By Larry Cooney
Warwickshire could need to conjure another ‘Houdini’ act if they are to survive in Division 2B this year, following their 12-point defeat by Roscommon at Dr Hyde Park.
The hosts were full value for their victory, but the Exiles will take some comfort from the fact that their performance improved as the match progressed.
However, it doesn’t get any easier for the Midlanders as they prepare to host Kildare in Pairc na hEireann on Saturday.
But Warwickshire have been boosted this year by the inclusion of former London star Luke Hands, who has decided to throw in his lot with his ‘home/native’ county this year.
The St. Gabriel’s clubman, and his younger brother Anthony, are eligible for Warwickshire because they were both born in Coventry.
Their parents Gary and Dymphna Hands travelled from the village of Maree near Oranmore, close to Galway city to see their sons make their Warwickshire debuts last Saturday.
Gary is also a Coventry native and both he and Dymphna will also make the trip to Birmingham on Saturday to see the Exiles take on the high-flying Lilywhites, who enjoyed a good win over London last weekend.
“We were both born in Coventry and so are eligible to play for our ‘home’ county,” Luke, who top-scored with 1-6, told the Irish World.
The brothers still live and work in London and will continue to play for the St. Gabriel’s.
He added: “It was a tough start today for us but we knew that would be the case but I’m delighted to be now playing for my ‘home’ county.
“After an improved second-half performance there is still plenty to work on as the league progresses.”
Anthony, who lined out at full back for the Exiles, was given a ‘baptism of fire’ facing a rampant Roscommon forward line that included the three Egans, who amassed a total of 2-9 of the Rossies total.
His debut also ended with a shoulder injury late in the game and he must be a doubt for Kildare, who racked up a 8-19 to 0-6 win over the Exiles last year.
Warwickshire manager Chris Brough, says comparisons are “unfair”.
“We were extremely depleted that afternoon due to number of players who were unavailable to travel, but nevertheless Kildare are still one of the best teams in the Division and genuine promotion contenders,” he said.