Saturday 16 December 2017

Wicklow blow as McWalter out for two months after knee surgery

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

WICKLOW defender Patrick McWalter is in danger of missing the rest of Wicklow's championship season after it was confirmed that he damaged a kneecap during Sunday's Leinster SFC win over Carlow in Portlaoise.

The St Patrick's player had surgery in Longford hospital yesterday and is expected to be ruled out for around two months.

"He's out for six to eight weeks anyway which is a pity because he is a very important for us," selector Kevin O'Brien said of the former UCD League of Ireland player. "He's very down but he's in good hands there and hopefully we are still in the championship for when he gets back. He's a very clever footballer and is an awful loss for us."

O'Brien added his voice to the dissenters regarding the new handpass rule, while he also questioned whether the 16 yellow and three red cards shown on the day were merited.

"You see this most years in the early rounds of the championship. But you can be sure that, across the board, those same decisions won't be made in September. It was frustrating. You'd see a flowing move pulled back because of a handpass and that doesn't make for good viewing for anybody.

"I didn't think there was a lot (of fouls) in the game either but unfortunately we only found about these rules about a week ago and that adds to the frustration."

In the aftermath of Sunday's clash, Luke Dempsey hit out at what he called Wicklow's "incessant" fouling but O'Brien preferred to concentrate on their quarter-final clash with Westmeath on June 6.

"They are a dangerous team to be playing at the minute. They have a new manager who has done well at club level in Westmeath so there's a kick in them. We have plenty to improve on before that game."

The Garden County have also confirmed that they have submitted an objection to the Leinster Council to playing Westmeath in Tullamore.

County Secretary Michael Murphy said they are objecting on the grounds of the disparity in travel distances for both counties, and also because Wicklow travelled to Tullamore last year to play Westmeath and lost in extra-time.

"The distance that we in Wicklow would have to travel is very unfair compared with that for Westmeath," Murphy said.

Irish Independent

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