Wicklow unchanged for visit of Down

After momentum-building wins over Fermanagh and Cavan, Wicklow manager Mick O'Dwyer has predictably named an unchanged team for Saturday's crunch All-Ireland SFC third round qualifier against Down.

After momentum-building wins over Fermanagh and Cavan, Wicklow manager Mick O'Dwyer has predictably named an unchanged team for Saturday's crunch All-Ireland SFC third round qualifier against Down.

With a clean bill of health following the impressive 1-12 to 0-08 dismissal of Cavan, the Garden County side will again line out with attack-minded wing backs in Patrick McWalter and Darren Hayden, a solid midfield combination in James Stafford and Tomas Walsh and key forwards like Leighton Glynn, free-taker Tony Hannon and Paul Earls, who scored the only goal against Cavan.

Defenders Alan Dalton, Damien Power and Alan Byrne, who all suffered injuries when Wicklow exited the Leinster Championship against Westmeath, remain on the sidelines.

O'Dwyer's decision to stick with a winning formula means the same 15 players that started the opening qualifier against Fermanagh will again line out from the throw-in in Aughrim this Saturday (throw-in 3pm).

The Aughrim ground is becoming something of a fortress for captain Glynn and his team-mates, and Down will be wary that they could become the third successive Ulster team to falter against the backdrop of a very vocal home crowd.

Wicklow selector Kevin O'Brien, the county's only All-Star so far, said: "The last time we played Down, I think was back in the league in 1998 in Aughrim when we beat them.

"I was playing myself and I think Ross Carr, the current Down manager, was also playing that day.

"You would always be very wary of Down. They're the kind of team who can punish you in an instant in front of goals, but we've got a nice bit of momentum going now and I hope it will continue."

Down have picked up qualifier wins over London and Laois in recent weeks. Saturday's clash will be the first ever SFC encounter between Wicklow and Down.

WICKLOW (SFC v Down) - M Travers; C Hyland, D O hAnnaidh, S Kelly; P McWalter, B McGrath, D Hayden; J Stafford, T Walsh; L Glynn (capt), T Hannon, JP Dalton; D Odlum, S Furlong, P Earls.

More in this section

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up