The home side were three points to the good entering injury-time but their defence didn’t deal with Conor McGraynor’s 40-metre free and Jacko Dalton netted from close range.
“Goals happen like that. It’s a sickening blow to the lads. We had simple opportunities to put the game to bed and we didn’t take them. Even at the death, we were straight through and we missed a simple chance,” lamented the Roscommon boss afterwards.
A desperate opening half had ended with Roscommon 0-7 to 0-5 to the good at the break. John McGrath was Wicklow’s sole scorer during the opening 35 minutes with four frees and an effort from play in the 30th minute.
On the other hand, Roscommon had to rely on the exuberance of youth and wing back Conor Daly managed two fine scores.
Kevin Higgins and Cathal Shine alongside a brace of frees from Donal Smith and Shine (2) helped the Rossies into a two-point interval advantage.
Wicklow midfielder James Sheerin pointed a minute into the new half. But Roscommon found their second wind and points by Michael Finneran, Daly and two excellent scores from Smith pushed Evans’ charges into a 0-11 to 0-6 lead at the end of the third quarter. The advantage should have been greater but the hosts spurned a host of decent opportunities.
The arrival of McGraynor and Dalton gave Wicklow a much-needed presence in the attack. Two frees and a ‘45 from McGraynor narrowed the gap but David O’Gara kept Roscommon’s noses in front. McGrath and O’Gara swapped points before Dalton proved to be the visitors’ hero in additional time. Even then, Cathal Cregg should have wrapped up the points for Roscommon but he shot wide from a good position.
Scorers for Roscommon: C Daly, D Smith (1f), C Shine (2f) 0-3 each, D O’Gara 0-2, K Higgins, M Finneran 0-1 each.
Scorers for Wicklow: J McGrath 0-6 (4f), C McGraynor 0-3 (2f, 1 45), J Dalton 1-0, J Sheerin 0-1.
ROSCOMMON: G Claffey; N Collins, N Carty, S McDermott; D Keenan, N Daly, C Daly; M Finneran, K Higgins; F Cregg, D O’Gara, D Keane; D Smith, C Shine, C Devaney.
Subs: J Connaughton for F Cregg (56), C Cregg for Keane (59), S Oates for Devaney (67).
WICKLOW: J Flynn; C Hyland, J Kelly, P Cunningham; D Hayden, A Byrne, D Healy; J Sheerin, A McLoughlin; N Mernagh, P MacWalter, P Earls; A O’Malley, J Stafford, J McGrath.
Subs: P Dalton for Earls (12), C McGraynor for Dalton (41), R Finn for Sheerin (55), J Dalton for Mernagh (56), S Byrne for McGrath (70).
Referee: J Henry (Mayo).