All about ex­per­i­ment­ing this time of the sea­son

Bray People - - SPORT - PETER KEOGH O’byrne Cup previews

WICKLOW HAVE two more matches in the O'Byrne Cup this week. Tonight (Wed­nes­day) we play Car­low in the new Bray Em­mets com­plex at Old Conna and then on Sun­day Harry and his men must travel to Par­nell Park to take on the Dubs.

Af­ter a very good first-half per­for­mance last week, the team did fall apart a lit­tle bit in the sec­ond-half and were lucky enough to hold on for a draw in the end, but that's the price you must pay for ex­per­i­ment­ing.

In fact, if you com­pare the team with that which won the Di­vi­sion 4 cup last year against Fer­managh, Harry was short of eight of that team and if you go through the panel from that day in Croke Park the to­tal num­ber of ab­sen­tees would be 14.

Some of them Harry is un­likely to see any more. Tony Han­non is one that has def­i­nitely re­tired while Peadar Burke and Niall Gaffney are now ply­ing their trade in a for­eign land. Oth­ers like John McGrath and sub Conor McGraynor are claimed by their col­lege team for this com­pe­ti­tion.

But that still leaves Harry with a lot of ex­per­i­ment­ing to do and we ex­pect he will get on with that job over the next two matches. He still has play­ers on his panel like Alan Byrne and Austin O'Mal­ley, who were ‘flu vic­tims last week, Barry Murphy, Robert Lam­bert, Kevin Han­lon, Mick McLough­lin, Paul McLough­lin, Kevin Murphy, James Sheerin, Ciarán Tyrrell, Ja­son Bol­ger, sub goal­keeper Colm Byrne, Richard Murphy, Matthew Gil­bert, Bren­dan Kennedy, Eu­gene Dunne, Adam Mer­ri­man, Daniel Woods, Daniel Hay­den and Mark Doyle.

While ex­per­i­ment­ing could be the top pri­or­ity at the moment, it could also leave Harry with a prob­lem that he could well do with­out. Af­ter get­ting a point from his first match he would be anx­ious enough to get some­thing from the match against Car­low but in or­der to do that he may have to cur­tail the ex­per­i­ment­ing a bit. Then should he get the two points from that match he will be tak­ing on the Dubs in what will be a make or break game to de­cide who goes through to the semi-fi­nal.

So I can see Harry, Gavin and Mick burn­ing the mid­night oil on that one. With­out a doubt if we get out at some­where near full strength we should be in with a good chance of beat­ing Car­low, par­tic­u­larly on a grounds that they are not used to play­ing on.

The two play­ers that are most likely to get on the start­ing fif­teen this week, should they have re­cov­ered, are Alan Byrne and Austin O'Mal­ley, but af­ter his power-packed dis­play in the first-half at mid­field, An­thony McLough­lin would be a cer­tainty to start there again should he have re­cov­ered suf­fi­ciently from his in­jury.

The Eire Og duo, Stephen Kelly and Dar­ren Hay­den, are two oth­ers that we would like to see in the start­ing line-up.

Oth­ers that may be due a run out would in­clude Kevin Murphy, James Sheerin and Adam Mer­ri­man, all of them can­di­dates for a mid­field berth.

No chance at all of see­ing Leighton Glynn or Seánie Fur­long re­turn­ing to ac­tion in the near fu­ture. The best we can hope for would be some­where mid­way through the league cam­paign.

Any­way, should we win on Wed­nes­day night against Car­low, it is a safe bet that Harry will be field­ing his best avail­able side against the Dubs in Par­nell Park.

One thing we can be sure of is that An­thony Rain­bow will have Car­low fully fired up for tonight's match so Wicklow can ex­pect no favours and will have to pull out all the stops if they are to get a re­sult.

Eoin Keogh holds off Cathal El­lis in Sun­day’s draw with DCU in Greystones.

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