Hurlers ready to go toe to toe with Mourne men

Some in­juries but new­com­ers ready for ac­tion

Bray People - - SPORT - PETER KEOGH

Ke­hoe Cup

Wicklow v Down Bray - Sun­day - 2pm Casey O'Brien gets his new hurl­ing sea­son un­der way with a match against Down in the Ke­hoe Cup at the new com­plex in Bray on Sun­day.

All through the years matches be­tween Wicklow and Down have been close and ex­tremely hard fought, and it dose not ap­pear to mat­ter much who has the home venue. Wicklow have got re­sults in places like Porta­ferry, Bal­ly­gal­get, Bal­ly­cran or even on one oc­ca­sion in Bal­lykin­lar. On other oc­ca­sions we have lost to the Mourne men in Ark­low or Aughrim.

So the fact that we have them on home soil will be of lit­tle help when the chips are down.

Re­ports from the train­ing camp are most en­cour­ag­ing. Good num­bers at all ses­sions and the new trainer Trevor Doyle ap­pears to be get­ting a great re­sponse. Casey has added quite a num­ber of new­com­ers to his panel this year and is hope­ful of mak­ing a 'find' or two.

Of course the old re­li­able are still there - all with un­fin­ished busi­ness to at­tend too. They have came close to lift­ing the Christy Ring cup on a few oc­ca­sions un­der the St Pa­trick's club man and are back to have one more go this year.

That is fur­ther down the road and for the moment the Ke­hoe cup would do nicely for starters.

Jonathan O'Neill, who has been the in­spired leader in re­cent years is still there. So is Ge­of­frey Ber­ming­ham (in­set), a great de­fender with a flare for adding the odd point when the oc­ca­sion de­mands. Andy O'Brien, they tell me is train­ing like never be­fore while Gra­ham Keogh is still go­ing strong.

No team was se­lected at the close or train­ing on Mon­day night but the se­lec­tors were still hop­ing to have the bulk of the play­ers that con­tested the Christy Ring Cup fi­nal last year. That team lined out as fol­lows - Joe Murphy; Jim Con­nors, Gra­ham Keogh, Billy Cud­dihy; John Hen­der­son, Stephen Kelly, Gef­frey Ber­ming­ham; Ro­nan Keddy, Ea­monn Kearns; Tommy Doyle, Wayne O'Gor­man, Eu­gene Dunne; Enan Glynn, Jonathan O'Neill, and Andy O'Brien. The subs used that day were Eoin O'Neill, Liam Kennedy and Christy Moor­house.

Oth­ers on that panel were Keith Snell, John Con­nors, Peter Keane, Aaron Murphy, Gino Fus­cardi, Paul Ga­han, James Kelly and Niall Too­lis. Pa­trick Far­rell, who plays his club hurl­ing in Wex­ford and Harry Stephen­son are also on that panel and are some of the play­ers now re­turned to train­ing.

Re­cov­er­ing from in­jury at the moment are Joe Murphy, John Hen­der­son, Stephen Kelly, Liam Kennedy and Ea­monn Kearns. Kearns is Casey's big­gest worry at the present; the big mid­fielder pulled up in train­ing on Sun­day and now looks very doubt­ful. New­com­mers on the panel this year in­clude - Eoin Ma­sion and Mikie Lee (Bray E); Ro­nan Byrne (Kil­te­gan), Brian Os­bourne (Carnew) Cian Kelly, Aaron Nu­gent, Gav in Ware, Daniel Staunton, War­ren Ka­vanagh (Gle­nealy) Shane Nolan (Eire Og). Shane Byrne and Shane McGrath (Avon­dale). Down are now trained by Water­ford star Paul Flynn and will be no push over. How­ever Casey has pre­pared well for this match and is more hat hop­full of mak­ing a win­ning start to the year.

Em­met Sul­li­van has re­placed Jim Bob Doyle on the se­lec­tion com­mit­tee and is the third gen­er­a­tion of the fam­ily to hold that post.

Paddy Sul­li­van was there for many years while John also be­came a se­lec­tor when he fi­nally hung up his boots.

In fact I re­mem­ber one fa­mous day when he trav­elled as a Se­lec­tor to Mon­aghan, se­lected the team but when a player cried off he was per­suaded to take his place on the start­ing 15.

Then no ref­eree showed up and both sides agreed to go ahead with the match pro­vided John ref­er­eed it - so he ended up fill­ing three po­si­tions on the one day.

Hast­ings Shield

The Hast­ings Cup may have slipped through our fin­gers but Damien Byrne, Ronny Phillips and Pat Wo­gan are still hope­ful they can lift the Shield. They make the long trip to John­stown in Roscom­mon to take on the home side in a match that should de­cide which team makes it through to the fi­nal.

This is a nice lit­tle U-21 team but the prob­lem ap­pears to be get­ting out at full strength on a Satur­day. A num­ber of play­ers have week­end jobs and find it very dif­fi­cult to get time off. The team has trained well un­der David Be­han of Bless­ing­ton and are in good shape. They are not short of match prac­tice this year be­tween friendly matches, the Car­low Tour­na­ment and now this Hast­ings Cup. They are also es­cap­ing in­jury fairly well with dual player John Hen­der­son the only one out at the moment.

They will need to be at full strength for this match, and that means hav­ing Conor McGraynor avail­able. The Avon­dale gi­ant was in Long­ford last week but was un­der or­ders from DCU not to play. With that col­lege out of the run­ning in the O'Byrne Cup that ban may be lifted this week - at least that is what we are hop­ing for

Ac­cord­ing to joint man­ager Damien Byrne their rea­son for en­ter­ing the two tour­na­ments was to get match prac­tice, not to win tro­phies. Still it would be nice to get one more match in this high pro­file tour­na­ment and with a full turn out and a smile from lady Luck we could do just that.

On the home front Ash­ford and Val­ley­mount bat­tle it out to hold on to their place in Di­vi­sion 2 of the SFL at Round­wood on Sun­day.

Over in the West the win­der League con­tin­ues with matches at three venues. Kil­te­gan is the odd team out this week be­cause their op­po­nents Val­ley­mount are fight­ing for sur­vival in an­other grade up in Round­wood.

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