McNicholas holds key, says Smyth

By Damian Dolan.

Brian Smyth has warned his former London teammates that they must stop Westmeath forward Derek McNicholas if they are to set up a mouth-watering clash with either Waterford or Offaly.

Smyth helped the Exiles to Christy Ring success last year but the maths and PE teacher at St Paul’s Academy has been forced to put hurling on the back seat this year as he concentrates on his Masters.

The Raherney hurler, who previously captain Westmeath won a Christy Ring with the Lake County in 2005, believes that London must keep McNicholas under wraps on Saturday.

“If the London boys can keep tabs on Derek McNicholas it will go down to the wire,” he said. “He could be a thorn in their side – he’s a class act.

“They’ve a lot of strong lads. Adam Price is flying at full back, he’s lording it. Brendan Murtagh is another big name at centre forward and Eoin Price in the middle of the field.

“Philip Gilsenan is another experienced player. He’s on the team a long time and he’ll be hard enough to handle. If they all perform it will be very hard to stop them, but I’d say it could come down to the luck of the draw on the day.

For more see this week’s edition of the Irish World

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