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GAA Roundup Wicklow rallies past stunned Dubs, gain O’Byrne semi

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Mark Jones

DUBLIN — An O’Byrne Cup victory might not send out too many signals at this early stage of the season, but the footballers of Wicklow will have certainly been given a confidence boost following last Sunday’s 1-14 to 1-12 victory over Dublin at Aughrim.

No one could remember for sure the last time Wicklow defeated Dublin in a competitive game, but the shouts of delight from the home team’s dressing room were a clear indication of the importance of this success.

Trailing by three points coming up to full time, it seemed as if Wicklow had lost another chance, but when Anthony Mernagh was fouled in the square, Ronan Coffey calmly drove his shot past Davy Byrne in the Dublin goal.

With extra-time appearing the most likely scenario, Wicklow pressed forward and Tommy Gill pointed two frees in quick succession to pull off a surprise victory.

"We won’t be getting carried away with this," said Wicklow’s manager, Moses Coffey, "but, yes, it was a good day for Wicklow football. What really pleased me was the work rate of the players. It won the game for us in the end."

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Meanwhile, Meath also made it through to the O’Byrne Cup semifinals when they finished strongly to see off the challenge of Laois at Stradbally on a scoreline of 3-13 to 3-8. Graham Geraghty scored 1-5 for the winners, who go through to the last four along with Westmeath, who defeated Louth by 1-19 to 4-7 in Mullingar. However, Wexford’s quarterfinal with Offaly in Gorey had to be abandoned coming up to halftime because of fog.

Kevin Fennelly signed in as Dublin’s new hurling manager last Sunday and watched his charges lose their Walsh Cup semifinal to Wexford at Ferns, where it finished 1-11 to 1-7 in the home team’s favor.

"Dublin, in the back of their minds, probably expect to get beaten," Fennelly said. "If that’s in your head, it will come out in your hurling. It’s just a matter of self-belief and getting a win or two under their belts."

Wexford’s opponents in the final will be Laois, who secured a rare win over Offaly at Rathdowney. Offaly included just three of the team beaten in last year’s All-Ireland final, so it was no great surprise that Laois were able to come through by 3-13 to 1-10.

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