Wicklow football hit by the economic downturn
Stafford and Daly have gone to Australia in search of work
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.