Wicklow 3-12 Offaly 0-17

Updated: Saturday, 21 Jun 2014 21:23 | Comments

Offaly's Eoin Carroll with Patrick McWalter of Wicklow in Aughrim
Offaly's Eoin Carroll with Patrick McWalter of Wicklow in Aughrim

Seanie Furlong scored two crucial goals as Wicklow advanced their All-Ireland football qualifier cause with a 3-12 to 0-17 Round 1A win over Offaly in Aughrim.

The big Kiltegan man teamed up superbly with experienced attacker Leighton Glynn for crucial goals in both halves.

Between the pair, they shot 2-6 and ensured that Offaly's three-year wait for a win in the Championship goes on.

As for Wicklow, they relied on the spirit of Aughrim once more for an important win. They famously won three qualifiers in a row there in 2009 and led from start to finish this time.

Aside from the Garden County’s attacking duo, wing-forward Darren Hayden got through a tonne of good work and added a third goal late on.

Both counties were looking to bounce back from bad beatings by northern opposition in last year's qualifiers.

Offaly particularly needed a win here to raise flagging morale after being relegated from Division 3 with six losses from seven.

 The Faithful followed that up with a four-point Leinster championship defeat to Longford five weeks ago, forcing them down the back-door route.

Wicklow opted for a two-man full-forward line of Glynn and Furlong,  while Pat McWalter dropped deep as an extra defender across the half-back line.

It was a ploy that worked well as Glynn and Furlong continually exploited space in Offaly's defence.

The pair combined in the 15th minute for Wicklow's opening goal. Glynn smashed a shot off the bar and Furlong followed up from close range with a fisted finish.

The strike put Wicklow 1-4 to 0-3 ahead.

Offaly lived off scraps for the first 25 minutes though McNamee's excellence meant any Wicklow mistake was punished.

The full-forward struck six first-half points though was Offaly's only scorer from play until the 28th minute.

Wicklow had a greater spread of scorers and defenders Aaron Murphy and Dean Healy shot three points between them early on.

Glynn and Furlong added a point each to open up a 1-07 to 0-6 Wicklow advantage after 25 minutes.

But a wasted goal chance by Glynn and a black card for Healy sapped Wicklow's momentum and they led by just 1-08 to 0-09 at half-time.

On a Jekyll and Hyde evening, Wicklow found form again after the restart. Anthony McLoughlin and Glynn pointed before Furlong shot his second goal.

 Glynn was the creator again with a ball in from the right wing that Furlong bundled home. The strike put Wicklow 2-10 to 0-0 ahead and apparently in the clear.

They couldn't build on it though and allowed Offaly back into the contest. McNamee shot his eighth and ninth points of the evening. It left just four points in it.

But that was as close as Offaly would come in the closing minutes. They were over reliant on McNamee who accounted for all but seven of their points.

And Offaly's fate was sealed when Hayden slotted Wicklow's third goal three minutes from time.

Wicklow: R Lambert, C Hyland, P McLoughlin, A Murphy (0-02), D Healy (0-01), A Byrne, K Murphy, J Stafford (0-01), A McLoughlin (0-01), R Finn, P Earls, D Hayden (1-00), L Glynn (0-04, 1f), S Furlong (2-02), P McWalter.

Subs: C Murphy for Healy b/c, P Cunningham for McWalter, J McGrath (0-01) for Earls, N Gaffney for Stafford, D O'Sullivan for Finn.

Offaly: A Mulhall, J O'Connor, D Brady, N Darby, B Darby, R Allen, M Brazil, J Moloney (0-01), N Smith (0-01), E Carroll, G Guilfoyle, P Cunningham (0-01), J Maher (0-03, 2f), N McNamee (0-10, 5f), A Sullivan (0-01).

Subs: D Corbett for Brady, P McPadden for Guilfoyle, P McConway for Allen, S Sullivan for O'Connor b/c, P Sullivan for Maher, C Kiely for McPadden.

Referee: C Lane (Cork).

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