Christy Ring Cup round 2A
Kildare 2-19 Wicklow 3-18
In a brilliant game at Newbridge that had everything including an incredibly tense finish the Wicklow senior hurlers held on to reach the last four in the Christy Ring Cup. Wicklow finished strongly to edge out Kildare on a 3-18 to 2-19 scoreline and while the topsy turvy nature of the game had the small attendance on the edge of their seats Seamus Murphy’s charges fully deserved their win. A thrilling encounter in which the lead swapped hands on numerous occasions in the second half was acheived without the services of the leadership and hurling ability of John Henderson who departed early on with an injury.
Wicklow led by 1-10 to 0-11 at half-time thanks to Andy O’Brien’s goal and they looked set for a comfortable victory when sub Padraig Doyle and O’Brien scored two more in the space of three minutes to give them 3-13 to 0-17 lead with 15 minutes to go.
But the hosts stormed back with majors from ex-Kilkenny star John Mulhall and Chris Bonus to take a 2-18 to 3-13 lead, only for the Garden County to outscore them by 0-5 to 0-1 in the closing stages per Christy Moorehouse (four) and Andy O’Brien points.
Wicklow showed such determination early on it was almost impossible for Kildare to get hold of any ball as the middle third of the field was dominated by hungry Wicklow players looking to improve on their subdued showing the previous week against London. Wicklow had five points on the board before the home side got off the mark.
Danny Staunton had one of his best ever days in a Wicklow shirt and he got their scoring underway after barely a minute, before Christy Moorehouse landed his first of the day with a brilliant long range free. The lively duo of Andrew O’Brien and Eoin McCormack both slotted over scores during the impressive opening passage for the Garden County men, and Moorehouse’s pinpoint ’65 in the seventh minute sent them five points clear.
Brian Byrne got Kildare on the board but further scores from Moorehouse and Diarmuid Masterson stretched the gap for Wicklow out to six points. Kildare began to motor then however, and Limerick man David Reidy was the most influential player on the pitch for the Lilywhites from that stage onwards. He got a couple of scores in quick succession as he sought to get Kildare into the game, and when Staunton responded for Wicklow with his second point it was somewhat predictable that Reidy would reply at the other end through another free.
Ronan Keddy had a goal shot saved by Kildare goalkeeper Paul Dermody midway through the half and this seemed to lift the Lilywhites’ for their best spell of the first half as they scored five points on the trot. Kildare could have had a couple of goals if it wasn’t for the brilliant reactions of Wicklow stopper Eoghan O’Mahony from Saint Patricks who denied both Delaney and Jack Sheridan from point blank range with top class goal keeping.
Wicklow needed to get back on the front foot after suffering a dip in their performance levels and a long ball from Ronan Keddy was poorly dealt with by the Kildare defence, allowing Andy O’Brien to take it down at the edge of the square and fire to the net, the Saint Patricks man doesn’t pass up those opportunities.
David Reidy fired over a point for Kildare before the break, but scores from Danny Staunton and Captain Christy Moorehouse left Wicklow with a 1-10 to 0-10 lead going into the turnaround.
Kildare had the backing of a strong wind in the second half and this was a worry. Ronan Keddy got Wicklow’s only score in that opening period of the second half as Kildare rallied and they levelled matters for the first time.
Christy Moorehouse edged the away side back into the lead, but another couple of scores from Reidy and a fine point from Paul Divilly pushed Kildare into a two-point lead for the first time. Wicklow needed something as Kildare were growing in confidence. It arrived soon after in the shape of Bray Emmetts Padraig Doyle who ran across the face of goal and planted a low shot into the bottom right corner of the net.
Almost inevitably Andy O’Brien found the net once again soon after as he finished off a Wicklow move, while Diarmuid Masterson’s second point of the afternoon saw Wicklow into a 3-13 to 0-18 lead with 55 minutes played. Just moments later Kilkenny native John Mulhall scored a goal for Kildare and Richie Ryan followed up with a point and when Chris Bonus found the net again the home side were two points clear with 10 minutes to go and they looked set for the win.
Wicklow powered home strongly however, with Christy Moorehouse slotting over three frees from a variety of distances and angles and when Andy O’Brien scored his second point to add to his two goals the win was sealed and celebrations began as we were through to the semi-finals for the first time since we reached the decider in 2012.
Wicklow Eoghan O’Mahony; Warren Kavanagh, Stephen Kelly, Martin O’Brien; Garry Byrne, John Henderson, Eamonn Kearns; Ronan Keddy (0-1), Peter Keane; Christy Moorehouse (0-9, 7f, 1’65), Danny Staunton (0-3), Diarmuid Masterson (0-2); George O’Brien, Andy O’Brien (2-2), Eoin McCormack (0-1). Subs: Luke Maloney for J Henderson, Padraig Doyle (1-0) for P Keane, Anto Byrne for G O’Brien.