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Monday 11 December 2017

Wicklow boss Johnny Magee looks to the future after miracle comeback victory in Aughrim

Wicklow manager Johnny Magee
Wicklow manager Johnny Magee

THERE was no great gusty Aughrim gale, nor any glut of game-turning goals.

Which makes Wicklow's result - or rather, the bizarre manner of it - against Leitrim last Sunday in Division 4 of the Allianz League, all the more remarkable.

On 31 minutes, Johnny Magee's team - beaten on the League's opening afternoon by Waterford - were 0-9 to 0-0 down.

Whitewashed.

At home.

By Leitrim.

Thus, Magee recalls both the nauseating sensation of being in such a bleak spot on his home League debut as Wicklow manager and the silent evolution of his half-time address.

"I thought 'I'm going to kill these fellas at half-time!'," he told the Herald.

"Ah look, it wasn't acceptable. They were doing everything opposite to what we had told them to do."

pinched

Then, having shown no discernible sign of successfully stringing a sequence of passes together, Wicklow pinched four points before the break to go in 0-9 to 0-4 down. "When the first score went up, there was a bit of a cheer," he recalls.

"And when the second one went up, there was a bigger cheer. So, it kind of changed the atmosphere a slight bit.

"Had we not tagged them, I'd say we would have struggled to win," Magee admits, through the pleasant hindsight of a 0-11 to 0-10 win.

"To go half an hour without scoring is unacceptable. We went 20 minutes without scoring against Waterford too the previous week.

"I'll be honest, I was disappointed with the crowd," the former Dublin defender admits, putting the figure at between 400 and 500.

"I'm sure there was a bit of frustration from within the crowd but I wouldn't listen to that or hear that."

Lessons learned. Wickow have Offaly, the division's only unbeaten team, in Aughrim next and a small bit of optimism in the bank from such a redemptive victory.

performance

"Look, we're good enough to beat anyone," Magee, who is joined on the Garden County management ticket by his brother Darren and fellow Kilmacud Crokes man, Ray Cosgrove.

"It's just getting our performances levels up and more consistency. And don't go without scoring for 20 minutes."

"Look, the Division itself is wide open. We have the talent," Magee concludes.

"We're capable of beating anyone in the Division."

He'd just prefer to do it a more conventional way.

WICKLOW

Conor McKeon

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