London pull away from injury-ravaged Wicklow
Published 20/02/2013 | 05:44
Just as they did a year ago London proved how seriously they are taking their hurling by travelling over to Ireland at the weekend to play practice matches.
It paid off for the Exiles a year ago when they put together a team good enough to win the Christy Ring Cup.
This time they took in two matches on a weekend trip. On Saturday they played a strong Dublin selection and only lost to the new Walsh Cup champions by four points - 1-19 to 1-15. Then on Sunday they took on Wicklow at Bray and after an even enough first half they pulled away to win easily in the end.
Casey O'Brien's side are badly hit by injuries at the moment, the most serious all being their midfield pairing of Eamon Kearns and Ronan Keddy - two men that any county would find it hard to replace.
Add to that top scorer Andy O'Brien, who is still recovering from an injury he picked up against Antrim last week, Jonathan O'Neill, who took the day off to rest after hectic celebrations on Saturday night and of course the Eire Og dual player Stephen Kelly. Wicklow put on a good enough show in the first half and traded score for score with the Exiles.
It took a great goal by Johnny Maher, one of only three survivors from the Christy Ring winning team last year, to put London level at half time - Wicklow 0-11; London 1-8.
With the wind behind them in the second half London pulled steadily away and another goal by Maher saw them seal a very good victory.
On the credit side Wicklow had Joe Murphy back between the posts for his first game this year while Casey also took this opportunity to give a number of his young players a little more match time.
This may not have been the type of preparation Casey would have planned just before his team take on Derry in their first League match but in the circumstances it was the best he could do.
Injuries come and go and nobody can plan for that.