Second major scalp in a week for under-15s
WICKLOW 5-08 MEATH 1-08
INSIDE a week, Wicklow’s under-15 footballers have beaten Dublin and Meath.
After last week’s victory over the Dubs, Wicklow got back to training last Thursday in Barndarrig GAA Club to prepare for this this clash with the Royals.
With the players full of confidence and learning how to play to a system can this panel of players give Wicklow GAA hope for the future?
Presently there are a group of over 40 players that are committed to the cause. The team spirit and friendship developed over the past two years is beginning to show in training and games. Without getting into a false since of security or expecting too much, this group is coming from a strong background.
In 2016, Éire Óg Greystones, St Nicholas and St Patrick’s brought three national under-14 Féile na Peile nÓg titles to Wicklow, but it was Baltinglass and Tinahely that contested the under-14 county final. As expected, the core of these players are from those teams.
There are still the odd under-15 players out there in clubs that would add to the strength of the panel and we would like to see all our clubs making every effort to contact manager Kevin O’Brien to encourage these players.
The management want to be in a position where they can say that every under-15 footballer in the county that is good enough to wear the Wicklow jersey is part of this panel.
It is not only the management responsibility to make sure this happens but it’s also to the advantage of all the clubs to make sure the best players are available for selection.
The Wicklow bus set off from Tinahely at the early time of 3.50pm with pick up points in Aughrim, Rathdrum, Rathnew and the Glenview Hotel. The west Wicklow players were provided with lifts to the Spawell to meet the team bus for collection to Dunganny.
With players from all over the county the management usually have to provide two buses when playing games outside the county. There is no better feeling when you arrive in the Spawell and see the bus is waiting and not thinking it’s got caught up in traffic. Better still when you see 33 players all wearing the Garden County Academy gear it gives you a since of pride and identity.
Getting there early and stretching the legs and getting a proper warm up is very importing for preparing for games.
Everything looked organised and the players were looking forward to the challenge.
Time to regroup and announce the team. It wasn’t possible to play 33 players in an hour’s football against one of the strongest teams in Leinster.
But the aim was to get as many players as possible into action. We also knew that we had a challenge game arranged for Thursday night to give a full game to the players who don’t see any action tonight.
Referee throws in the ball. Meath are on the attack straight away this is looking like it’s going to be a difficult night already and only three minutes gone. Meath take the lead and Wicklow players are finding it difficult to adjust to Meath players attacking from all over the field.
Who’s marking that lad, where is the tackling, manager Kevin O’Brien was heard shouting from the side-line. Slow but surely Wicklow settled into the game but not until after Meath tagged on two more points.
Matthew Ging settled Wicklow with a free and the Garden county lads are up and running. Jack Hanlon added a second. Now the visitors were competing 50/50 for every ball. As Wicklow were getting a foothold in the game, Meath broke up the field scored a goal against the run of play.
At this stage it was Meath 1-4 to Wicklow 0-2. But this Wicklow team dug in rose to the challenge and finished out the half by totally dominating possession and converting this well-earned possession and off the ball movement and support in scores.
Matthew Ging added two goals that gave the Meath goalkeeper no chance, Jack Hanlon also converted a three-pointer and the half was brought to a close with a fine Shane Daly point. Half-time: Wicklow 3-5, Meath 1-4
As the team refocused at halftime, the main emphasis was to perform for another 30 minutes. But they needed to tighten up all over the field and every ball was to be contested to their advantage.
With the last 10 minutes of the first half still fresh in their minds, Wicklow continued to torment the Meath defence with every attacking movement.
Matthew Ging was again goalscorer in chief converting two more goals and a point. This was followed by raiding runs up the field by half backs Alan Miley and Adam Hadden kicking two fantastic points.
Meath were not at the races. Wicklow were totally dominating the play and this gave the management the opportunity to introduce 12 new players into the game. Wicklow defended very well in the second half with Sean Coffey coming back as an extra defender to block the area in front of goals.
With good positioning and interceptions, Wicklow withstood every goal chance created by restricting Meath to kick the last four points of the game.
Final score: Wicklow 5-8, Meath 1-8, and another major statement of how good this group of players are capable of competing with the best in Leinster.
Last week the management said this team needed support. In two years’ time we will have one of the finest group of players representing Wicklow at Minor/ Under-17 level but to prepare a team requires financial support and a good sponsorship package.
Everything must be in place to provide these players with the best preparation, best supports and in turn if we can achieve performances like we had in the last two weeks wouldn’t it be something special to be associated with.
Manager Kevin O’Brien would only be too delighted to talk to anybody who would be willing to get involved and put their money and trust in this group of players.
Wicklow squad: Caoimhin Rawson, Daniel Healy, Keith Burke, Cillian McDonald, Alan Miley, Addam Hadden, Bradely Hickey, Sam Kearney, Eoin O’Neill, Jack Grace, Jack Hanlon, Brian Daly Matthew Ging, Shane Daly, Sean Coffey, Jason Kenny, Robbie Miley, Stephen Maguire, Oisin Brogan, Fionn O’Sullivan, Dylan lynch, Joseph O’Shea, Zac Collins, Cian ward, Hugh O’Brien, Evan Frahill, Thomas O’Shea, Sean Cambpell, Niall Byrne, Luke Kenny, Cian Kelly and Ryan Guilfoyle. Players that were unavailable from last week team v Dunlin was two goal scorer Conor Fulham in Gaeltacht, Jake O Kelly, Neil Browne, Darragh Fee, Robbie Doyle, Cian Hynes, Daniel Hedderman and Holidays Tom Moran, Benjamin Lambert, Arun Daly Danne, Thade Shanahan and the Injured Oisin Dunne.
Management – Manager: Kevin O’Brien, coaches: Hugh Kenny, Micky Daly, Kevin Healy, Tom Fee and Gerry Browne.
The last week has been good preparation for the Alan Mangan National U-15 tournament in Kilclonfert, Co. Offaly, on Saturday, August 12, in which Wicklow are grouped with Galway and Limerick.
Preparation will continue over the next few weeks to make sure Wicklow are ready to compete in this national tournament.
The standards are set and it’s up to everybody to maintain this.
Wicklow under-15 manager Kevin O’Brien talks to his players.