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O’Brien and O’Neill fire Wicklow into final

Wicklow’s hurlers are back in the Christy Ring Cup final for the second year running after beating Meath by eight points in the semi-final at Arklow on Saturday.

But they will not know their final opponents until next weekend as London and Down played out a draw after extra-time.

A year ago Wicklow were beaten by Kerry in the final by 13 points and will be hoping, like previous Christy Ring winners Carlow and Westmeath, that defeat in one final will be followed by a resounding win in the next.

And it was their twin lethal strike force of corner-forward Andy O’Brien and full-forward Jonathan ‘Bosco’ O’Neill who sank 14-man Meath as they racked up 1-14 between them.

Andy O’Brien got the show on the road with two points in the first minute added a goal after 26 minutes as Wicklow raced into a 2-7 to 0-3 lead.

In the last ten minutes of the first half Meath hit back for goals by Derek Doran and midfielder and top scorer Stephen Clynch to cut the deficit to four, 2-10 to 2-6, at the break but by then they were down to 14 men after the red-carding of Steven Donoghue just minutes after he was introduced.

Meath managed to keep the deficit down to four or five points throughout the third quarter but Jonathan O’Neill continued to hit over the vital points for Wicklow from play and frees. And again Christy Moorehouse proved the big impact sub for Wicklow as he closed out the game with a third goal when he raced in from the right touchline before blasting to the net.

Scorers for Wicklow: A O’Brien 1-5, J O’Neill 0-9 (3fs, 1 65), C Moorehouse 1-1, W O’Gorman 1-0, Enan Glynn, T Doyle 0-1 each.

Scorers for Meath: S Clinch 1-4 (1f, 2 65s), D Doran 1-3, N Kirby 0-3 (2fs), P Durnin, N Horan 0-1 each.

WICKLOW: J Murphy; J Connors, G Keogh, B Cuddihy; J Henderson, S Kelly, G Bermingham; E Kearns, R Keddy; T Doyle W O’Gorman, E Dunne; E Glynn, J O’Neill, A O’Brien.

Subs: C Moorehouse for Dunne, J Connors for Doyle, L Kennedy for Kearns, A Murphy for O’Brien.

MEATH: S McGann; C Reilly, E Fitzgerald, W Mahedy; J Togher, D Healy, E Keogh; S Morris, S Clinch; C Ó Mealoid, S Heavey, J Kelly; D Doran, N Kirby, P Durnin.

Subs: N Horan for Kelly, S Donoghue for Morris, P Fagan for Fitzgerald, P Conneely for Durnin, D Raleigh for Ó Mealoid.

Referee: T Carroll (Offaly).