Derry didn't appeal O'Dwyer red card out of compassion for referee
DERRY hurling manager Collie McGurk has revealed that the Oak Leafers didn't appeal Jonathan O'Dwyer's suspension following his red card against Meath out of compassion for the referee.
Westmeath official Alfie Devine took charge of the game just two days after laying to rest his brother Donal, who died suddenly following a training session with their club Castlepollard.
Banagher forward O'Dwyer was sent off along with Meath's Keith Keoghan following a 20-man brawl midway through the second half.
The Oak Leafers also lost Kevin Hinphey early in the second half to a straight red card, and had Eugene McGuckin dismissed moments from the end for a second bookable offence.
No appeal was considered on Hinphey's behalf but McGurk revealed they opted against fighting to have O'Dwyer's overturned out of respect for the referee.
“We just thought it was best to leave it. The referee himself was bereaved leading up to the match and we didn't want to put any unfair pressure on him.”
They will be without O'Dwyer and Hinphey for their clash with Wicklow, which along with the footballers' clash with Down has been moved to Celtic Park because of the pitch condition at Owenbeg.
The Oak Leafers will also be down Paddy Henry (hamstring) and Paul Cleary (broken thumb) for the medium-term, while Conor Quinn (honeymoon) and Breandan Quigley (back) are both out for the visit of the Garden men.
Liam Hinphey (hamstring) and Ruairi McCloskey (shoulder), neither of whom has played in the League so far this season, remain doubts, while none of the Slaughtneil contingent or Cuala brothers Cian and Naoise Waldron are yet available.
Tiernan McCloskey does return from injury, while there is likely to be a debut for young Kevin Lynch's defender Odhran, whose father Kieran played hurling and football for the county with such distinction.
“Realistically, if we're to retain any hope of going into the final, we need to be winning on Sunday. We're playing with a weakened squad but that's the goal, to keep any chances we have alive.
”We have to be winning but Wicklow have won their first two matches and they'll be looking at it as a game they could win.
“They haven't played Down and Meath yet, but they're probably looking at us as beatable. They have an experienced squad, whereas we have a very youthful squad, and we're very light on numbers.
”They have their full compliment of clubs on board at this stage and we haven't. With a full squad, we'd be very confident, but even with the squad we have, we're looking at it as points we can take.”
Numbers have been light for McGurk in the early days of his reign and he is expecting something similar this weekend – but the Lavey man says he walked into the job with his eyes very much open.
“We have a squad of maybe 18 or 19. I've been on enough buses down south with much less than that in my playing days.
“Particularly with the Slaughtneil players tied up the way they were, I kind of half expected that. It is a challenge, but we're doing it with a smile on our faces.”