Neighbouring counties shared the first round Allianz Football League Division 4 points at Netwatch Cullen Park on Saturday when 14-man Carlow produced a late rally to force the draw.
Wicklow scored a goal in the opening minute when Padraig O'Toole shot home from just inside the big square. When Kevin Quinn added a point the home side looked to be in real trouble but they hit back straight away. In reply, Ross Dunphy flicked to the net after the Wicklow defence had been prised open.
An opportunist goal from Jordan Morrissey who volleyed home from 30 metres when the Wicklow keeper, Mark Jackson, spilled a high ball turned the game on its head. The Carlow lead didn’t last for long and Wicklow full-back, Eoin Murtagh, joined the attack to shoot home from close range. At the break, Wicklow led 2-06 to 2-05.
Carlow found themselves in real trouble when Conor Doyle picked up his second yellow card on 38 minutes. Yet their rivals failed to capitalise and while they did eke out a three-point advantage with scores from Andy Maher and Eoin Darcy they couldn’t put Carlow away.
The home side nearly grabbed a third goal when Darragh Foley took a pass from Morrissey. He settled for a point and substitute, Shane O’Neill, left only the minimum between them when he converted a free.
Carlow had all the momentum when Conor Crowley was on hand to equalise from play. The Barrowsiders nearly undid themselves when they coughed up easy possession from a side line ball. In the ensuing attack, Thomas Kelly had a goal chance for Wicklow but was happy to take his point.
Carlow refused to buckle. They drove forward, were awarded a free and O’Neill equalised yet again. Foley had a long range effort from a free in the final moment but his shot was left and wide.
That brought the full-time whistle with both sides left to ponder whether this was a point gained or a point lost.
Wicklow: Mark Jackson (0-03fs); Tom Moran, Eoin Murtagh (1-00), Malachy Stone; Zach Cullen, Patrick O’Keane, Paul McLoughlin; Padraig O’Toole (1-00), Jack Kirwan; Rory Stokes, Dean Healy, Cathal Baker; Mark Kenny, Kevin Quinn (0-01), Eoin Darcy (0-04fs). Subs: Andy Maher (0-01) for Stokes (h/t), Thomas Kelly (0-01) for Baker (64), JP Hurley for Kirwan (64).
Carlow: Ciaran Cunningham, Shane Buggy, Mikey Bambrick, Jonah Dunne; Sean Bambrick, Jordan Morrissey (1-01), Conor Doyle; Niall Hickey, Liam Brennan; Josh Moore, Ciaran Moran, Jamie Clarke (0-01); Ross Dunphy (1-00), Darragh Foley (0-05 3fs), Conor Crowley (0-01). Subs: Colm Hulton for Dunne (h/t), Mark Furey for Moran (53), Shane O’Neill (0-2fs) for Brennan (55), Eric Molloy for S Bambrick (60),
Referee: Fintan Pierce (Kildare).