AN­OTHER KEY ‘KOG’ DEPARTS

At­tacker O’Grady tak­ing a year out while Roche re­tires

Wexford People - - SPORT - BREN­DAN FUR­LONG Sports re­porter

WEX­FORD’S PAUL McLough­lin must be one of the most frus­trated managers in Senior in­ter-county football given the num­ber of de­fec­tions from the squad for the 2018 sea­son.

Start­ing out on his first term at the high­est level, McLouglin has lost no fewer than six of the side which started the qual­i­fier de­feat to Mon­aghan, while Ciarán Lyng re­mains un­de­cided as to his fu­ture in­ter-county ca­reer. Wex­ford lost that qual­i­fier game on a hu­mil­i­at­ing 3-23 to 1-11 fi­nal score­line.

Now ‘keeper and one-time at­tacker Shane Roche has joined the list of ca­su­al­ties hav­ing an­nounced his re­tire­ment over the week­end, while for­ward Kevin O’Grady has sig­nalled his in­ten­tions to travel and will not be part of the squad for league or cham­pi­onship.

These lat­est an­nounce­ments come on the back of the de­ci­sion of corner-for­ward P.J. Banville to re­tire. Adrian Flynn (cru­ci­ate knee lig­a­ment) is also un­avail­able, while Colm Ke­hoe, Jake Fir­man and Michael O’Re­gan have joined up with Davy Fitzger­ald’s Senior hurl­ing squad. Also gone from the panel is cen­tre-back Joey Wadding.

Of the start­ing 15 that played Mon­aghan, only Brian Malone, Jim Ros­siter, Michael Fur­long, Eoghan Nolan, Tiar­nan Ros­siter, Daithí Wa­ters, Naomhan Ros­siter and Conor Carty are back, while sub­sti­tute Ben Bros­nan has also re­turned, al­though both John Leacy and Paul Cur­tis are missing.

Roche has been a mem­ber of the Senior football squad since 2006, hav­ing made 101 ap­pear­ances for the county.

‘Af­ter the Mon­aghan game I in­formed Sea­mus (McE­naney) that I would be call­ing it a day,’ he said. ‘I got mar­ried just six weeks ago so I’ve de­cided enough is enough.’

Mean­while, St. James’ club­man Kevin O’Grady has revealed how he played through the pain bar­rier this sea­son, both for club and county.

‘I’ve been given a ca­reer break in work for nine months to travel. I will leave in Fe­bru­ary for New York where I’ll re­main for two months be­fore tak­ing in fur­ther travel. I will be back in my job on De­cem­ber 1 next hav­ing com­pleted my trav­els,’ he said.

‘I have been seven years on the go, play­ing in­ter-county from Mi­nor and Un­der-21 through to Senior, while I also have had a hec­tic sched­ule with the club over re­cent years hav­ing qual­i­fied for a num­ber of county finals.

‘This year I played through the pain bar­rier. I had trou­ble with my hip, hav­ing to re­ceive pain killing in­jec­tions be­fore games.

‘Even un­der David Power I had been told to take sub­stan­tial time out, but I only took half the time and went back train­ing and play­ing,’ he ex­plained.

‘Of the Un­der-21 football team that won Le­in­ster, my­self, James Breen, Em­met Kent and Liam Og McGovern ended with hip prob­lems.

‘Some had op­er­a­tions but up to now I had de­cided against an op­er­a­tion, but I al­ways felt that when I went back hurl­ing, it was not as heavy on the hip as football,’ he added.

Per­haps the rest next year will be a con­sid­er­able help for when I re­turn.

‘It cer­tainly looks like a pe­riod of change for Wex­ford football, but many of the lads have given long ser­vice. Paul McLough­lin is the right man to bring what will be a young team for­ward over the next three sea­sons,’ O’Grady added.

‘With the amount of new play­ers com­ing in, and the amount of change, it’s cer­tainly go­ing to be a pe­riod of tran­si­tion,’ said McLough­lin in an ear­lier in­ter­view, as Wex­ford con­tinue prepa­ra­tions for life in Di­vi­sion 3 of the league next sea­son.

‘This is a tran­si­tion for Wex­ford football, so we need time and space. It’s a process and we are also learn­ing our­selves,’ McLough­lin added.

Wex­ford open their new sea­son with an away O’Byrne Cup game against Of­faly on Satur­day, De­cem­ber 30.

Kevin O’Grady on the move dur­ing the cham­pi­onship loss to Mon­aghan ear­lier this year. IN­SET: Shane Roche, who has re­tired from the in­ter-county scene.

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