Hurling & Camogie

Donegal no match for Wicklow in Division 2B clash

Ritchie Ryan missed a penalty as Donegal suffered a heavy defeat to Wicklow
Ritchie Ryan missed a penalty as Donegal suffered a heavy defeat to Wicklow

Allianz Huring League Division 2B round four

Donegal 0-11 Wicklow 2-24

A PHYSICALLY powerful and deadly accurate Wicklow had far too much power and panache for a badly outgunned Donegal side in O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny on Sunday.

The winners were superior in all departments, won all the 50/50 balls and were never really troubled by their much lighter opponents.

Donegal were minus Stephen Gillespie, Danny Cullen, Declan Coulter and Bernard Lafferty and their experience and ability was a huge loss on the day.

But such was Wicklow’s utter dominance, it would be doubtful if this experienced quartet could have halted the inexorable blue wave.

Right from the off, Wicklow’s razor-sharp forwards struck superb scores from distance. And their exceptional upper body strength meant that they easily won all the individual battels.

But the home side looked heavy legged-with only their full-back line, midfielder Jack O’Loughlin and corner-forward Ruairi Campbell showing any sort of form.

The winners were well worth their half-time lead of 0-14 to 0-5. They also hit two goals in the second half from Sam O’Dowd and sub Gavin Weir to garnish a most impressive display.

Luke Maloney and Diarmuid Masterson set the tone in the opening minutes with rapid- fire long-range points.

Wicklow were totally dominant, and Eoin McCormack and marksman Christy Moorehouse moved them into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead, with Liam McKinney replying with a Donegal point.

But the pattern was set, and the home side could only manage a paltry four more points – from McKinney and sub Oisin Marley.

In contrast, Wicklow were playing exhibition stuff with giant centre-forward Padraig Doyle hitting 0-3, Eoin McCormack 0-3, Daniel Staunton 0-2 and David Maloney 0-2.

To add to Donegal’s woes they missed a penalty when Ritchie Ryan was pulled down in the square but then his penalty saved by Wicklow keeper Conor McNally. The rebound fell to Gerry Gilmore, but he first-timed the sliotar past the post in the 20th minute.

That was a brief respite from Wicklow’s total dominance as they spread some intelligent passes into their accurate forwards and won all the physical battles easily.

The gap in class in both benches was also all too apparent as the skilled Andy O’Brien really added to the Wicklow attack.

Donegal put on Oisin Marley just before half-time and he responded with 0-2, but his colleagues continued to struggle against a very well-organised Wicklow in the second half.

The towering Doyle got the first point of the half as Wicklow took up where they had left off.

And the points flowed from McCormack, Daniel Staunton and wing-back Sam O’Dowd.

But the scorers were in loads of space for these points as Donegal struggled to stay with the Garden county.

Christy Moorhouse and O’Brien were also on target for the winners before they got a lucky goal in the 47th minute.

O’Dowd’s hopeful lob bounced in past impressive Donegal keeper Luke White although he seemed to be blinded by a Wicklow player running across his path.

McKinney and Brian McIntyre had points for the home side before Gavin Weir pounced for Wicklow’s second goal in the 65th minute, hitting the sliotar one-handed to the net after he had stumbled on the edge of the square.

The game ended tamely with more points for Wicklow from O’Brien and Mark Murphy before Donegal sub Ciaran Bradley got the final score.

A thoroughly deserved win for Wicklow who look set to face Meath in the final, but this was the worst Donegal display in some time.

Donegal: L White; S McBride, M Donaghue, P Doherty; B McIntyre (0-1) B Lafferty, G Browne; C Gartland J O’Loughlin; L McKinney (0-7,3f) R McDermott, D O’ Maoileidigh; R Ryan, G Gilmore, R Campbell Subs; P Nelson for G Browne (11), O Marley (0-2) for C Gartland (30), S Ward for D O’Maoileidigh (47), Ciaran Bradley (0-1) for McDermott (56), K Curran for Ruairi Campbell (60)

Wicklow: C McNally; B Kearney, A Kavanagh, M O’Brien; P Doran, J Henderson, S O’Dowd (1-1): L Maloney (0-1) Diarmuid Masterson (0-2); Daniel Staunton (0-4) P Doyle (0-4), E McCormack (0-4); S Geramine, C Moorehouse (0-4,3f) D Maloney (0-1) Subs; A O’Brien (0-2) for P Doyle (43), G Weir (1-0) for Henderson (51),M Murphy (0-1) for L Maloney (55), M Lee for D Maloney (57), D Byrne for M O’Brien (56)

Referee: K Brady (Louth)