Foot­ballers and hurlers beaten in league

Bray People - - SPORT - MARK KENNEDY Sports re­porter

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.

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