Mi­nor hurlers are show­ing prom­ise

Bray People - - SPORT -

HURL­ING IN Wick­low has a new spring in its step this year on the back of the suc­cesses of the county Se­nior team.

And this is per­co­lat­ing down to the county Mi­nor team which had been strug­gling to sur­vive in re­cent years.

Gle­nealy's Michael An­thony O'Neill is in charge of the Mi­nors this year and he too has been re­spon­si­ble for in­fus­ing new life into the play­ers and the team.

This be­came very ev­i­dent at the week­end when the Mi­nors trav­elled to Louth on Satur­day to take part in a blitz competition.

In the first match they went un­der 2-6 to 2-10 to Down but fol­lowed up by trounc­ing home team Louth by a whop­ping 7-17 to 0-5.

In re­cent times Wick­low strug­gled to even field a county Mi­nor hurl­ing team, at times forced to give walk-overs be­cause of a short­age of play­ers, and they were de­feated by Louth in the 2010 B cham­pi­onship.

Af­ter the long jour­ney to Louth, Wick­low were in ac­tion straight away against Down and took some time to set­tle into the game.

With the aid of the wind and hill, Down got ahead early on, but Wick­low came back at their op­po­nents once they clicked into gear and gave as good as they got.

In the Ul­ster hurl­ing fir­ma­ment, Down are sec­ond only to Antrim and for Wick­low to close the gap to just four points at the end was a con­sid­er­able achieve­ment in­deed.

Fur­ther­more this was Wick­low first com­pet­i­tive out­ing of the year at Mi­nor whereas Down showed all the signs of a well coached and or­gan­ised out­fit.

One of the en­cour­ag­ing fea­tures from a Wick­low point of view was the fact that Michael An­thony was able to muster a squad of 26 play­ers for the blitz. And the turnout for the Satur­day train­ing ses­sions has also been most en­cour­ag­ing but he ap­peals to all hurl­ing clubs to come on board and put their shoul­der to the wheel.

He said that the suc­cess of the county Se­niors is rub­bing off on the Mi­nors. 'It is great for us but we need ev­ery­one to row in be­hind us. If we get ev­ery avail­able player, we would be able to field quite a de­cent team.'

'We have a tough game in the cham­pi­onship against the losers of Car­low v. West­meath - two high level hurl­ing coun­ties - in six weeks time or so and we need all hands to the pump for that game.'

Ev­ery mem­ber of the squad can take a bow for Wick­low's en­cour­ag­ing show­ing in Satur­day's blitz.

Eire Og's Dan O'Neill was very strong in goal; Gle­nealy full-back War­ren Ka­vanagh, Bray Em­mett's Der­mot Master­son at cen­tre-back and Aaron Nu­gent on the wing led a solid de­fence. Con­sid­er­ing that he had played with the Mi­nor foot­ballers the night be­fore, John Man­ley from Gle­nealy shone at mid­field; while up front Gle­nealy's Stephen Cody and Bray's Michael Lee did most of the scor­ing for Wick­low in both matches.

As the build-up to the cham­pi­onship con­tin­ues, Michael An­thony is hop­ing to ar­range a num­ber of chal­lenge matches for his charges over the com­ing weeks.

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