Cats show their class in Croke Park

Bray People - - Sport -

I WAS one of the lucky ones to have been Croke Park on Sun­day to wit­ness a dis­play of hurl­ing, the likes of which I have never seen be­fore.

A lot of peo­ple I met af­ter­wards were ex­press­ing dis­ap­point­ment with ‘that one-sided match’. For the life of me I could not share in that dis­ap­point­ment.

For­mer Pres­i­dent Jack Boot­man said, ‘That was the great ex­hi­bi­tion of hurl­ing ever’ no team, not even the pick of Mun­ster could have lived with Kilkenny to­day and Water­ford were just un­lucky to on the re­ceiv­ing end’.

Ever since I at­tended my first hurl­ing fi­nal, back in 1947 I have wit­nessed a lot of great fi­nals, and quite a few poor ones, but noth­ing ever re­motely like this one.

I had left home with a warn­ing from the hurl­ing con­nois­seurs ring­ing in my ears. Water­ford, they told me had no chance of liv­ing with the Cats.

I still held out hope of a good bat­tle but de­cided that I was likely to come home a lit­tle dis­ap­pointed no mat­ter what the re­sult. If Water­ford put up a good show and were pipped in the end I would be dis­ap­pointed for them; on the other hand I would have been dis­ap­pointed had Kilkenny not got their ‘three in a row’ – some­thing I felt this team richly de­served.

In the end I had it both ways. Water­ford had no rea­son to be dis­ap­pointed - no-one could have lived with the Cats and for the rest of us we were left with the mem­o­ries of an ex­hi­bi­tion of the an­cient game that we will carry to the grave.


The lo­cal hurl­ing fans also got some­thing to shout about on Satur­day. The meet­ing of our top two hurl­ing clubs, Glenealy and Carnew in the SHC at Aughrim lived up to ex­pec­ta­tions and pro­duced a great bat­tle be­fore Carnew won and set them­selves up to take the Ka­vanagh Cup and go straight into the county fi­nal.

Glenealy look cer­tain to make the semi-fi­nal where they will be play­ing for the Billy Byrne Cup and a place in the fi­nal.


The Val­ley­mount club were in fes­tive mood on Satur­day night at they gath­ered in their new club­house to hon­our their he­roes of thirty years ago who won the In­ter­me­di­ate Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship.

In his ad­dress to a packed func­tion room the Chair­man An­thony Geoghe­gan wel­comed every­one and thanked all for com­ing to share in a great oc­ca­sion for the Club.

‘I would like’, he said, ‘to ex­tend a spe­cial wel­come to our prin­ci­pal guests, the team mem­bers, the trainer and se­lec­tor’ who brought home that cham­pi­onship.. ‘It gives us all great plea­sure this evening to come here to hon­our your achieve­ments and to say well done’.

‘Other spe­cial guests this evening are our County Pres­i­dent Peter Keogh; County Chair­man Andy O’Brien and Rev. Fr Teddy Downes’.

An­thony also wel­comed the present day play­ers and men­tors. ‘No club’, he said, ‘can ex­ist without the com- mit­ment of a good com­mit­tee’.

‘I have been lucky since com­ing into of­fice to have had first class mem­bers. This club is in­debted to them for all their hard work and ded­i­ca­tion, without th­ese peo­ple there would be no club to­day.

‘This evening is no ex­cep­tion, many peo­ple were in­volved in or­gan­is­ing this event and I of­fer my sin­cere thanks to all con­cerned.

John Richardson was the very ca­pa­ble M.C. for the night and kept the show go­ing at high speed. The pre­sen­ta­tions to the play­ers on 1978 and the men­tors was made by Andy O’Brien.

Club chair­man An­thony Geoghe­gan made a spe­cial pre­sen­ta­tion to Peter Keogh.

The walls of the func­tion room were dec­o­rated with old pho­tos and cut­tings from the ‘Wick­low Peo­ple’ of the day.

Also present were the three joint Pres­i­dents of the club – Terry Mahon, John Stones and Larry Foster.

The cham­pi­onship winning team lined out as fol­lows - Thomas Nolan; Mick Mi­ley, Larry Mi­ley RIP; Patsy O’Brien; Liam Reid, Sea­mus Nolan, John Nolan; Pat Bol­ger, and Larry Cullen; Peter Byrne, John O’Brien, Wil­lie O’Brien; Sea­mus Mi­ley, Dinny Reid and Peter Be­han. Subs. - Bren­dan Hen­nessy, Con Be­han, Billy Ka­vanagh, Amby Mi­ley RIP; John Cahill, Amby Mi­ley, Tommy Pen­der, Jimmy Byrne; John Richardson. Trainer - Tommy Clarke, Kil­bride; and se­lec­tor Bobby Richardson also re­ceived spe­cial pre­sen­ta­tions.

A spe­cial vote of thanks to the ladies com­mit­tee who did an ex­cel­lent job on the ca­ter­ing.

On my own be­half thanks for a pre­sen­ta­tion of a lovely clock set in lo­cal Bal­ly­knockan Gar­net, some­thing that left me gob­s­macked and

for once in my life - speech­less.


The An­nual MBNA spon­sored Kick Fada takes place at the new Bray Em­mets com­plex on Satur­day. P.J. Cun­ning­ham and his hard-work­ing com­mit­tee have built this event into a fes­ti­val of sport, with al­ways a num­ber of ju­ve­nile hurl­ing matches with top teams from the strong hurl­ing coun­ties tak­ing part. This year they will also be in­cor­po­rat­ing matches in the Le­in­ster U-13 Feile as well.

This is the only na­tional event on the GAA cal­en­dar to be staged in Wick­low. In­vari­ably it is a great day’s en­ter­tain­ment but up to now it has not got the sup­port in de­serves. Un­like the hurl­ing Poc Fada which is staged in the Coo­ley Moun­tains this Kick Fada is played at a com­pact venue and does lend it­self to spec­ta­tor in­volve­ment

Some of the finest foot­ballers in Ire­land will be tak­ing part and it can build up to a nail­bit­ing fin­ish.

There is also a ladies sec­tion and with ladies foot­ball now go­ing so well in Wick­low this should be an added at­trac­tion.

The main action usu­ally fin­ishes in early af­ter­noon and in good time to al­low fol­low­ers to at­tend their reg­u­lar evening games so if you have not been there be­fore there is a treat in store for you in Bray on Satur­day.


Our get well wishes this week to one of the Aughrim grounds­men, John Byrne, who is Ill in hospi­tal. John, a ded­i­cated An­nacurra sup­porter, puts in work above and be­yond the call of duty on Vic­tor O’Shaugh­nessy’s team to keep the County Ground in such great or­der.


U-14 Foot­ball Shield – Strat­ford 219, Coolkenno 3-16 (af­ter ex­tra-time): The stars were in the sky when John White fi­nally brought this cracker of a match in the quar­ter-fi­nal of the U14 Foot­ball Shield to a close in Strat­ford on Wed­nes­day night.

Matches like this should carry a health warn­ing; cer­tainly this one was hard on an age­ing heart.

In a tame enough first-half a goal for Strat­ford by Alan Nor­ton was the main dif­fer­ence be­tween the sides, de­spite some good points by David Tompkins that goal kept Strat­ford in front up to half-time – 1-4 to 0-5.

When Keith Far­rell brought the sides level the early in the sec­ond­half the game livened up and when Far­rell lev­elled the game for a sec­ond time with ten min­utes still to go we had a real bat­tle on out hands. Points by David Tompkins, Jack Maxwell and Far­rell saw Coolkenno pull away. A good point by Seán Byrne lifted Strat­ford again and when the lion-hearted Nor­ton broke through for his sec­ond goal the home side were back in front.

Now, with the match in added time it was the turn of Coolkenno to per­form a ‘Hou­dini’ act, and they did.

Tompkins broke through for a goal and Far­rell kicked over a point sec­onds be­fore John White blew for full-time.

Even though light was fad­ing fast ex­tra-time had to be played. David Tompkins had a goal and a point in the open­ing min­utes but Strat­ford fought back with Dougie Han­bidge lev­el­ling the game again with a goal and a point.

An­other goal by Seán Car­roll for Coolkenno but Alan Nor­ton sent over three points and it was level again at the break.

The fi­nal ses­sion fol­lowed the same pat­tern. Keith Far­rell pointed a free and Tompkins blasted home a goal and Coolkenno were on their way.

Never-say-die Strat­ford ral­lied once more; Nor­ton pointed a free, Dou­glas Han­bidge sent over two points and with the ref check­ing his watch for the last time and a point be­tween the sides Strat­ford won a free way out on the left. Han­bidge held his nerve and drove it be­tween the posts. At that stage dark­ness had set in and the posts were barely vis­i­ble from the side­line and one had to wait for the re­ac­tion of the play­ers to de­cide whether it was over or not. It was the Strat­ford lads and lassies that were danc­ing their own ver­sion of the ‘Hy­land Fling’ so we knew that Dougie’s kick had been straight and true. The sides were level again and the game was over.

Coolkenno: Pa­trick Byrne; Paul Bowes, Daniel Doyle, Elane Keogh; Gra­ham Smith, Wil­lie Byrne, Su­san O’Neill; Seán Car­roll (1-0), Ciara Cal­laghan; Enda Far­rell (0-6), Bran­dan South­ern; Jack Maxwell (0-2), David Tompkins (3-6), Pat Byrne.

Strat­ford: Ja­son Fin­lay; Cor­mac Egan, Mathew Han­bidge, Adam Doyle; Matthew Man­ley, PJ McGrath, Nathan Whit­tle; Lucy Cush ( 0- 1), Christo­pher Han­bidge; Dou­glas Han­bidge (1-8), Dy­lan Browne, Bren­dan Kin­sella; Seán Byrne (0-2), Alan Nor­ton (2-8), Miriam Sleator.

Ref­eree: John White (Donard/Glen).

n My dream of a re­peat of the old Priest’s Cup Fi­nal be­tween Bray and Ark­low was blown out of the wa­ter on Satur­day. Ciarán Flem­ing’s Balt­in­glass team beat Ark­low GeraldinesBal­ly­money in the semi-fi­nal of the U14 Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship at Ti­na­hely so it is the Slaneysiders that will be con­test­ing that fi­nal, and they cer­tainly have no his­tory in Ju­ve­nile fi­nals that goes back to the 1920s.


The death of Dick Fo­ley of Kil­coole re­moved an­other link with a great team of the fifties that brought many hon­ours to the ‘Goose Bank’

They were the days when foot­ball was on fire in the area and hurl­ing was also do­ing well.

Dick was a cor­ner-for­ward on a great Kil­coole team that won the Se­nior Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship in 1954, beat­ing the mighty St. Pat’s team of the day in a low scor­ing, but highly ex­cit­ing game in Aughrim. Jimmy Hat­ton, later to achieve more fame as a ref­eree was one of the stars – his long frees out of de­fence be­ing one of the fea­tures of the game. His 16-year-old brother Danny made his­tory that day be be­com­ing the youngest player – up to then – to win a SFC.

Dick won an In­ter­me­di­ate Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship medal when Kil­coole beat An­nacurra in1950 and two Ju­nior Hurl­ing Cham­pi­onships, the first in ’53 when Kil­coole beat Rath­new on a re­play in the fnal and the sec­ond when they beat Bal­ly­money in the fi­nal. He also played in the Se­nior Hurl­ing fi­nal of 1954 but Kil­coole lost that one to Barn­dar­rig

Dick made a huge con­tri­bu­tion to the Kil­coole Club, as a player and men­tor, start­ing in the late ‘40s, right through the ‘50s and into the early ‘60s.

His late brother Ned was Club Sec­re­tary while Dick was the player and com­mit­tee mem­ber.

We ex­tend our sym­pa­thy to his be­reaved fam­ily.


The death of Murt Nolan sad­dened all who knew him in his na­tive Donard and West Wick­low.

His pass­ing re­vives mem­o­ries of the golden era of foot­ball in Donard. He played for the club in the late for­ties and into the fifties at a time when Donard were able to field three teams, some­thing un­heard of at the time. Their Se­nior team at the time had three Rail­way Cup play­ers – Gerry O’Reilly, Jim Rogers and Paddy Len­non - on board as well as close on a dozen other county play­ers. Murt like ev­ery other player shared in their col­lec­tion of medals and tro­phies which in the end in­cluded six in the SFC as well as Ju­nior and In­ter­me­di­ate cham­pi­onships.

Like many more of his time Murt em­i­grated to Eng­land in the early fifties, cut­ting his play­ing ca­reer short. He spent the rest of his work­ing life in that coun­try but in his re­tire­ment he re­turned with his wife Hilda to live in his beloved Donard.

The Donard/Glen Club pro­vided a guard of hon­our at his fu­neral in Donard on Satur­day.

To his wife Hilda and his ex­tended fam­ily we ex­tend our sym­pa­thy.

Kilkenny cap­tain James ‘Cha’ Fitz­patrick lifts the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

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