Full-time: Wicklow 2-16 Fermanagh 1-11
16.50 – As for Wicklow, who have just taken to the field, they line out as follows: John Flynn; Ciaran Hyland, Anthony McLoughlin, Alan Byrne; Dean Healy, Michael McLoughlin, Stephen Kelly; James Stafford, Rory Finn; Leighton Glynn, Darragh O’Sullivan, Darren Hayden; Tony Hannon, Seanie Furlong, John McGrath
17.20 – 18 mins: Fermanagh 0-3 Wicklow 2-5, Wicklow beginning to take over as the Fermanagh half-back line is non-existent and the full-back line is being overrun. Furlong wins yet another high ball, he’s tormenting Brian Cox and the ball spills to Leighton Glynn who hits a chip shot just over. Seconds later Ciaran Hyland bursts through, his initial shot is parried but he nails the rebound. There’s more, James Stafford hammers one into the breeze and over. 1-2 in a matter of seconds.
17.48 – Two cups of coffee ordered for the second half, not to stay awake but to keep the fingers warm. Think I just saw Shackleton wandering past.
17.52 – Wicklow on field for second half. It’s quite an achievement for them in particular to be here. Harry Murphy has done something Mick O’Dwyer couldn’t do and has done something arguably more important than O’Dwyer did despite all those special days. Promotion was the only way Wicklow football could ever truly improve in the long term.
18.00 – 37 mins: Fermanagh 1-9 Wicklow 2-9, Good purposeful start to the second half by the Leinster side. Darren Hayden has a point flagged wide but Wicklow get on with it and Tony Hannon knocks over. Up the other end, we now have 28 players in the Wicklow half as Seanie Furlong makes a last-gasp block. That’s commitment.
18.04 – 42 mins: Poor refereeing from Fergal Kelly of Longford. An altercation between Seanie Furlong and Seamus Quigley sees the Wicklow man dropped and it’s right in front of the linesman. Yellow card given but either Quigley did something, it was seen and it’s red, or nothing happened and no card is needed. Ref bottled that. At least it heated things up as James Stafford celebrates a catch like John Mullane.
18.08 – 46 mins: Fermanagh 1-9 Wicklow 2-10, Rory Finn puts Wicklow further ahead but John Flynn makes more important contribution saving point blank from Tomas Corrigan. Since that Quigley-Furlong altercation, very much heavyweight for those boxing fans out there, Wicklow have looked like they want it more.
18.13 – 50 mins: Fermanagh 1-9 Wicklow 2-12, Seanie Furlong and Tony Hannon frees push Wicklow further ahead, getting away from Peter Canavan as his side look a little ragged and haven’t scored in this half as of yet. They are struggling around the middle and while Wicklow don’t pose the same goal threat since Barry Owens’ introduction, they’ve been great from longer distance.
18.22 – 61 mins: Fermanagh 1-10 Wicklow 2-13, Might just be it as Rory Finn, who has gotten forward superbly, clips over to give Wicklow a six-point lead. But it’s been their defence that deserves huge credit. They have tackled well, in numbers, and broken quickly. Fermanagh have struggled to get a shot off.
18.27 – 66 mins: Fermanagh 1-11 Wicklow 2-14, With no room inside Daniel Kille, not long off the bench, decides to have a go from about 50 and it lands over. Too little, too late though. Wicklow minutes from a fine victory, although promotion was the real key, as it was for Fermanagh.
18.33 – Full-time: Fermanagh 1-11 Wicklow 2-16, Tony Hannon and Seanie Furlong round off the game with two nice scores that have been reminiscent of Wicklow’s second half. They played tough at the back, broke quick and into space and the corner-forward and full-forward were left with time and room from close range. Much more settled second period where Wicklow’s defence upped the intensity, something their opponents couldn’t replicate. Eight points is probably a fair reflection too although they need to remember, Meath won’t be anything like this.