Wicklow storm back in second half to defeat Leitrim
Leitrim caught after racing in to a nine points lead in the first 26 minutes
Wicklow’s Seanie Furlong: his well-taken point proved vital to Wicklow in the end against Leitrim in Aughrim. Photograph: Inpho
Wicklow struck with a storming second-half comeback to snatch a one-point win over Leitrim in their Division Four match at Aughrim on Sunday.
The home side were lethargic in the opening 30 minutes and Leitrim applied the pressure as they raced in to a nine points lead in the first 26 minutes, with outstanding performances from attackers Donal Wrynn, Fergal Clancy, Kevin Conlan and midfielder James McGrail.
Defenders Alan Byrne and Ross O’Brien were the only Wicklow players providing resistances up to that and John Magee had to switch Mick McLoughlin to full back to curb a rampant Wrynn,
In the last five minutes of the half Seánie Furlong, Conor McGraynor, Mark Kenny and John McGrath fired over points to narrow the gap to 0-4 to 0-9 at the break and give Wicklow some semblance of hope.
Then, with what wind there was behind them, there was a big transformation in Wicklow’s performance in the second half. Conor McGraynor moved to midfield and played a blinder; Brendan McCrea and Paudge McWalter came off the bench and upped the ante immeasurably.
After a barren 12 minutes Conor McGraynor sparked the comeback with a point from a free. McGrath, Darren Hayden, McCrea landed points and the margin was down to a single point.
McGrath brought Wicklow level with another point from a free on 57 minutes and he gave them the lead a minute later from another placed ball. A good point from Seánie Furlong proved vital to Wicklow in the end, as Kevin Conlon struck his sixth Leitrim point before the end to cut the margin to a single point at the final whistle.
WICKLOW: R Lambert; C Murphy, P Cunningham, A Byrne; D Healy, R O’Brien, A Murphy; P McLoughlin, A McLoughlin; D Hayden (0-1), C McGraynor (0-2, frees), M McLoughlin; D Odlum, J McGrath (0-4, threes frees), S Furlong (0-2, frees). Subs: M Kenny (0-1) for P Cunningham (16 mins), B McCrea (0-1) for P McLoughlin (h-t), P McWalter for C Murphy (41 mins) C Foley for D Odlum (50 mins), D Woods for M Kenny (64 mins).
LEITRIM: C McCrann; M McWeeney (0-1), R Gallagher, N Woods; C Farrell, G Reynolds, S McWeeney; P McGowan, J McGrail (0-1); S Quinn, F Clancy (0-1), D Beck; C Gilheaney, D Wrynn (0-1), K Conlon (0-6, four frees, one 45). Subs: C Clinton for S Quinn (38 mins), A McLoughlin for C Gilheaney (43 mins), D Sweeney for P McGowan (51 mins), S Moran for J McGrail (bc , 59 mins).
Referee: Niall Ward (Westmeath).