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Tailteann Cup: Wicklow defeat Limerick

Colm McSweeney, Limerick, and Joe Prendergast, Wicklow, in Tailteann Cup action. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Colm McSweeney, Limerick, and Joe Prendergast, Wicklow, in Tailteann Cup action. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Tailteann Cup Group Three

Wicklow 2-14 Limerick 1-10

By Tom Clancy at Laois Hire O'Moore Park

Wicklow registered a victory over Limerick in a very competitive Tailteann Cup group.

 Limerick will enter the quarter-final stage, despite slipping to a loss in Portlaoise.

This Group Three clash, played at Laois Hire O’Moore Park, pitted two sides with contrasting fortunes against each other.

Limerick were already assured of their place in the last eight of the Tailteann Cup, thanks to impressive victories over Longford and Carlow. Wicklow had suffered disappointing defeats to the same opposition.

On this occasion Oisin McConville will like much of what he saw, as despite a sluggish start, they kicked into gear and held a four point half-time lead. 

Their scores arrived in a burst, with 1-5 coming in 12 minutes where they dominated proceedings. This came after the opening 16 minutes where James Naughton (two frees) and Peter Nash had given Limerick a 0-3 to 0-1 advantage.

But Wicklow’s firepower, which had helped them gain promotion from Division Four of the Allianz Football League, came to the fore in the second quarter. Mark Jackson landed a superb touchline free from near 45 meters, while John Paul Nolan clipped over two, the second a mark.

He would turn have Treaty defence in knots on 26 minutes, collecting a long delivery and rounding his man and the goalkeeper to fire home.

Limerick closed the half with points from Hugh Bourke and a third free from the boot of James Naughton.

Jackson somehow denied Naughton moments into the second half, getting a foot to the low shot and deflecting it onto the crossbar and away to safety.

By the 50th minute, efforts from Conor Fee, Dean Healy and Jackson had pushed Wicklow 1-9 to 0-6 clear, with Cian Sheehan’s point all Limerick could muster in this 15 minute window.

A 10 minute cameo hauled Limerick back to within a point. Cathal Downes and Brian Donovan both found the target before a 60th minute penalty made it 1-10 to 1-11. Mark Jackson fouled sub Robbie Bourke, before captain Iain Corbett picked out the top corner.

There was a quick response from Wicklow, with Jack Kirwan netting within two minutes. His deflected shot wrong-footing the Limerick ‘keeper and putting Wicklow back in charge.

Wicklow impressed, with Dean Healy bringing his total to three points, while Conor Fee also scored a wonderful outside of the boot point to keep Limerick at bay.

Mark Fitzgerald will be left frustrated by this Limerick performance, though his men will have time to recover and reassess, ahead of a quarter-final clash later this month.

Scorers for Wicklow: John Paul Nolan 1-3 (1f, 1m), Jack Kirwan 1-1, Mark Jackson (3fs), Conor Fee (1f) and Dean Healy 0-3 each, Mark Kenny 0-1.

Scorers for Limerick: James Naughton 0-3 (3fs), Iain Corbett 1-0 (pen), Brian Donovan 0-2, Peter Nash, Hugh Bourke, Cian Sheehan, Cathal Downes, Killian Ryan 0-1 each.

Wicklow: Mark Jackson; Eoin Murtagh, Paul McLoughlin, Malachy Stone; Matt Nolan, Patrick O’Keane, Mark Kenny; Dean Healy, Pádraig O’Toole; Conor Fee, Tom Moran, Jack Kirwan; John Paul Nolan, Joe Prendergast, Eoin Darcy.

Subs: Tom Maher for McLoughlin (HT), Karl Furlong for Moran (HT), Fintan O’Shea for Keogh (61), Cian O’Sullivan for Darcy (68), Jaques McCall for Prendergast (70).

Limerick: Aaron O’Sullivan; Cormac Woulfe, Seán O’Dea, Brian Fanning; Barry Coleman, Iain Corbett, Tony McCarthy; Colm McSweeney, Cillian Fahy; Adrian Enright, Brian Donovan, Cian Sheehan; James Naughton, Hugh Bourke, Peter Nash. 

Subs: Cathal Downes for Enright (HT), Jim Liston for Coleman (45), Killian Ryan for Naughton (53) Robbie Bourke for Nash (53), David Connolly for Woulfe (60).

Referee: Brendan Griffin (Kerry).