Leinster SFC: Jackson grabs the headlines as Garden earn Dubs date

May 13, 2018

Offaly's Conor McNamee tackles Dean Healy of Wicklow.
©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan.

Goalkeeper Mark Jackson scored seven points and saved a penalty as Wicklow defeated Offaly by 1-20 to 1-15 after extra time in Portlaoise.

Jackson registered five frees and two '45's from eight shots at the posts, helping the Garden County - who finished bottom of the league - record their first victory of the calendar year and their first Leinster championship success in five attempts. They will now provide provincial quarter-final opposition to holders Dublin.

Darragh Fitzgerald blasted the victors' goal to the corner of the net two minutes into the second period of added time to seal the eye-watering meeting with the All-Ireland champions (and perennial Leinster winners) in a fortnight, while the Faithful County won't be in action again until the weekend of June 9th - in the first round of the Qualifiers.

A Jackson '45' had John Evans' men level on three points apiece at the midway stage in the first half of an even contest and John McGrath cancelled out a Bernard Allen score before Anton Sullivan's 29th-minute goal fired Stephen Wallace's side three clear.

Trailing by 1-5 to 0-5 at the break, Wicklow had Seanie Furlong and John Crowe points cancelled out when the action resumed but further scores from Dean Healy and Furlong (free) tied proceedings up again after 57 minutes.

Inspired goalkeeper Jackson made another massive contribution when brilliantly saving Nigel Dunne's penalty, although opposing shotstopper Alan Mulhall steered over the resultant '45' - 1-9 to 0-11 - before McGrath hit back. With their suspended manager biting his nails in the stand, Jordan Hayes and Tierney teased Offaly back in front during the closing stages of normal time only for Jackson to twice hit back unerringly and ultimately force extra time as seven minute of injury time failed to produce a winner.

Mark Kenny gave the winners the lead for the first time when the action resumed and two more Jackson frees brought the custodian's remarkable tally to seven points as the Garden led by 0-19 to 1-13 at half time in extra time, Furlong (free) posting their 19th score.

Fitzgerald's 82nd-minute goal settled the contest and Cathal Magee fisted Wicklow's final point as their youthful legs - and Baltinglass clubman Jackson's day to be remembered! - finally proved decisive.

Wicklow - M Jackson (0-7, 5f, 2'45); C Hyland, J Snell, P Merrigan; S Kearon, D Healy (0-1), J Crowe; R Finn, J Stafford; K Murphy, D Hayden (0-1), T Smyth; S Furlong (0-5, 4f), J McGrath (0-2), M Kenny (0-2). Subs: R O'Brien for J Snell, C Healy for J Crowe, C Magee (0-1) for J Stafford, D Fitzgerald (1-0) for J McGrath, E Murtagh for P Merrigan, D Boothman for R Finn, R Finn for T Smyth, J Crowe (0-1) for D Hayden.

Offaly - A Mulhall (0-2'45); D Hogan, R McNamee, P McConway; D Dempsey, S Pender, N Darby (0-2f); C Dunne, M Brazil; C Donohue (0-1), C McNamee, C Carroll; B Allen (0-3), N Dunne (0-1f), A Sullivan (1-2, 0-1f). Subs: S Tierney (0-2) for N Dunne, G Spollen (0-1) for S Pender, N Dunne for C Carroll, J Hayes (0-1) for R McNamee, J Lalor for M Brazil, P Cunningham for C Donohue, M Brazil for C McNamee, S Doyle for S Tierney.

Referee - J Henry.

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