Hurlers facing tough test on trip to London
NATIONAL HURLING LEAGUE - WICKLOW V. LONDON
Casey O'Brien faces his stiffest task to date in the hurling league when he takes his team to Ruislip to play what we believe is a very strong London side boosted by a recent influx of immigrants arriving from a number of the strong hurling counties, writesPeterKeogh.
It is rumoured that they have at least one Tipperary under-21 player and a couple of under-21's from Cork. We do know that their top scorer is a Wexford man called Martin Finn.
Anyway what will worry Casey more than the opposition is the fact that he could be short of two or three key players on the day.
His strong centre half back Liam Kennedy picked up what looked a bad enough leg injury in the match against Meath just a week ago and has to be extremely doubtful. Top scorer Andy O'Brien is also very doubtful.
He pulled a hamstring in the match against Kildare and while he tested it out against Meath, he lasted less than ten minutes.
However, on the credit side Eoin O'Neill has made good progress in his bid to get fit again and he may be able to take some part in this match.
Other than that the confidence level is high in the camp after good wins over two of our great rivals, Kildare and Meath, with the display against Meath in particular, which was in their own Pairc Tailteann, being particularly good.
Veterans like Jonathan O'Neill, Don Hyland and Geoffrey Bermingham are playing better than ever and they are now getting great back up from young players like Eamon Kearns, Thomas Doyle, Billy Cuddihy and Leon Browne.
There is also a possibility that duel star Stephen Kelly will be available for this match and that would be a great boost to the side.
Leighton Glynn has also promised the manager that he will throw in his lot with the hurlers whenever the chance presents itself.
Graham Keogh is another player that appears to have got a new lease of life.
A bad injury at work took him out of the game for a long time, in fact it was feared at that time that it would end his sporting career.
But Graham is made of stern stuff and fought back but it is only now that he is really only coming back into his own and in the match against Kildare in particular we saw the Graham Keogh that we knew in his early days.
His flankers, Jim Connors and Willy Collins, are also playing well and form quite a good full-back line. Ronan Keddy, Ray Nolan and goal-grabber Enan Glynn are others playing well this year.
If Casey can field a full strength team, then he will be in with a great chance of bagging another valuable brace of points in his bid for league honours.
MINOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE - WICKLOW V. KILKENNY
Hugh Kenny gets his season off to a start when he travels to Muckalee on Friday night to play Kilkenny in the first round of the Minor Football League.
On paper that may look an easy task but Wicklow know to their cost that a Kilkenny Minor team at this time of the year may be no push over.
Hugh and his selectors have prepared the team well and are quite hopeful of having a good run in both league and championship this year.
His team will be backboned by players from the Vocational Schools side that reached the Leinster final and will include Pádraig Geoghegan, who was very impressive in that final against Meath, Jimmy Kelly, John Manley, Stephen Olohan, Jamie Snell and Theo Smith to mention just a few.
The full panel at the moment has 32 players but Hugh tells us that that will have to be cut back to 26 to comply with the guidelines.
At the moment that panel reads: Gavin Burke (Kilmacanogue); Andy Corrigan (Hollywood); Darren Gammell (Kilcoole); Padraig Geoghegan (Avondale); Shane Hogan (Tinahely); Daniel Keane (Eire Og); Jimmy Kelly (Dunlavin); John Manley (Rathnew); Stephen Murphy (Annacurra); Aongus O Briain (Avondale); Justin O’Brien (Eire Og); Colin Smullen (St. Patrick’s); Brendan McCrea (Carnew); Theo Smith (Rathnew); Mark Keogh (Kilbride); Ronan Byrne (Kiltegan); Conor McKenna (An Tochar); Adam Conway (Bray Emmets); Patrick Crowley (An Tochar); Mark Murphy (A.G.B.); Steve Olohan (Laragh); Jamie Snell (Rathnew); Matt Mannix (Kilcoole); Andrew Howard (Dunlavin); Jamie Miley (Valleymount); Niall Crosbie (Eire Og); Nicky Sweeney (Bray Emmets); Philip Murphy (Rathnew); Dean McGarr (Blessington); Gary Carroll (Dunlavin); Hugh Douglas (Bray Emmets); Pierce Sweeney (Bray Emmets).