Donegal Senior Hurlers avenged their recent heavy home defeat to Wicklow with a hard earned but deserved victory in this Division 2B League semi-final in Aughrim to set up a Final meeting with Meath.
FULL-TIME: Wicklow 0-16 Donegal 0-17
An impressive first-half performance by Mickey McCann’s team saw them lead by double scores at the break , 0-10 to 0-05 with Liam McKinney in excellent form from placed balls with seven frees and a 65.
They kept their noses in front throughout the hard fought second-half , their task made more difficult after the sending off of Ronan McDermott for a second yellow card, a decision that looked a bit harsh on the Burt man.
His teammates raised their efforts and were always able to stay ahead, in fact with McKinney who finished with 0-10 points, getting great support from Brian McIntyre, with 0-03 points on the scoresheet, and others including the outstanding JacK O Loughlin chipping in they kept the gap at least two and often at three or four points, until the final few minutes at which stage the extra man helped Wickow’s cause.
Even at that as the finish line got closer Donegal still led by three, 0-17 to 0-14, and it took two very late Wicklow scores to leave just one between them at the end, 0-17 to 0-16 in Donegal’s favour.
Donegal have responded brilliantly to that nineteen point defeat by the same opponents in O Donnell Park two weeks ago , beating neighbours Tyrone by 1-18 to 1-17 last week and now avenging the Wicklow defeat with this gritty performance to clinch a final spot against table toppers Meath next weekend.
The team manager has made in clear that retaining Division 2B status was important for the team but the main focus is the Nicky Rackard Cup. He will be delighted that, despite a number of key players missing , others have stepped up to the challenge and the squad has benefitted as a result.
They now can look forward to another competitive game against Meath before their opening championship meeting with Fermanagh in three weeks’ time.