Wicklow minor football manager Kevin O’Brien has urged supporters to turn out in force to cheer on his side when they take on Dublin in the quarter-finals of the Leinster Minor Football Championship this weekend.
O’Brien’s men welcome the Dubs to Aughrim on Saturday afternoon, and have named an unchanged starting line-up from the team that cruised past Louth last time out.
O’Brien — who was part of the Wicklow team that won the All-Ireland Junior Football Championship in 2002 — said that strong fan-support on the day would be invaluable in his troops going up against the 33-time champions.
“I have to say, I was disappointed with the crowd against Louth,” he told WicklowNews.
“Anyone who knows these lads, know that they have been putting the work in three nights a week for the last several months. They play a really good brand of football. They really want to win. They really want to play for Wicklow.
“We have prepared for taking on the top guys in the country. There are not too many Dublin teams that have come to Aughrim over the years. I know that the young lads enjoy the support. I keep telling the guys that they are giving people hope. Kids are proud to wear Wicklow jerseys again. I think that they deserve the support.”
Saturday’s match takes place just under a year after Wicklow stunned Dublin at Parnell Park on their way to the semi-finals of last year’s championship.
When comparing the Wicklow team that started against Louth, with the team that played on that day in June, Matthew Ging and Tom Moran are the only two players to have featured in both matches.
That turnover, as well as a change of approach in the capital, means that it would be fruitless to point to the 2018 encounter as an indication of Wicklow’s chances, according to O’Brien.
“It’s like starting over again at the start of the year, with a whole new group of players. It’s no different with Dublin. These are development squads coming up, getting to know eachother.
“There is no comparison with last year’s tie, just that we have tried to up our management standards. We’re very happy with the lads that we have on the panel. We hope to make a good account of ourselves tomorrow.
“Their style of play has changed since last year. We have looked at them two or three times, and their style of play is completely different. There is a different management team in place that has brought in its own style. They will have a full-strength team out tomorrow. In the last game, they had one chap suspended and they have also had injuries. so they will all be back.
“We’re not looking for sympathy. We are looking to really perform. It is match four. It does not matter if it is Dublin, Tyrone, or Meath; we have to be prepared. We are not under any illusions, we have to perform. It’s about getting that little extra percentage out of the lads.”