Wednesday 17 January 2018

A disappointing end to campaign

A disappointing end to the footballers' campaign in Division 3 following their away defeat to Sligo. After the great high in securing promotion last year it is with bitter disappointment that the team has hastily returned to the dreaded Division 4.

The biggest regret for the team is only securing one point out of a possible eight from their four home matches in this current league.

As seen from results in the current Division 4 nothing will be easy especially since the disappearance of the Kilkenny football team from the leagues and the marked improvement in London's GAA fortunes.

No games will be easy and Wicklow will have to be excellently prepared and focused to make a quick return to Division 3. Will this relegation see the demise of many of this current squad?

Is it an opportunity to rebuild and develop a new squad thus exposing some of the younger talented footballers in the county to the lesser demands of Division 4?

Attention is now on the Senior Football Championship game against Longford in Aughrim in May. With home advantage this will be an excellent opportunity to progress in the championship and hopefully Harry and his management team will have a full pack to pick from.

Great to see that county players were released to play in recent club games. It's always a boost for clubs to get their players back for training and matches.

Best of luck to the county hurlers in their important relegation final next Sunday against Kildare.

Wicklow have had the upper hand in recent Wicklow/Kildare games including their latest glamour league game played in Croke Park.

It has to be said that all of their recent games have been very closely contested affairs and their excellent performance in their final League game against Laois will ensure that the hurlers go into this final with their confidence high.

The management now seem to have established a more settled team which is anchored by Stephen Kelly and Liam Kennedy at full and centre half back respectively.

Established midfielders Keddy and Kearns have also resumed their partnership and a big performance will be required from both.

As ever the forward line is hugely reliable on Jonathan O'Neill and it is imperative that the other forwards improve their current scoring ratio.

With the importance of the upcoming game and taking into consideration the fantastic consistency of this team over the last three years I would confidently predict another Wicklow win in what is sure to be an exciting and tight game with a massive prize (in terms of team development) for the winners.

Reassuring to see the Wicklow hurling clubs at their meeting last Wednesday recommending the change of structure to the new Spring Hurling League and same will now be divided into two groups of five and six.

Hopefully we will see meaningful and competitive games in both groups. Not sure if my suggestion last week to levy each club with a €100 entry fee was considered!

At the start of the year hurling clubs were advised that the first round of the Senior Championship would take place on 13 or 20 April. At the same meeting last Wednesday it was agreed, following a presentation by the county hurling management, that the Senior Hurling Championship would now be deferred to later in the year and word was sent back to the clubs of this decision.

Whilst I fully accepted the decision to defer the club games I wasn't in complete agreement with it.

However, it was with great surprise on Thursday, when clubs were then notified that the SHC was back on and that games will now be played on 20 April.

Apparently the reason for this turnaround is to enable a new member of the county senior football panel play a Championship match at club level to make him eligible to play in the forthcoming Leinster Championship.

I have no problem whatsoever with this being done but, in support of the county hurling management, I wonder why, having regard to the fact that there is now over six weeks before Wicklow footballers play in the Leinster Championship, wasn't a round of club football championship games agreed to?

After all, it is for the benefit of the footballers that the legality of the player in question is sorted out. Another example of the CCC's unpredictability when it comes to fixtures!

And yet another example of how it's always the hurling fixtures that are messed around with!

Wicklow People

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