AND WE’RE OFF

Wicklow to face tough stu­dents

Bray People - - SPORT - PETER KEOGH Pre­view

O'BYRNE CUP

Wicklow v DCU - Sun­day - Greystones 2pm Harry Murphy and his foot­ballers kick off the new sea­son with this match against DCU at the Eire Og pitch in Greystones on Sun­day.

It will mark the start of a hec­tic week, the likes of such I for one can't re­mem­ber. Three of­fi­cial matches in eight days are cer­tainly new to me.

Harry and his hench­men Gavin Wynne and Mick Murphy are run­ning with a panel of over 40 play­ers at the moment and he prob­a­bly needs some­thing like this to have a proper look at all of them.

This is a re­peat of the open­ing game in the same com­pe­ti­tion last year. We got a really test­ing match against the highly rated stu­dents at Balt­in­glass. Then, as now, Harry was in ex­per­i­men­tal mode and was putting more em­phases on try­ing out new play­ers, or sea­soned play­ers in new po­si­tions and while he lost a great bat­tle by a point he could just as eas­ily have won it by the same mar­gin.

The man that beats us that day was a young­ster caller Rock - Dean Rock, a son of the great Bar­ney. The fi­nal score was DCU 0-18; Wicklow 1-14 and we missed two late frees af­ter tak­ing off Tony Han­non

Han­non has now re­tired but most of the oth­ers that played that day are still on the panel. Niall Gaffney and Peadar Burke are in Aus­tralia; while a num­ber of oth­ers are not avail­able for one rea­son or an­other.

In fact none of the top scor­ers in that match will be avail­able on Sun­day. Joey Kelly (Rest­ing), Seanie Fur­long (in­jured), Nicky Mer­nagh (in­jured) and Han­non (re­tired). Oth­ers on the in­jured list in­clude Leighton Glynn, Cathal Ros­siter, Stephen Kelly and the come­back kid Damien Power.

Rory Finn is on army duty and may not be avail­able while Paddy Byrne has not re­joined the panel. With­out a doubt Harry will be field­ing an ex­per­i­men­tal team and will cer­tainly be do­ing the same against Car­low on Wed­nes­day night.

Wed­nes­day - O'Byrne Cup - Wicklow v Car­low - Bray Em­mets grounds.

Ex­per­i­ment­ing is likely to con­tinue on Wed­nes­day when we re­new ri­valry with the neigh­bours but de­pend­ing on Sun­day's re­sult there may be a big­ger push on to get a re­sult.

Harry will be cer­tainly push­ing to get out as strong a team as pos­si­ble to take on Dublin in Par­nell park on Sun­day week but we will be in a bet­ter po­si­tion to have a look at that match in next week's is­sue.

The po­si­tion with stu­dents on the panel is not a clear as it was a year ago and at this stage man­age­ment are hop­ing to have at least John McGrath re­leased to play for Wicklow on Sun­day.

The full panel for Sun­day: James Stafford; Paddy Dal­ton, Barry Murphy, John Flynn, Robert Lam­bert, Steven Co­han, Luke Ben­son, John McGrath, Kevin Han­lon, An­thony, Michael and Paul McLough­lin; Kevin Murphy, James and Ian Sheerin, Ciaran Tyrrell, Stephen Byrne, Alan Byrne, Ja­son Bol­ger, Paul Earls, Pa­trick McWal­ter, Colm Byrne, Mathew Byrne, Dean Healy, Dar­ragh O'Sul­li­van, Richard Murphy, Mathew Gil­bert, Eoin Keogh, Bren­dan Kennedy, Eu­gene Dunne, Adam Mer­ry­man, Rory Finn, Paul Cun­ning­ham, Rory Nolan, Danny Woods, James Kelly, Dar­ren Hay­den,Bren­dan McCrea, Ciaran Hyland, and Mark Doyle.

U-21 FOOT­BALL

The U-21 foot­ball is also up and run­ning. Joint man­agers Damien Byrne and Ron­nie Phillips have al­ready got in a cou­ple of matched, in­clud­ing one against Wex­ford in Castle­town which they won.

They have a match against the DCU Fresh­ers in Bray on Thurs­day (to­mor­row) night. They have also en­tered the team in the Hast­ings Cup, a com­pe­ti­tion which was very pop­u­lar with U-21 men­tors a few years ago.

It was run, and prob­a­bly still is run, by a com­mit­tee in Long­ford and al­ways in­volved teams from North­ern Ire­land. In the past it was very com­pet­i­tive and ideal prepa­ra­tion for the cham­pi­onship.

Pat Wo­gan (Bray Em­mets) is the third se­lec­tor; Donal 0'Ke­effe is stats man­ager; and PJ O'Connor (Rath­new) is kit man­ager.

HAST­INGS CUP

Wicklow's first match in the Hast­ings in against Long­ford on Satur­day Jan­uary 12. We play Roscom­mon on the fol­low­ing Satur­day, Jan­uary 19 while the fi­nal - be it Cup or Shield will be played on the last Satur­day of Jan­uary. No venues fixed at this time.

Car­low are also run­ning an U-21 tour­na­ment and Wicklow have been in­vited to take part.

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