Wicklow edge 14-man Deise after extra time30/06/2012 - 17:04:41
Wicklow 1-17 Waterford 0-15, (after extra-time)
Wicklow needed extra-time to see off 14-man Waterford in a real Aughrim thriller this afternoon.
The talismanic Gary Hurney was shown a straight red card in the 26th minute but Waterford rallied to lead by 0-7 to 0-4 at half-time.
Conor McGraynor’s goal sent the hosts 1-7 to 0-7 ahead but Waterford, inspired by Paul Whyte’s scores, retook the lead only for Alan Byrne to force extra-time.
Crucially, McGraynor and Joey Kelly came to the fore for Wicklow in the two added periods as Harry Murphy's men booked their place in the second round of the All-Ireland SFC qualifiers.
Tony Hannon captained the hosts in the absence of broken ankle victim Leighton Glynn, with the injured Ciaran Hyland also a big loss.
With a considerable wind behind them, Waterford made the early running. Gary Hurney, who was moved out to the forty, and Sean Dempsey both pointed in the first two minutes.
The Déise were able to negate the influence of James Stafford at midfield, but Wicklow hit back when John McGrath broke forward for a well-taken point.
Patrick Hurney replied for Waterford and they stretched their lead to 0-4 to 0-1 courtesy of a Cillian O’Keeffe effort, efficiently turning possession into points.
Dean Healy did well to win a free at the other end which Seanie Furlong slotted over, and a Hannon free had Wicklow just one behind at the midpoint of the half.
Clever build-up play set up Patrick Hurney for a superb second point, an angled drive from 40 yards out, but his brother Gary was sent-off just moments later.
As the Déise pushed forward in attack, Hurney floored Wicklow full-back Anto McLoughlin in an off-the-ball incident and referee Padraig O’Sullivan reached for his red card after input from his nearest linesman.
Waterford looked far from rattled though as Whyte tagged on a point and Tony Grey’s quickly-taken free played in his midfield colleague Dempsey for a fisted point which could have been a goal.
Wicklow raced downfield and Furlong had a penalty claim turned down, with Hannon able to mop up with a point to close the gap to three and that is how it remained for the break.
Wicklow came out a renewed force at the start of the second half, stung into action by manager Murphy's words. The numerical advantage aided them as Darren Hayden, McGrath and Joey Kelly all pointed to bring them level at 0-7 apiece.
The momentum was with the home side as McGraynor soon sent a shot beyond the reach of Waterford stopper Stephen Enright for the game's only goal.
But John Owens' men won a league game 4-7 to 1-12 here back in March and they rediscovered that sort of form in a second half that ebbed and flowed throughout.
The visitors restored their confidence with a run of points from White (free), Shane Briggs and JJ Hutchinson. The increasingly influential Whyte was also denied by the post as he looked to break the Déise's goal deadlock.
Both defences were coming under more pressure and Enright produced a fine save to prevent big Wicklow midfielder Stafford from finding the net, with the scoreline standing at 1-7 to 0-10 in the 58th minute.
McGrath restarted the scoring for Wicklow with a crisply-struck '45', only for Waterford, who showed tremendous drive and energy in the first 70 minutes, to respond with two of their own.
Mark Ferncombe landed a point from play and Whyte was accurate from a '45', edging their side into a 0-12 to 1-8 advantage with Whyte sliding a '45' to the left at the other end.
But in a dramatic finish, defender Alan Byrne held his nerve to pop over the levelling point in injury-time and keep Wicklow in the Championship.
It was a hammer blow for Waterford as they looked on the cusp of a gritty away win. They never really recovered and despite being restored to 15 players for extra-time, it was Wicklow who took a grip on the game.
There were a number of tough tackles and borderline challenges as the action heated up, particuarly in the second half. Indeed, right at the death, Wicklow forward Furlong lost a tooth in an incident involving Waterford's Kieran Connery.
Waterford were outscored by 0-3 to 0-1 in the first period of extra-time as Wicklow's superior fitness became a factor. McGraynor, Furlong and Kelly all chipped in with points and Grey hit the lone score for the visitors.
With home advantage also a factor, Wicklow managed to pull away in the closing stages with points from McGraynor, Stafford and Niall Gaffney sending them through to the next round.
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