Foot­ballers face Roscommon test

Bray People - - GAA ROUND-UP - PETER KEOGH GAA re­porter

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.

CAMOGIE

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.

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