Saturday 16 December 2017

Garden boys hoping to raid the Orchard

Wicklow manager Harry Murphy maintains that his side are traveling to Armagh this Sunday high on confidence and ready for battle with the Orchard County.

Wicklow manager Harry Murphy maintains that his side are traveling to Armagh this Sunday high on confidence and ready for battle with the Orchard County.

Following the heartbreaking defeat to Meath in Aughrim two weeks ago the squad have regrouped and although the Armagh challenge is not the most ideal it is still one the Wicklow lads will be looking forward to after their exploits at the Athletic Grounds in 2011.

"Armagh will be one of the harder places to go to, I don't think anybody would want to go to Armagh, even Tyrone or Donegal wouldn't fancy going to Armagh," said the Rathnew man. "It'll be a tough task but the lads' confidence is right up now because they're after putting in two or three really good performances.

"We've been happy enough with our last two performances; beating Longford and the performance that we put in against Meath that we'll be going up there to give these lads a good game," he added.

As usual with the Wicklow camp there will be no team named until closer to match time but Murphy did fire a warning to his squad that there may be places that have not yet been sealed on the starting 15.

"Obviously we have to pick the team yet so there will be people a little bit worried about their place but we won't be making any rash changes or anything like that. We felt we picked the right team on the day the last day so we've got to give a bit of thought," he said.

On the Armagh side of things former star Oisin McConville told the Bray People that if Armagh were to lose to Wicklow it would be a 'disaster'.

"If Wicklow beat Armagh at home, that would be a disaster for Armagh football but not because of Wicklow, simply because it'd be two years in a row where Armagh have lost a provincial game and then lost in the first qualifier, and that is a backwards step in terms of where Armagh want to go. Armagh people will expect to beat Wicklow, whether they are right or wrong that's what they will expect," said the legendary Crossmaglen star.

But McConville is not entirely confident about his beloved county's chances for the visit of the Garden County this Sunday.

"We were terrible against Cavan, like I mean, I didn't know what they were at, and at the same time we could turn around and destroy Wicklow or Armagh could lose by a point, they're just very inconsistent, you don't know what team will turn up and there's nobody left from the team that won the All Ireland at this stage, it's all new now," he added.

Since the Cavan defeat Armagh have played several practice games, winning two but losing another to Leitrim.

Added to that the injury worries they have around their midfield department and now could be a glorious chance for a confident Wicklow side to claim a major scalp.

Armagh manager Paul Grimley has had to plan without Kieran Toner and Charlie Vernon but now the addition of Johnny Hanratty to the very doubtful list is causing the Armagh camp real concern.

"Kieran Toner has tendinitis in his knees which is taking time to heel while Charlie Vernon is only really getting back to full fitness," explains Grimley.

"These are two experienced players and we could be doing with them.

"Johnny Hanratty has had an injury which is slow to clear and while we would be giving him chance it does not look good," he added.

Wicklow People

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