Sunday 18 February 2018

GAA roundup -- all the news

Two names currently on everybody's lips in GAA circles in the county are Kiltegan's Seanie Furlong and former Fethard and Tipperary player Brian Coen.

In light of Wicklow's poor start in the National Football League it's not surprising that Harry has returned to a former target man and established score-getter, Seanie, in the hope of keeping his team in Division 3.

The step up to Division 3 has, to date, unfortunately exposed some weaknesses in this Wicklow team and in fairness to Harry and his management team the loss through injury and non-availability of three or four of his marquee players could not have come at a worse time.

A fit and focused Seanie Furlong is one of the most dangerous full-forwards in the country. Seanie's return will obviously spell disappointment to some of the younger and ambitious members of the current panel especially those who have worked hard with their fellow panellists since November.

Sport at this level can be very cruel but from a manager's perspective it is very much results driven and occasionally these situations can dilute the principles of even the best managers.

One would expect that Seanie will in time re-establish himself in the full forward position. With the poor return from the current forward line both from open play and frees his return to the starting team will, I feel, be sooner rather than later.

My opinion is that if a player receives sufficient game time and fails to reach the required standard he unfortunately leaves himself open to scrutiny and eventual replacement.

If Wicklow had won its opening two games of the League would Seanie's services now be required?

Brian Coen, from all accounts, is a very decent footballer with previous inter-county experience with Tipperary and with the added bonus of being an established and reliable free-taker.

In Wicklow's current plight he ticks a lot of boxes and he will, when he becomes eligible, be a most welcome addition to the panel. The next question is when will we get a chance to see him in competitive action.

With the recent changes relating to inter-county transfers (where a player has to first play a local championship match before being eligible to play for his new county) and with the newly revamped Senior Football Championship not pencilled in to start until July we may even see Brian on a hurling field before that and with him being a Tipp man he shouldn't be out of place.

With Kildare and London both having recently gone down this road surely there shouldn't be a problem if Wicklow followed suit.

It is important that Wicklow is in a position to field the best players available to them at county level. However, the limited recruitment of new talented and exciting players to our county Senior team only highlights the serious ongoing frailties in our underage coaching and development structures. This is another area our new County Chairman needs to urgently address.

The county hurlers' heavy defeat away to Derry last Sunday was a disappointing start to their League campaign. Having recently had the upper hand over Derry in all competitions they would have been confident of securing two valuable points on their travels.

In a very competitive division it is imperative that they collect two points in their next game against Kildare as they also face a difficult away assignment in Kerry. From the result in Derry it is obvious that it is going to take a little more time for some of the new players to bed into the team.

The news that Stephen Kelly is committing himself solely to hurling this year is a major boost and will give the team additional central defensive cover especially now with the long term absence of established fullback, Graham Keogh.

A lot of teams in this division are in the process of team building and a rejuvenated Wicklow team, with the return of some of their injured stars, will be optimistic of securing the necessary points to retain their status.

Congratulations to Robert Lambert and John McGrath on their Sigerson Cup success with DIT last weekend. Robert, who is also Wicklow's sub goalie, did not concede a single goal in the whole competition.

Wicklow footballers are very fortunate to have to two top quality goalkeepers and hopefully the experience gained by Robert will increase his chances of game time for the county this year.

Wicklow People

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