Wicklow face Longford in 2009 Leinster opener
MICK O’DWYER has to be reasonably happy with the draw Wicklow’s footballers have got in the Leinster championship next year.
While an opener away to Longford is not going to be an easy starter, Wicklow have avoided coming up against Leinster’s big guns such as Dublin, Meath and Wexford in the early rounds.
Indeed Wicklow two opening games in the Leinster championship - that’s provided they win their first match - against Longford and then Westmeath would seem to be very much on a par with this year’s opposition of Kildare and Laois.
Micko’s men carved out a historic first championship win in Croke Park when beating Kildare in the Leinster opener and then they went within a whisker of beating Laois and making it to the semi-final, being denied a last four position as a resulted of missed goal chances.
As Micko’s men continue their path of progress, another championship win over Longford would seem well within their compass, but they will need to be wary as Longford - and also Westmeath - have spoiled the party on the Garden county in the past.
Mick O’Dwyer said: ‘In 2009, we will be hoping to do even better than this year. That’s what it’s all about, keeping the momentum there and moving on.
‘We had a satisfying year in 2008 and with a bit of luck we could have beaten Laois. As you know, they only beat us by two points and James Stafford hit the crossbar. Had that shot been a couple of inches lower we would have won that game.
‘We have a good panel of players, we have a good chance. We hope to get a few new players from these club championships and that will make a big difference. We need a few fresh faces.
‘We would be hoping to win at least two matches next year and hopefully get to a Leinster final. It is most important that we get a good draw. We were not far off a Leinster final this year. If we had got over Laois, we would have had a right crack at Wexford and anything could have happened.’