New faces included in injury-hit Wicklow squad to play Longford

Wicklow senior football manager John Evans has called up 11 new faces to his injury-stricken panel to face Longford in the O’Byrne Cup.

Evans’ men travel to Longford to play in the O’Byrne Cup first round on Saturday evening, with Dean Healy included on a long-list of names ruled out of the clash through injury.

Speaking to WicklowNews, Evans confirmed that Healy was joined on the injury-list by Eoin Murtagh, Kevin Murphy, and others. Evans also said that Mark Jackson — who suffered an injury-scare last week — would be given extra-time to recover.

“We’ve quite a lot of injuries at the moment from training. We have a panel going there [Longford] anyway but we won’t be at full-strength,” Evans said.

Evans has called up 11 new faces to his Wicklow side to cover the injuries — as well as the departures of John McGrath, Seanie Furlong and James Stafford — including three new names from last year’s county under-20 team.

Fintan O’Shea, Paudge O’Toole, and Tom Maher will join Gearóid Murphy and Mark Jackson as players from the Wicklow U20 team who have been called up for the Longford game. Meanwhile, Chris O’Brien, Patrick O’Connor, Mark Fitzsimons and Niall Meldon have all been included in what Evans has described as an “experimental team”.

Paul and Anthony McLoughlin return to the senior set-up, while Karl Kirwan and Shane Mooney also receive call-ups.

Evans also said that Oisin Manning and Davy Devereux will be playing for Wicklow this season, although final transfer approval is likely to prevent the pair from appearing against Longford.

Last week, the Wicklow People reported that Manning (St. Jude’s) and Devereux (St. John’s) were set to link up with the Wicklow senior footballers for 2019 following a trial match.

Discussing Devereux and Manning’s prospective inclusions in the Wicklow panel, Evans said that red-tape was the only thing standing in the way of their involvement.

“We’re waiting for their trasfers to come through,” Evans told WicklowNews. “There has to be some meeting before they can play.”

Wicklow take on Longford in the first round of the O’Byrne Cup on Saturday, the 8th of December, with throw-in in Newtownforbes at 7pm.

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