Sport Gaelic Football

Saturday 20 January 2018

O'Gormans' hurling move hits Owens on the double

Jackie Cahill

WATERFORD football boss John Owens says he would still welcome back the O'Gorman twins, who have surprised many by opting to try out for the county hurlers this season.

In recent years, the Deise footballers have struggled to hold on to some of their top talent in the face of competition from their successful hurlers. Michael 'Brick' Walsh, Liam Lawlor and Shane Walsh are among the talented footballers who have concentrated on the small-ball game.

The O'Gormans -- Maurice and Thomas -- of Fourmilewater, who have both played football for Munster, have been long-time linchpins for the county footballers and it remains to be seen if they make new hurling boss Michael Ryan's early-season cut.

Owens insisted yesterday that he hasn't ruled out having them at some stage this season. "There's no guarantee that they'll be with the hurlers later in the year, or even on February 5," he said. "But they felt like they wanted to give it a go. When I was with Tipperary, I experienced the same (dual) problem and I always knew that we were fighting an uphill battle."

Gary Hurney was another top footballer who joined the hurling panel in recent seasons, but he has since returned and was yesterday confirmed as Waterford's new football captain.

Hurney last captained the team in 2008, the year he made his championship debut for the hurlers against Clare. He played twice for the senior hurlers in 2009, before pulling out of Davy Fitzgerald's squad in early 2010 and returning to the footballers.

Last year, Ballinacourty powerhouse Hurney did not link up with the county panel until May due to a combination of injury and time off after his club exploits.

He scored 0-10 against IT Tralee in last Sunday's McGrath Cup defeat and his early return has given Owens a boost. "This is my third year in charge and I've never seen Gary in January and I've never seen him as fit," said the manager.

Irish Independent

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