NEW YEAR KICK-START
Three O’byrne Cup clashes to whet appetites
HAPPY New Year in sport to everyone.
The sporting season 2012 saw Wicklow achieve their biggest success in decades - namely the footballers winning Division 4 of the league and gaining promotion to Division 3.
Let's hope we have many more days like that up ahead, not just for our footballers but for the hurlers too.
Just six days into the new year and the footballers will get their first taste of competitive action in 2013 when for the second year running they kick off the O'Byrne Cup with a home game against DCU at Greystones next Sunday at 2pm.
Changes have been made to the O'Byrne Cup this time. For one thing there'll be no Shield, but every team is guaranteed a minimum of three games, all played over the space of one week.
After DCU, Wicklow will have another home game on Wednesday night, this time against near neighbours and fierce rivals Carlow at Bray; while we will complete the series of three group games away to Dublin on Sunday week in Parnell Park.
A year ago when we took on the DCU students we came out the wrong side of a 1-14 to 0-18 score line, an indicator that Sunday's reprise is not going to be a piece of Christmas cake for Harry Murphy's men who have an ambitious target of holding on to newly won status as a Division 3 team and also putting in a strong showing in the championship.
Dean Rock, a son of the great Barney Rock, was the match winner the college boys last year with 08 and we can expect DCU to be an equally formidable side this with a pick of players from many if not most of the top football counties.
Last year DCU' s line-up included Michael Murphy (Donegal), David Kelly (Sligo), Paul Flynn, Philip McMahon and James McCarthy (Dublin), Colm Begley (the former Aussie Rules player from Laois), Cathal Cregg (Roscommon) and the Westmeath full-back Ciarán Gavan.
Harry Murphy can expect a similar testing examination for his men from the Dublin students on Sunday and again on Wednesday from Carlow who like nothing better than laying waste to Wicklow's garden.
Yes, we're only in the first week of 2013 and the football juices are already coursing through our veins in anticipation of another great playing season for Wicklow teams.
Here’s to a successful New Year to all Wicklow sports men and women wherever you are.
Looking ahead - Wicklow Senior football manager Harry Murphy sends his team into action on Sunday.