The Wicklow hurlers welcome London to Joule Park on Sunday next for their opening game in the 2017 Christy Ring Cup. Throw in is at 1pm with Tipperary native John O’Brien who now referees out of Laois in charge of the whistle.
Wicklow who suffered league final heartbreak at the hands of Meath in early April will be eager to make home advantage count against the ‘Exiles’.
Eoghan O’Mahony from the Saint Patricks club has made the number 1 jersey his own this year and should start between the posts. Robert Fitzgerald and Peter O’Reilly are able understudies.
Bray Emmetts Luke Moloney who made the Ring 15 in 2016 has nailed down a corner back slot with Annacurras Martin O’Brien another regular in the last line. Seamus Murphy will hope Warren Kavanagh is over his recent injury and the Glenealy man will contest the last place with Eugene Dunne from Avondale. Captain of 2016 Billy Cuddihy is also back looking for a place and Offaly man Michael Verney will prove a welcome addition to the squad.
The half back line has been very consistent all year and around the middle of the park too. Eire Óg’s Peter Keane, Eamonn Kearns from Avondale , Ronan Keddy the Kilcoole dynamo, Garry Byrne from Glenealy who has really settled in to inter county hurling and the influential John Henderson from Bray Emmetts have alternated in these positions with Coolboys Wayne Kinsella and Diarmuid Masterson another from county champions Bray Emmetts other options for the engine room.Murphy will hope to have Stephen ‘Chester’ Kelly available and the captain of the footballers has been very good in his cameo appearances throughout the league.
The captain Christy Moorehouse from Bray and Andy O’Brien from St Pats are definite starters in the forward line. O’Brien is playing like a man possessed in 2017 and proving a real handful for all back lines with his determined play. The captaincy has added to Moorehouses game and he leads by example. Glenealys Danny Staunton is a gifted hurler who on his day can prove unplayable. Others looking for places in the forward line will be the Bray duo of Padraig Doyle if fit and Eoin McCormack who has impressed when given opportunities. St Pats George O’Brien and Eire Ógs Anto Byrne are others who will fancy their chances of a start. Byrne was a regular early on until injury curtailed his season. John and Gerry Connors from St Pats and James Cranley from Eire Óg are others pushing along with the Byrne twins, Jamie and Emmet from Glenealy. Aaron Nugent has been on and off the team while Enda Donohoe is a hurler with a great future ahead of him and deadly accurate from placed balls while his club-mate Andrew Hughes another with a bright future.
All in all a very strong squad with plenty of options for the management. The team will be announced on Friday.
London are always a tough test and Sunday will prove no different you can be sure. With players from strong hurling counties like Kilkenny, Galway, Tipperary and Offaly in their team they will fancy pulling off a win. PJ Rowe from Mooncoin in Kilkenny was part of the team that beat Wicklow in the 2012 final. Carlow man Daryl Roberts is another now hurling in London. Manager Fergus McMahon was disappointed with their league results and knows performances will have to improve starting Sunday.