NEW KID ON THE BLOCK

Carnew wizard is ready

Bray People - - SPORT - BREN­DAN LAWRENCE Sports Ed­i­tor

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.

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