Wick­low foot­ball hit by the eco­nomic down­turn

Stafford and Daly have gone to Aus­tralia in search of work

Bray People - - Bray People - Mark KENNEDY

MICK O’DWYER will be without two of his top play­ers as he takes Wick­low into their third sea­son un­der his man­age­ment.

Highly rated mid­fielder James Stafford from Rath­new and Derek Daly from newly-crowned county cham­pi­ons Kil­te­gan have em­i­grated to Aus­tralia in search of work.

Stafford and Daly both work in the construction in­dus­try and have been forced to leave Ire­land due to the eco­nomic down­turn.

Both play­ers will miss Wick­low’s league cam­paign in the early part of the year and, de­pend­ing on how long the in­tend stay­ing in Aussie land, they could be ab­sent from the county team for much longer, in­clud­ing the cham­pi­onship.

James Stafford has been a key mid­field part­ner to Thomas Walsh over the last two sea­sons and Mick O’Dwyer is go­ing to find it hard to re­place him.

In­deed the loss of both play­ers at this time is a huge blow as Wick­low en­deav­our to main­tain the mo­men­tum that Micko has achieved with his play­ers over the last two sea­sons.

Wick­low se­lec­tor Kevin O’Brien said: ‘In Wick­low, we can’t af­ford to be los­ing play­ers of that cal­i­bre, so hope­fully they’ll come back early in the New Year.’

O’Brien is con­fi­dent that the afore­men­tioned Thomas Walsh will re­main a Wick­low player in 2009, de­spite spec­u­la­tion that he could be about to re­turn to his na­tive Car­low who are now man­aged by Luke Dempsey.

‘Like all the play­ers, he’s just hav­ing a break at the mo­ment. His club (Bray Em­mets) fin­ished play­ing late in the year.

‘But we ex­pect him to be play­ing with us again next year. He’s a great player, a fella peo­ple have a lot of time for here in Wick­low,’ O’Brien added.

Mean­while Wick­low still have not found a new man­ager for the coun- ty se­nior hurl­ing team.

With the help of DJ Carey they have been scour­ing Kilkenny and Wex­ford for a man­ager to re­place John Mitchell but so far without suc­cess.

Mr. Mitchell had of­fered to con­tinue in the po­si­tion for an­other year but the of­fer was not taken up.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, Wick­low were close to reach­ing agree­ment with a new man­ager some weeks ago but that fell through.

Now they will have to move quickly to source a new man­ager over the next week to ten days as Wick­low’s hurlers will be out on Jan­uary 11 in the Ke­hoe Cup with a match against Trin­ity Col­lege hurlers.

Paul O'Rior­dan of New­town goes over the top of Adrian Fo­ley of Kil­te­gan dur­ing the Dunne Cup Divi­sion 1 Se­nior Foot­ball League semi-fi­nal at Bless­ing­ton on Sun­day.

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