Leinster MFC: Garden County U17s blossom against Lake lads

May 30, 2018

A view of the pitch at Joule Park, Aughrim.
©INPHO/Ken Sutton.

Wicklow exploded back into semi-final contention in the new-look minor grade with a sensational 2-20 to 2-4 demolition of Westmeath in Aughrim.

With Eoin Darcy leading the way, the home side were absolutely magnificent on the night and they have boosted their prospects of reaching the knockout stage with the two points garnered here. Beaten narrowly by Offaly in the first round, they drew with Louth last week before moving up to three points with this superb result.

Wicklow's U17s still have difficult assignments to come against Dublin and table-toppers Meath on June 27th and July 3rd respectively but they can certainly go into the recess feeling good about themselves after this display.

Having played into the breeze, the disappointing visitors trailed by five points at the break, 0-12 to 2-1, with Ben McGauran rippling the net twice in the first half.

The Garden County made an excellent start to lead by 0-10 to 1-1 after 20 minutes. Darcy opened the scoring from a '45' and Eoghan Byrne, Darcy, Johnny Keogh (free) and Kevin Quinn made it five points to no score.

Darcy's second '45' left it 0-6 to nothing after nine minutes but the Lake lads replied with a tenth-minute McGauran goal following a quickly-taken free.

It was double scores, 0-8 to 1-1, after Byrne pointed a brace and, after Darcy lofted over yet another '45, Matthew Ging smacked over three successive frees - 0-12 to 1-1. A late penalty presented McGauran with his second major and the visitors remained somehow well in contention despite scoring only three times before the interval while their opponents raised twelve flags.

The winners pushed on, though. They made a dream start to the second half as Quinn netted after Darcy pointed a free, leaving nine points between the teams. Quinn and Jamie Coffey traded points but a superb Gavin Fogarty major at the end of a purposeful solo run propelled the Garden County into an unassailable twelve-point lead after 40 minutes, 2-15 to 2-3.

Christopher Grimes and Dylan Keegan traded scores and substitute John Doyle (two frees) and Jack Fleming Foran kept the scoreboard ticking over to the end for the impressive victors.

Wicklow - N Gaffney; D Lawlor, C Grimes (0-1), T Moran; K Quinn (1-2), S Kearney, G Fogarty (1-1); S Doody, E Byrne (0-3); A Barrett, S Cranley, J Keogh (0-1f); M Ging (0-3f), E Darcy (0-6, 3'45, 1f), A Foley. Subs: F O'Carroll for D Lawlor, J Doyle (0-2f) for M Ging, C Maguire for A Foley, D Devine for S Cranley, J Fleming Foran (0-1) for A Barrett, S Daly for E Darcy.

Westmeath - S Fagan; C Drumm, C Daly, D Seery; E Martin, C Gibney, J McDonnell; F O'Hara, K O'Sullivan; S Fleming, J Coffey (0-1), J Torpey (0-1); B McGauran (2-0, 1-0pen), O Raleigh, E Gaffney. Subs: A Cronin for C Daly, A Donoghue for S Fleming (BC), L Moran (0-1) for E Martin, T Keena for E Gaffney, L Brennan for F O'Hara, D Keegan (0-1) for J Coffey.

Referee - J King.

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