Footballers and hurlers beaten in league
WICKLOW SUFFERED a double defeat in league games, football and hurling, at the weekend.
The footballers were only beaten by one point by Connacht champions Roscommon at Aughrim but the effect on our promotion prospects could be greater.
With just two rounds of games left, we are now depending on other counties to do us a good turn and even at that the odds of finally breaking free of the basement fourth division are decidedly against us.
Roscommon came to Aughrim with a big reputation as Connacht champions and some might see a one-point defeat as not a bad result for Wicklow.
But this was a game that we could and possibly should have won. We went five points clear in the third quarter and should never have leaked that lead.
But we took our eye off the ball in the crucial stages and allowed Roscommon's Kevin Higgins a free shot for the vital third goal that had Wicklow trying in vain to play catch-up in the closing minutes.
But there were good performances from a number of players to be pleased about and Mayo man Austin O'Malley is a decided asset to the team.
But some other players need to step up to the plate if Wicklow are to win those big games, while the fact that Jacko Dalton had to leave the fray after only a couple of minutes last Sunday was a big blow to Wicklow's chances of winning.
Now Mick O'Dwyer's men have to put their first defeat in the current league behind them and focus their attention on the Clare match on April 10 and then on the more important Leinster championship match against Kildare in May.
Wicklow's hurlers were shipping an even heavier defeat in their away league game on Sunday beaten by 5-11 to 2-14 by a young Armagh team that contained a lot of U-21 players.
It was Wicklow's last game in the league and had no bearing. Wicklow were already through to the league final and Casey O'Brien and his back-room team used the match to give a run to some of the fringe players.
The league final, a rematch with Derry, is just over the horizon on April 17 and minds and preparations must now focus on that if we are to achieve the objecting of winning league and Christy Ring Cup this year.
The team got a boost this week as Leighton Glynn became the second dual county star to decide to give a dig out to the hurlers.
The first was Stephen ‘Chester’ Kelly and now the backroom boys are hoping that Kiltegan's Seánie Furlong may follow suit as they start the push for a league and Christy Ring Cup double in 2011.
The hurling squad has further strengthened this week by the arrival of James Quirke, a De La Salle hurler from Waterford. James Quirke is a garda in Wicklow town and he is coming to Wicklow's county team as a permission player.
Quirke was on the De La Salle team beaten in the AllIreland club final two years ago. Injury kept him out of the team this year and De La Salle were defeated in the All-Ireland semi-final by Clarenbridge from Galway, the eventual winners.
This weekend is free of county team action for a change. So instead we will have a full round of Senior football league match matches starting on Friday evening and continuing on Saturday and Sunday.
Included in the programme are a couple of local derby matches when Donard take on Hollywood on Friday, and Tinahely and Ballymanus clash on Saturday.
Other Friday night fixtures are: Baltinglass v. Shillelagh, Newtown v. Kiltegan; Saturday - St. Patrick's v. Carnew, AGB v. Blessington; Sunday - Dunlavin v. Rathnew, Stratford v. Bray Emmets.
Wicklow’s Paul Earls tries to get past Roscommon’s Seán McDermott during Sunday’s National Football League Division 4 match in Aughrim.