Juvenile structures bearing fruit for Bray
THE FALL of the champions Baltinglass was the big talking point of the weekend. The Slaneysiders were piped by a single point by Bray Emmets after a great battle in the second match at Aughrim on Saturday but being realistic how big a shock was this?
The Bray club have been building up steadily for some years now and have been there or thereabouts for some time. They have one of the best Juvenile structures in the county and have won every underage championship in the book up to now.
That includes the Minor grade. The man who did more than anyone else to dethrone the champions was Jonathan Kinch and many, among them Baltinglass supporters, will remember the same Mr. Kinch doing the very same in a Minor final some years ago.
Bray Emmets have put in solid foundations and are building for the future. They have many great workers behind their teams in all grades and both codes. This may, or may not be their year but a Senior Championship in on its way to the Dargle side – in one or other code, or possible both - and sooner rather than later.
That was the only one we got wrong last week. The favourites in the other three quarter-finals all obliged, even though all three – St. Patrick’s, Rathnew and Kiltegan struggled at times and all made their supporters sweat well into the final minutes. Blessington, Newtown and Strarford gave their supporters plenty to cheer about and all can look forward to better times ahead.
WHEN BRAY EMMETS WERE LEINSTER CHAMPIONS
Did you know that Bray Emmets were Leinster champions in their time, and I am not talking about the All-Ireland winning team of 1902 who were representing Dublin.
This was much earlier than that, possibly around 1887 or ‘88. I did not know that either until I called to see an old friend Joe Deering last week. Joe is the last surviving member of the All-Ireland winning team of 1936 and the greatest ‘memory man’ I ever met. He always has a gem of information to share with his visitors and I have never found one of them to be incorrect yet.
The story had something to do with a final to be played in Dublin but their opponents Kilkenny, a power in football at the time and the first Leinster champions, did not show up and the Bray men, representing Wicklow were awarded the title. According to Joe they celebrated for a week but were then told that there was to be a refixture which they lost.
So it does appear that the Bray Club may have been Leinster champions – for a week. Anyone with more information on that?
And good luck to the great Joe who is now in his 95th year and still one of the greatest.
Commiseration’s to the Wicklow ladies football team on losing out to a strong London side in the All-Ireland Junior semi-final on Saturday but wasn’t it great to see a Wicklow team get so far.
That great ladies football man Dominic Leach was very disappointed but life goes on and asked me to remind you all that the Ladies Football Board have their BIG day in the home championships on Sunday in Aughrim.
The final of the JFC between Baltinglass and Eire Og from Greystones kicks off the day at 12.noon with the Senior final between Arklow Geraldines and Roundwood at 3 o’clock.
Ladies football has certainly come a long since a night in the Little Moon in Coolboy in 1987 when Cathal Friel, Kathleen O’Neill, Liz Byrne/ Timmins and a few more set up the first County Board with only three clubs, Coolboy, Coolkenno and Kiltegan affiliated.
FORRISTAL SCHOOL OF HURLING
Congratulations to Michael Neary and his great U-14 hurling team who for the second year in a row won out their division at the Forristal School of Hurling in Waterford at the weekend.
Congratulations also to manager Michael Byrne and his U-16 hurlers who brought home some silverware from the All-Ireland B Hurling finals , held in Westmeath on Saturday. Leighton Glynn Honoured Leighton Glynn was called up last week for a trial for the Ireland team to play in the Compromise Rules against Austrelia. The trials were held in Lucan and from what we were told Leighton did very well.
Congrats also to Hugh Kenny who has been named as one of Seán Boy- lan’s selectors for the series. Valleymount heroes remembered The Valleymount G.A.A. Club will honour one of their great teams of the past at a function in the clubhouse on Saturday night.
The Lakesiders won the Intermediate Football Championship thirty years ago in 1978 and quite a number of them would have went on to play in Valleymount’s last appearance in a Senior final in 1984 when they lost to Tinahely.
Mary Napier, well known to anyone who has tried to contact her father Jackie on G.A.A. matters was conferred with her Bachelor of Social Science at UCD in Belfield on Monday. Proud parents Jackie and Josie and brother Martin were present to savour the big occasion.
Congratulations (that is the IN word this week) to the Wicklow camogie team who reached the final of the special All-Ireland Junior Championship on Saturday.
Kathleen McAilster’s girls beat Monaghan and Cavan but were in the final beaten by the home county Tyrone (sure you couldn’t beat that crowd in a game in darts at present). The team was short of the four girls – Geraldine Norton, Ann Marie Doran, Mary Whelan and Cathrinia McKeon – who were on duty with the football team in the All-Ireland semi-final.
The death of Fr. Seán Cassidy on Wednesday last brought back memories of the great days of Kilbride foot- ball in the ‘60s. Fr. Cassidy was the fourth CC in the Lakeside village to play a major role in the G.A.A.
Like his predecessors Fr. O’Reilly, Fr. Joe Collins and Fr. McGillycuddy he was Chairman of the club and, and like Fr. Collins a prominent player.
He was at centre half back when they beat Baltinglass in a low scoring final in 1968 to bring home the Miley Cup for a second time.
They beat Newtown, Annacurra and Arklow Geraldines along the way and it was a Newtown player Gerry Sinnott that summed up Fr. Seán as a footballer best of all. Gerry, better known as the ‘block’ and famous for his long frees with the toe of the boot said if you tries to play the rough stuff with Fr. Seán he would take your life and if you did not play it rough you would not get a kick at the ball.
Fr. Seán was a native of Meath but spent most of his Priesthood ministering in the diocese of Dublin but was brought back to his native Kilmainham Wood for burial.
Our sympathy to his family and friends.
ROBERT BYRNE RIP
Our sympathy also to the family of Robert Byrne from Hacketstown who died last week. Robert played for the Glen club and was captain of the team that won the Hennessy Cup in centenary year, 1984.
Robert became well known later as an umpire in Aughrim and other venues throughout the county and continued his service to the G.A.A. up to the time of his final illness. May he rest in peace.
JOHN WALL MFC
We are now in the knockout stages of what many believe is our best ever Minor football championship.
For starters 20 teams took part and that surely must be the largest number ever. Fergal Og from Bray were fielding a Minor team for the first time, giving us a second team from our largest town. AGB were back after an absence of some years which is also good for the game. The Arklow club had their last good team back in 1999 when players like JP Connolly and Danny Dempsey were selected on an Ireland team for the Aussie Rules. That team were unlucky to lose out to Bray Emmets with an understrength team while the Bray side went on to win the championship.
The few remaining games in the league section were played last week and even at that late stage we got some surprises, such as St. Pat’s win over the holders Blessington – the only defeat for the champions.
However, the results changes nothing and Eddie Leonard was able to play the first quarter-final in the A Championship between Luke O’Tooles and St Nicholas on Friday night.
The other quarter-final between St. Patrick’s and St. Kevin’s will be played at Roundwood on Friday evening.
Michael Dwyers beat Ashford in their last game go top of Group 1 of Division 2 on score difference but they lost out to St. Kevin’s for the quarter-final spot in the A championship because Bord na nOg favour the ‘head to head’ system of tie- breaker and St. Kevin’s had beaten the ‘Dwyers in the first game.
Baltinglass, who finished level on points with Luke O’Tooles in Division 1 also lost out on a quarter-final spot for the same reason.
All of them are still in the running to take some silverware at the end of the day – be it the B Championship or the A or B Shield – so plenty still to play for.
The old straight knockout competitions, which some people still prefer, had its merits but it should be remembered that half of the teams in the county went out in the first round and got only one match for the year while the most anyone could hope for was two or three.
St. Patrick’s 3-10, Blessington 1-13: The big shock in the A Championship was the defeat of the champions Blessington by St. Patrick’s at Dunbur Park on Wednesday
While Blessington were short of their top forward Dean Siney there was no signs of a big surprise at halftime when the west men led by 1-9 to 1-6 – the goal scored by Robert Pender. Cathal Doyle had got the St. Pat’s goal.
However, when Evan Dunne and sub Wayne Doyle poached more goals the Wicklow town side were in the driving seat.
The end result changes nothing but it does give St. Pat’s a great boost going in to a quarter-final against St. Kevin’s.
St. Patrick’s: Seán O’Brien; Colm Smullen (0-1), Lorcan Smullen, Alan Kelly; Denis Higgins, Seán Duffy, Shane Dunne; Niall Earls (0-3), C. Murphy; Evan Dunne (1-1), Thomas Kelly (0-5), Cathal Doyle (1-0); Dean Healy, Eoin Wolfe, Danial McDevitt.
Blessington: Conor O’Brien; Niall Keogh, Paul McLoughlin, Dean Mulvey; Eoin Cripps, Ronan Doyle 0-4; James Nolan; Seán Byrne (0-1), Curtice Geraghey; Garry Carroll, Alan Kelly (0-3). Troy Farncis, Kevin Hanlon, Eddie Boylan 0-4; Robert Pender 1-0. Sub. - Own Devlin (0-1).
Michael Dwyers 2-12, Ashford 1-7: Michael Dwyers finished the league section in Division 2 of the MFC with this win over Ashford in a game played at Clonmore.
Dwyers led by 2-7 to 1-3 at halftime, both goals scored by man of the match Kevin Byrne. The win sees the Carlow border side edge out St. Kevin’s to take the top of the table spot in the table on score difference. Man of the match was Kevin Byrne who scored 2-3.
Michael Dwyers: M. Carroll; K. Corrigan, J. O’Brien, N. Moore; C. O’Connor, M. Keane, J. Kehoe; M. Kenny (02), M. Mangan; C. Fitzgerald, K. Byrne (2-3), S. Farrell (0-5); C. Humphries (02), E. Murphy (0-1), D. O’Brien.
Ashford: Willie Hendon/Phillips; Broin O’Donnell, James O’Shea, Martin Doyle; Billy Clarkinson, Dara Rooney, Seán Doyle; John Jekinson (1-0), Mick Taylor; Tim Nairne, Joey Doyle, Dean Mooney (0-7), Brian Shannon, Dean Anderson, Niall Byrne. Subs. – Dara O’Donnell and Danial Kavanagh.
Our get well wishes this week goes to young Coolkenno footballer Shane Byrne who received a broken jaw in an accidental cash in the Junior C match in Baltinglass on Sunday.
Rory Nolan of Baltinglass comes under pressure from Bray's Jonathan Kinch.