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Wicklow say word of Walsh returning to Garden is wide of mark

WICKLOW senior football management have quashed speculation that Thomas Walsh could return to their ranks for the coming season.

Local reports suggested the Carlow native, who transferred to Bray Emmets and lined out for the Garden County footballers in 2009 before moving back to his native Fenagh at the end of last year, could again be linking up with Mick O'Dwyer's men this year.

The issue cropped up locally earlier this month when Walsh was named in a provisional Wicklow panel for the season, despite not being eligible due to his return with his original club.

However, a spokesperson for the Wicklow footballers said that Walsh was not part of Wicklow's early season plans, but confirmed that the rangy midfielder still retained a residence in Bray.

Technically, Walsh could still rejoin with Wicklow if he was to resign from Bray Emmets and as it would represent an intercounty transfer such a move could take place at any stage of the year. When asked whether such a move was in the offing team liaison officer Martin Coleman replied "not to my knowledge".

To add fuel to the flames of the subject of Walsh's intercounty future is the fact that he has yet to commit to Luke Dempsey's Carlow squad for the coming season.

Dempsey has scoured the county for undiscovered talent in recent weeks and has taken over management of the U21 team for 2010 stating repeatedly his ambition to extract the best available talent for the senior football panel.

One player who is likely to be involved with O'Dwyer this year is St Jude's defender Paul Cunningham. Cunningham, who impressed in the Templeogue club's run to last year's Evening Herald Dublin SFC final, is eligible for Wicklow due on the parentage rule -- his father is a former Wicklow player.

"Paul came to us looking to link up with Wicklow," confirmed Coleman. "We have sent a request to Leinster Council and that process in ongoing."

Wicklow face O'Byrne Cup champions Louth in their seasonal opener in Baltinglass on Sunday but have yet to train due to weather conditions in the south east. The panel met for the first time last night after a series of training sessions were cancelled due to the inclement weather.

"We were due to have three training sessions in the first week in January and another two the week after that but they never materialised," said Coleman. "We're in no man's land at the moment."

Besides Walsh, Wicklow have all of last year's panel available to them again this year, though Damien Power is set to miss their early league games due to the broken ankle he suffered in the opening round of last years Leinster SFC.


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