Manager calls for big support for final
Kehoe Cup Final
Wicklow manager Seamus Murphy is appealing to all Wicklow hurling supporters to make the journey to Pearse Park in Longford this Sunday to get behind the Garden County hurling team who will battle the home side for the Kehoe Cup title.
Murphy understands all too well how much of a boost winning the early season competition would give to his squad and, although he must send out a somewhat alternative side to face the Longford men, he's confident that with some stalwarts returning from injury at just the right time that his hurlers should have too much for the home side.
The change to the competition rules didn't sit well with the Rathnure man but he understands that Wicklow just have to get on with it now and make use of their panel.
"The GAA made the rules and I don't want to be giving out but it didn't look right to come up with the rules three-quarters way through the tournament," said Murphy.
Wicklow entered a team into the Kehoe Cup and the Walsh Cup this year and, following the Wicklow trouncing of Longford in Kilcoole in early January, the midlanders complained to Leinster Council that many of the hurlers that lined out in Kilcoole had also lined out against Wexford in the Walsh Cup the previous weekend. The GAA reacted and declared that Wicklow would have to field in any remaining games in the Kehoe Cup without any of the match day panel from the clash with the Model County.
"We entered two teams at the start and there were no panels requested and from day to day we played different players and we tried out different formations so it's unfortunate that they have come up with this rule," he added.
One positive from the delayed playing of the Kehoe Cup final is the returning from injury of some very key players. Available for selection on Sunday will be Danny Staunton, John Henderson, Stephen 'Chester' Kelly, Eamonn Kearns (hopefully, says Seamus Murphy), and Christy Moorehouse Snr who entered the fray in Ballycran last Sunday for some of the second half after a very frustrating eight months out of hurling.
"It's 15 years since Wicklow have won the Kehoe Cup and if Jonathan O'Neill Snr is togging out, and I hope he is, he will be the only member of the current panel with a Kehoe Cup medal," he said.
When pushed on whether Jonathan O'Neill will definitely be togging out on Sunday, Seamus Murphy said that the Wicklow and Glenealy legend is togging out and that 'Bosco' had come in for the Wicklow team as a dig out earlier in the year and that the management team appreciated the gesture.
"He'll be there for us. He's been a loyal servant to club and county for many years and he'll be there on Sunday," he added.
Longford have suffered two defeats in the run up to this final. They fell to Monaghan and Warwickshire in their two league matches in Division 3A.