NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
Carnew wizard is ready
CARNEW'S Brendan McCrea shakes his head when he mentions the red card he received in the Wicklow Senior hurling final last year against Glenealy. The up and coming attacker who is now featuring strongly in Harry Murphy's Wicklow Senior football panel has something of a reputation of being a player who is not afraid to get into the thick of the action and at times this passion and determination has seen him fall foul of the man in black on the day He smiles at this notion. “It's something I'll have to grow out of, something I have to deal with,” says the 19-year-old DCU business student in the week running up to the Wicklow v Fermanagh game in Aughrim in what will be Wicklow's first outing in the NFL Division 3.
But if a fiery attitude is the only complaint anyone can find with McCrea then so be it. Nobody can take from his talent, his power and his skill. He only returned to hurling last year after a three-year break when he went playing soccer for the underage squad in Bray Wanderers. He had been spotted as a bright prospect while playing for Carnew AFC. But football's his game so a phone call from Harry Murphy last year to invite him onto the Senior panel was something of a glorious event.
“I played with the Wicklow Juniors against Meath and we were beaten. Then a few weeks later a couple of us were called into the panel. Harry rang me and asked me if I would like to come and join the panel so I was there for the Waterford and Leitrim games,” he recalls.
It's at U-21 that McCrea is really making an impression though. The somewhat troubled age group in Wicklow has been enjoying a productive start to the New Year especially when the Carnew star is not ruled out due to exams and he's regularly posting up respectable scores in the Wicklow jersey. The step up to Senior is something of a move up through the gears however. “The games are a lot faster, completely faster and you need to be a lot fitter than for club championship. You haven't got that time on the ball and there's so much running off the ball. I don't know if I'm starting on Sunday, the team won't be named until we're in the dressing room before the game but I'd love to get on the pitch at some stage,” he said hopefully.
The avid Liverpool fan is optimistic about Wicklow's chances in Division 3 this year. With tough games ahead both home and away he knows that it's the games in Aughrim that they will need to win. “We have to take it a step at a time and do our best to stay in Division 3. It was a great achievement in getting up but it would be brilliant to stay up. We're going to be underdogs in a lot of games and we'll be looking to win all the home games. The higher the division you play in the better you can be. We need to be playing at a higher level,” he said. For a young guy Brendan exudes not only confidence on the field but a definite quality that will enable him to perform at the intercounty level and given the recent retirements and departures his emergence onto the Senior scene will give hope to all Wicklow GAA fans.
Expect him to be prowling out in the corners against Fermanagh or if not, to make an appearance at some stage.
RAPID FIRE QUESTION ROUND
Best Wicklow player - Leighton Glynn Best Player in Ireland - Bernard Brogan Funniest teammate - Cathal Rossiter Player who never brings shower gel to training - Himself
Wicklow and Carnew attacker Brendan McCrea has featured strongly in Harry Murphy’s line-up during the O’Byrne Cup clashes and in the friendly games the county have played in the run-up to the opening league encounter with Peter Canavan’s Fermanagh. Whether he’ll start or not is unclear but whether he does or doesn’t he is one to watch for the very near future in Wicklow football.