Wicklow’s kept up their good form of 2017 and this victory also earned them a place in the league final.
Down took an early lead with a Danny Toner free but it wasn’t long before Andy O’Brien started causing havoc in the Down full back line as Wicklow shot in to the lead with six unanswered points. Benefiting from quick and long deliveries from the likes of Gary Byrne, Ronan Keddy and Danny Staunton the St Pats man was a constant threat.
Wicklow settled and went in at half-time leading by double scores, ten points to five with wind advantage to come in the second thirty five..
Down goalkeeper Stephen Keith pulled off two brilliant saves to deny Christy Moorehouse and Eoin McCormack from 14 metres as Wicklow sought to put the game beyond the Northerners who were still fighting to stay in contention for the league title themselves..
They blazed a penalty over the bar at a vital moment in the game and this seemed to finally break their resolve.
Andy O’Brien converted two magnificent frees in the second half from almost 100 metres on both occasions.
Eoin McCormack finally got his goal in the closing moments after more hard work from Andy.
John Henderson was outstanding once again at centre back and Christy Moorehouse was unerring from placed balls. Andy O’Brien’s cameo role on the frees was something to witness with two of the longest range points ever scored in Arklow.
Wicklow: C Moorehouse 0-9 (8f), A O’Brien 0-5 (2f), E McCormack 1-1, E Kearns, R Keddy, A Byrne 0-1 each.
Down: D Toner 0-5 (4f), C Egan 0-2, C Teggart, E Sands, G Johnson 0-1 (pen), S Nicholson 0-1 each.
Wicklow – E O’Mahony; L Maloney, M O’Brien, E Dunne; G Byrne, J Henderson, E Kearns; P Keane, R Keddy; D Staunton, P Doyle, A Byrne; C Moorehouse, A O’Brien, E McCormack. Subs: D Masterson for A Byrne (50), J Connors for M O’Brien (Blood, 50-56), J Byrne for E McCormack (72), E Donohoe for C Moorehouse (72), W Kinsella for R Keddy (72).