Stafford’s late goal snatches victory for Rathnew in Wicklow county final

Baltinglass’s hopes are shattered by two-goal salvo in a hectic finale

Rathnew’s Nicky Mernagh gets to grips with Baltinglass’s Jason Kennedy during the Wicklow senior football  final at Aughrim. Photograph: Garry O’Neill/Inpho

Rathnew’s Nicky Mernagh gets to grips with Baltinglass’s Jason Kennedy during the Wicklow senior football final at Aughrim. Photograph: Garry O’Neill/Inpho

 

Rathnew 3-9 Baltinglass1-14

A late surge by Rathnew that brought crucial goals by Leighton Glynn and James Stafford saw the men from the village snatch victory from Baltinglass in a hectic finale to the Wicklow final at Aughrim yesterday.

At the start of the second half full forward John McGrath converted a free to leave Baltinglass coasting at 1-10 to 0-5.

But Baltinglass found that an eight-point cushion is no safety net against a Rathnew team that has appeared in 16 finals in the last 20 years, winning 11.

With the wind Baltinglass raced into a 1-3 to 0-1 lead in the first 11 minutes, wing-forward Jason Kennedy getting Baltinglass off the mark with an early brace and then wing-back Rory Nolan surging forward on the attack to blast to the net from a Ciaran Foley lay-off.

Even when Theo Smith finished to the net for a Rathnew goal from a Leighton Glynn assist on 35 minutes, Baltinglass looked strong as answering points from Jason Kennedy, and Ciarán Foley left them leading by 5 points – 1-12 to 1-7.

Tommy Gill and Eddie Doyle cut the margin to three (1-12 to 1-9) each with points from frees. Baltinglass’s Joe Kelly added a point to make it four.

But Leighton Glynn fired home a penalty to make it 1-13 to 2-9 and James Stafford punched home the crucial goal in injury time to snatch victory.
RATHNEW: P Dignam, J Manley, D Power, J Snell, C Healy, A Merriman, E Glynn, J Stafford (1-0), S Kavanagh (0-2), E Doyle (0-2), T Smith (1-0), N Mernagh, T Gill (0-5, 0-3 frees), M Doyle, L Glynn (1-0, pen). Subs: P Ellis for M Doyle, R O’Brien for E Glynn.
BALTINGLASS: J Flynn, T Murphy, A Nolan, M Staines, R Nolan (1-1), I Sheerin, B Cullen, J Sheerin, M English, J Kelly (0-5, 0-4 frees), C Foley (0-1), J Kennedy (0-3), H Sinnott (0-1), J McGrath (0-2, 0-1 free), K Murphy (0-1). Subs: T Kealy for C Foley, S Wall for R Nolan.
Referee: K Kenny (Tinahely).