Cats show their class in Croke Park
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.
MURT NOLAN RIP
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.