Christy Ring Cup SHC first round
Wicklow 2-19 Roscommon 3-14
Roscommon hurlers almost pulled off the most dramatic comeback in all their years of playing in the championship when they came from 15 points down early in the second half at Dr. Hyde Park last Sunday to reduce the margin to a single point in injury-time. However, visitors Wicklow held on to win by two in what was a nail-biting finish to a dramatic match.
With 42 minutes gone Wicklow led by a whopping 2-14 to 0-5 and it looked like they would stroll to the easiest of victories. But Roscommon manager Johnny Keane changed his side around, bringing on a few subs, all of whom made a positive impact. A key change was moving Cathal Dolan to full-forward – suddenly the tide started to turn.
Roscommon hit four points without reply, and then when Dolan rattled in two goals in the space of two minutes at the three-quarter mark, the home side were revitalised and driving forward with real momentum. With five minutes to go Eamon Flanagan drove a 20-metre free to the Garden County net, and the most unlikely transformation was becoming a reality. When Flanagan pointed a free eight minutes into injury-time, the gap was down to just one.
But Wicklow always had Christy Moorehouse to call on. The diminutive full-forward had a fantastic game and was a thorn in the Roscommon side all through. When he was needed in those final frantic minutes he delivered for his side, scoring four points in the final 10 minutes to edge his team across the line. With the gap at just one point, Moorehouse scored a superb point from distance to secure the win for his side. In the final analysis he was the difference between the teams.
The story of the first half is easily told. On a bitterly cold day, Wicklow played with the aid of the strong wind and blitzed Roscommon from the throw-in. After only twenty seconds Michael Boland had the ball in the Roscommon net, but the play was called back for a foul. Moorehouse blasted the penalty to the Roscommon net.
Roscommon were struggling all over the field. The outstanding Moorehouse scored a brilliant individual goal in the 16th minute and by half-time the visitors were not flattered by their 2-11 to 0-4 lead.
After Roscommon sub Cillian Egan pointed on the restart, Wicklow added three points without reply early in the second half and now led by 15. They looked home and hosed. But subs Egan and Johnny Coyne had come on and were doing well for the home side, and the tide started to turn. Cathal Dolan’s relocation to the edge of the square worked a treat, and with Hugh Rooney, Eamon Flanagan and Eoghan Coyle also doing well, the revival began. Of course to fully reverse such a massive deficit was always going to be a tall order, and so it proved.
What a pity for Roscommon that they didn’t start this game as they finished it. They will now await the draw for the qualifiers which takes place this weekend.
Wicklow: Conor McNally; Peter Keane, Billy Cuddihy, Martin O’Brien; Garry Byrne, John Henderson, Eoghan Byrne (0-1); Eamon Kearns, Luke Maloney; Daniel Staunton (0-3, 1 s/l), Michael Lee (0-1), Eoin McCormack (0-1); Stephen Kelly, Christy Moorehouse (2-9, 5 frees, 1-0, pen), Michael Boland (0-4). Subs: Warren Kavanagh for Cuddihy (44), Gary Hughes for McCormack (54), Mick Mangan for Kearns (56), Luke Evans for Lee (75).
Roscommon: Naos Connaughton; Pat Nolan, Peter Kellehan, Hugh Rooney; Paul Kenny, Eamon Flanagan (1-2, all frees), Padraig Brennan; Shane Curley, Micheal Byrne; Cathal Dolan (2-6, 3 frees), Diarmuid Treacy, Eoghan Coyle (0-1); Eamon Kenny, Conor Mulry (0-2), Mickey Joe Egan. Subs: Cillian Egan (0-2) for Treacy (30), Johnny Coyne (0-1) for Egan (33), Mickey Joe Egan for Coyle (47), Eoghan Costello for E Kenny (57), Brian Lawlor for Egan (73).
Referee: Kevin Jordan (Tipperary).