Footballers face Rossies as the promotion race hots up
MICK O'DWYER'S footballers are facing into the business end of the league as they prepare for their last two games in Division 4 against Roscommon and Clare.
The Rossies are one of the teams who stand in the way of Wicklow achieving promotion and we must do the business in both games if we are to have any chance of advancing to a higher division.
We face the first of those hurdles next Sunday when we take on Roscommon at Aughrim and, like ourselves, the westerners are one of three unbeaten teams still chasing promotion, the other being Longford, while Leitrim are also in the running.
Roscommon feel that Division 4 of the league is below their current status as Connacht champions and they make no secret of the fact that they want to rectify that situation this year by moving clear of the basement division.
They still have to play London, which affords them the opportunity to overhaul our score difference; therefore nothing short of a win will suffice if Wicklow are to be in the shake-up for a league final place and promotion.
Last Sunday Wicklow racked up a 20-point win over the Cats at Castlecomer but it came at a cost too in that full-back Stephen ' Chester' Kelly was sent off on a straight red card and will not now be available to Micko for the vital last two league matches.
There were positives too for Wicklow in the Kilkenny encounter; not least that Tony Hannon will have his confidence booted by his three-goal haul, and Seánie Furlong's 1-7 was most encouraging.
But Roscommon are going to be a different kettle of fish entirely and Wicklow will not find the going nearly as easy. Home turf will be a help but the players will have to perform on the day as it is on the field of play that matches are won and lost at the end of the day.
Casey O'Brien's hurlers will also see league action next Sunday but little hinges on the result away to Armagh other than Wicklow finishing their Division 3A campaign with an unbeaten run.
Irrespective of the outcome, Wicklow are already through to the league final but the hurlers should not allow that fact to lull themselves into a sense of complacency about this match.
The hurlers have hit a winning streak of late, the players have been performing with passion and tremendous spirit, but that could change to a los- ing streak very easily if we take the foot off the pedal.
Success begets success and the players need to go out against Armagh next Sunday as if the team's future hangs on the result.
Three weeks later the hurlers will more than likely be again facing Derry in the league final and it would be far better to be facing into that crucial tie on a high rather than seeking to pick ourselves up from the low of an Armagh defeat.
Both the footballers and hurlers are in there with the prospect of league glory this year; let's together reach out towards that new dawn and not be forever cursing the dark.
As a curtain-raiser to Sunday's league match at Aughrim, Blessington will play Senchalstown from Meath in the Leinster U-16 football league final at 12.15 p.m.