Furlong brace gets Wicklow back on track

Wicklow 3-12 Offaly 0-17

Furlong brace gets Wicklow back on track

“Really poor teams here, going really bad in the league,” said McStay. “Offaly are just at nothing these days, it’s sad to say it.”

Unfortunately for Offaly fans, the Mayo legend got it just about spot on.

They trailed from start to finish, relied far too heavily on Niall McNamee, who scored 10 points and, afterwards, manager Emmet McDonnell quit.

In two years, he failed to preside over a win in the Championship. His side gained promotion from Division 4 last year but went straight back down. In 2014, Offaly won one game, an O’Byrne Cup opener against UCD.

McDonnell refused print media requests for interview after Saturday’s game, stating he didn’t want to say something in the heat of the moment he may regret.

Hours later, McNamee took to Twitter and appeared to criticise the Offaly county board for their lack of support for McDonnell.

McNamee tweeted: “Very sorry for Emmet and the lads. They gave it everything but were given little or no support from the top.”

Wicklow are in a far brighter position and fans could quite rightly take McStay to task over his suggestion that they are a ‘really poor team’. They were anything but.

Seanie Furlong and Leighton Glynn formed a dynamic two-man full-forward line. They finished with 2-6 between them, Glynn setting up both of Furlong’s goals.

The other goal was scored by Derek Hayden in the 67th minute and it capped a great display from the half-forward who worked tirelessly and got through a ton of good work.

Wicklow led from the first score of the game until full-time and, though never fully in the clear, were always in control.

Next up for them is a Round 2A qualifier against a beaten provincial semi-finalist. That could yet be Dublin.

“Yeah, we’ll welcome the Dubs to Aughrim!” smiled Wicklow manager Harry Murphy. “Sure we have to believe we’re a match for anyone that we get in the draw.

“At the end of the day, we’re going to be playing the losers of provincial semi-finals so there’s no reason not to believe we can’t win again.

“A win is a win, we don’t get too many of them in the Championship so we’re delighted to get it.

“We were nervous rightuntil the end. I felt at half-time we should have been further ahead. We missed a few scoring chances in the first-half.

“Seanie and Leighton had them beaten up a stick inside but we didn’t get enough ball into them. That was disappointing and it’s something we’ve definitely got to work on.

“We did try to rectify that in the second-half but then they dropped back in front of Leighton and Seanie to cut the service out.

“So we had to change again, we brought Leighton out the field to get on the ball. He did get a bit and used it well so it worked out for us in the end.”

Glynn missed last year through injury. But he is clearly back to his best, weaving and bobbing and picking holes in the Offaly defence.

Aside from setting up Furlong’s goals, he clipped over four points, three from frees and lashed another shot off the bar. Still, a 1-8 to 0-9 half-time lead meant the game was still there for the taking. Furlong’s second goal after 39 minutes when he bundled home a Glynn ball in gave Wicklow breathing space with a six-point lead. They allowed Offaly to pick off a number of points before Hayden’s third goal three minutes from time which sealed it.

Scorers for Wicklow: S Furlong (2-2), L Glynn (0-4, one free), D Hayden (1-0), A Murphy (0-2), D Healy, J Stafford, A McLoughlin and J McGrath (0-1 each).

Scorers for Offaly: N McNamee (0-10, 5f), J Maher (0-3, two frees), J Moloney, P Cunningham, N Smith and A Sullivan (0-1 each).

WICKLOW: R Lambert; C Hyland, P McLoughlin, A Murphy; D Healy, A Byrne, K Murphy; J Stafford, A McLoughlin; R Finn, P Earls, D Hayden; L Glynn, S Furlong, P McWalter.

Subs: C Murphy for Healy (30, b/c), P Cunningham for McWalter (46), J McGrath for Earls (48), N Gaffney for Stafford (61), D O’Sullivan for Finn (66).

OFFALY: A Mulhall; J O’Connor, D Brady, N Darby; B Darby, R Allen, M Brazil; J Moloney, N Smith; E Carroll, G Guilfoyle, P Cunningham; J Maher, N McNamee, A Sullivan.

Subs: D Corbett for Brady (26), P McPadden for Guilfoyle (34), P McConway for Allen (41), S Sullivan for O’Connor (59, b/c), P Sullivan for Maher (60), C Kiely for McPadden (67).

Referee: C Lane (Cork).

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