Bray People

Gaels ex­pect­ing tough chal­lenge from Bray side

- Sports · County Wicklow · Saint Patrick · Leinster · 7-Eleven · Championship

NRTH WW GAELS

WHEN North Wicklow Gaels meet Bray Em­mets in the Mi­nor ‘A’ Hurl­ing Cham­pi­onship fi­nal this week­end, it will rep­re­sent a multi-year project for the Kil­coole/Éire Óg/St. Pa­trick’s amal­ga­mated team.

Whereas, a few years ago, it was some­times the case where the dif­fer­ent groups of play­ers from the dif­fer­ent clubs would have sep­a­rated them­selves into their in­di­vid­ual groups, now, it is one united group of play­ers with the same am­bi­tions.

‘The very, very first train­ing ses­sion, you could’ve walked onto the field in Kil­coole and find any­one who was Éire Óg and who was Kil­coole, they were yards away from each other,’ said Karl Cooke, North Wicklow Gaels man­ager.

‘It lit­er­ally was as sim­ple as put bibs on some lads and some on oth­ers and get­ting to the drills. We had quite a de­cent strength and con­di­tion­ing pro­gram for

them, so they are all tired to­gether. They were all kind of fo­cused on what they were do­ing, rather than fo­cus on who they were or where they came from. Ev­ery­one was in it to­gether.

‘I think what helped us a lot was that we or­gan­ised a lot of chal­lenges matches, and we

en­tered the Le­in­ster league; there is a kind of cross-bor­der league in Le­in­ster. The more games they played to­gether, the more they be­came a team.’

When dis­cussing their op­po­nents for this week­end, Bray Em­mets, Cooke is quick to be com­pli­men­tary of the work that

is be­ing done by Michael Roddy and his man­age­ment team, while in­sist­ing that past re­sults will have no bear­ing on what hap­pens when the two teams lock horns this week­end.

The last time Bray and North Wicklow Gaels crossed paths was at the end of Au­gust, when

the Gaels swept Em­mets aside in a 25-point, 7-11 to 1-4 drub­bing, although Cooke said that that game will have no im­pact on their own prepa­ra­tion.

‘This sea­son’s game is a bit of an odd one, to be hon­est with you. It came to­wards the end of the sea­son, they were miss­ing a few peo­ple, but look back over our pre­vi­ous meet­ings with them, there has barely been a puck be­tween us.

‘I wouldn’t read a lot into the game we played them this year. They’re good side.

‘They’re al­ways try­ing to play the game very well. They’re very good at hook­ing and block­ing, in par­tic­u­lar.

‘They’re very ac­cu­rate in block­ing, so we have to move it a bit quicker and smarter.

‘I’m com­pletely treat­ing [the last game] as an out­lier, to be hon­est with you. They were miss­ing their goal­keeper, they had a few lads on the side­line in boots and crutches. If we took our goal­keeper out and a few key play­ers, it’s a com­pletely dif­fer­ent set-up.

‘They came very strong at the end of the sea­son. That win over Michael Dwyer’s was a very good win for them. If they are ca­pa­ble of do­ing that to Dwyer’s, they’re ca­pa­ble of do­ing that to any­one. It’s only right that we ig­nore that blip in the cham­pi­onship.’

 ??  ?? The North Wicklow Gaels team who de­feated Carnew Em­mets in the ‘A’ semi-fi­nal in Pearse’s Park, Ark­low.
The North Wicklow Gaels team who de­feated Carnew Em­mets in the ‘A’ semi-fi­nal in Pearse’s Park, Ark­low.

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