Mick O’Dwyer’s reign as Wicklow boss came to an end after Saturday night’s defeat to Armagh in the All-Ireland qualifiers but his days in management may not be over.
Even Micko admitted the Ulster side were worth their Aughrim win as the curtain came down on his time with the Garden County.
“Armagh on the day were that little bit better and it is only now that we can look back with some regret at the opportunities we had to win the first game up there last weekend,” said O’Dwyer.
“Their squad has more depth than ours, but our lads are developing and hopefully with a new voice coming in, Wicklow can continue to evolve as a team. My tenure with the county is over. I have given them five years and I have no doubt that I have risen the profile here.
“I have made no decision yet as to whether I will take up another job somewhere else. But I’ll think about my future over the next few weeks. I’d like to think my involvement in the game is not over yet. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
O’Dwyer later confirmed that he had accepted an offer to manage Dublin in 2004 but later changed his mind.
Armagh go to Tyrone for Saturday’s qualifier after their win over Wicklow and manager Paddy O’Rourke admitted, “We have a decent team but we have an awful step up now.”
O’Rourke added, “We are playing against Tyrone who have been one of the best teams in the country the last ten years so we are really going to know where we are when we face them in Omagh.
“That will be much, much more difficult. I would rather come to Aughrim again than go to Healy Park and play Tyrone but that is the challenge that awaits us. And we’ll look forward to it.”
Down will play All-Ireland champions Cork in a repeat of their September clash in the qualifiers at Croke park this weekend with manager James McCartan aware his team will need to improve on Saturday’s win over Antrim.
“Cork will certainly be another step up,” said McCartan. “We have played Division Four teams before Antrim and didn’t set the world alight. Antrim were Division Two but Cork will be different. They beat us in last year’s All-Ireland final and then, convincingly, in the league.
“I’m sure their management were here this evening watching this game and they will be plotting how to beat us again.”
Croke Park will stage an All-Ireland qualifiers double header on Saturday afternoon when Kildare meet Derry at 4 p.m., followed by the repeat of last year’s final between Cork and Down at 6 p.m. In the remaining games, Limerick will take on Wexford in Portlaoise at 7 p.m. while Tyrone welcome old rivals Armagh to Omagh at 7 p.m...
ACE attacker Stephen O’Neill is out of Tyrone’s All-Ireland qualifier against Armagh on Saturday with a hamstring injury. Owen Mulligan is available for the game, however, after returning to the Tyrone squad following a brief and self-imposed exile...
WATERFORD forward Maurice Shanahan is a major doubt for Sunday’s All-Ireland hurling quarterfinal against Galway with a hamstring injury . . .
LIMERICK forward Kevin Downes is an injury doubt for Sunday’s All-Ireland SHC quarterfinal clash with Dublin in Thurles...
KERRY expect Colm Cooper to recover from a knee injury in time for the All-Ireland football quarterfinal at the end of the month...
WEXFORD captain David Murphy has picked up a back injury ahead of Saturday’s All-Ireland SFC qualifier against Limerick...
VETERAN Sligo star Eamonn O’Hara has vowed to play again after picking up a career-threatening knee injury.
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