Sec­ond ma­jor scalp in a week for un­der-15s

Wicklow People - - SPORT -

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.

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