Footballers face Roscommon test
WICKLOW V. ROSCOMMON
Wicklow sitting pretty at the top of the league table this week with just two matches to go is a sight for sore eyes but be warned however.
That position is more than a bit misleading. The table makes the Division 4 title look like a three-horse race at the moment but Leitrim could be the fly in the ointment.
However, they could also do Wicklow a good turn in a very tight race.
At this point in time Leitrim have lost only one match and that was to Wicklow. Their last two matches are against Longford and Roscommon and by taking points from one or other they could open the door for a Wicklow win.
Sunday's game is a real make or break for Wicklow. If we win we will be in a very strong position for promotion and a place in the final so it's all to play for in Aughrim. Should we be without full-back Stephen Kelly, and at the moment that looks almost certain, then it will mean a reshuffle of the defence or trying out a newcomer in this key position.
Alan Byrne moved in to fill the position in Castlecomer and did a good job. Of course he played there in his Minor and under-21 days and has plenty of experience of the position. Like Chester he has courage and confidence to burn and certainly looks the best bet at this point in time.
With Ciarán Hyland, who missed the Kilkenny match, available it would mean the minimum of disruption to the defence as a whole. Patrick McWalter if he is out would also be a loss. Even coming in off the subs bench the St. Patrick's clubman has the ability to lift the team. And of course utility player Paul Earls is also on the doubtful.
Anyway the panel is growing in strength week by week and he hope is that they will be able to compensate for the losses and still deliver the goods.
The addition of Brian McGrath to the defence and Mayo man Austin O'Malley to the attack has given a new dimension to the team and with a few other newcomers, notably Paul Cunningham, showing up well, we are still there with a good chance of promotion.
It's quite a while since Wicklow went six matches undefeated and that is bound to boost the confidence of the team as a whole. Of course our supporters still have a big role to play if Aughrim is to hold its reputation as a death trap for visiting teams. We need a big turnout of supporters on Sunday and they, like the team, will have to be at their brilliant best.
Verdict: A win for Wicklow
NHL - WICKLOW V. ARMAGH
Casey O'Brien is in the rare position of not caring a lot what way his last league match goes, his team is through to the final of their division - a luxury that few Wicklow teams in hurling or football have ever enjoyed before.
However, Casey will want to keep his winning streak going and is unlikely to take his foot off the pedal at this stage. He is likely to be without Enan Glynn but other than that he should be picking from a full strength panel. On all known form Wicklow should be able to get a win over Armagh but to do it in their own headquarters will be difficult enough.
However, with Jonathan O'Neill and Andy O'Brien in such great scoring form and the rest of the team improving by the day, a win is definitely expected.
It's “an ill wind that blows nobody good” they say. Chester's sending off last Sunday could be a godsend to Casey O'Brien's hurlers. Under the new rules, they tell me that a sending off in football does not apply to hurling and vice versa.
So the hurling people are expecting that they will be able to avail of the services of the Eire Og man against Armagh on Sunday and have him ready to take his place in the League final on the 17th April. All of which is good news for Casey O'Brien and his selectors.
A note from Dave Murray, Chairman of the County Camogie Board, to tell us of a nice double-header for the girls this coming weekend. Wicklow's under-16 county team will play Westmeath in the fourth round of the U-16C All0Ireland Championship series at 1.30 p.m. on Sunday, March 27, in Avondale followed by the Wicklow Junior team who will play Meath in the first round of the Leinster Championship at 3 p.m. in the same venue.
Since Kilkenny girl Tara Warren took over the training of the Senior girls' team, they have worked hard and are making steady progress. However, taking on Meath is a big ask at this point in time but Dave is quite confident that they can do it.
Dean Healy gets in a strong challenge on Michael Saunders in the Kilkenny v. Wicklow Allianz Division 4 National Football League match in Castlecomer on Sunday.