Foot­ballers face Rossies as the pro­mo­tion race hots up

Bray People - - SPORT - MARK KENNEDY Sports re­porter

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.

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