 58; Joe Prendergast for McDonald, 65; Jacques McCall for Cullen, 70.
Referee: Martin McNally (Monaghan).