Local championships progresssing well
THE HAPPIEST man around this week is fixtures boss Mick Hagan. Most, if not all of his plans for the concluding stages the championships fell nicely into place and he is now at the knockout stages in all, or almost all competitions.
Apart from another dose of bad weather the semi-finals of the Senior football championship ran off smoothly on Sunday. The St. Patrick’s win over Bray Emmets was about what was expected.
Liam McGraynor’s men started poorly, as they did against Baltinglass but this time there was no way back. The nifty St. Pat’s forwards had chalked up a winning score by halftime and on this occasion the Bray side just did not have the firepower to overturn that lead
Bray did stage a great rally and had Thomas Walsh’s shot gone in it could have made all the difference. Long serving goalie Robert Hollingsworth got a touch on that ball before it struck the crossbar and that is what saved the day.
This Wicklow town team will be contesting their third final in five years, and that is not a bad record.
The second result could not be called a major surprise either. This was the third year in a row that Kiltegan and Rathnew have met in a semifinal with the sides winning one each.
Kiltegan were the team with the greater hunger, and the younger legs and they won strictly on merit.
We have the makings of a great final between two teams that play football all the way.
JUNIOR A FOOTBALL
The Junior A results also went Hagan’s way. Rathnew beat St. Pat’s in the last match in their group to set up a meeting with neighbours Newcastle in one semi-final.
What adds spice to this match is the fact that Newcastle are trained by the former Rathnew star – Trevor Doyle, so that is one to watch out for.
In the other key game Ballinacor had a clear-cut win over Blessington and now go forward to take on Kiltegan in the other semi-final. So no need for any calculators to sort out score differences there.
A mixed bag in Intermediate football. In one group the matches just went ahead with Annacurra beating Bray Emmets to hold on to the top spot and go straight into the final. Ballymanus beat Avondale to clinch second place and a meeting with Carnew in a semi-final.
However, two clubs, Aughrim and Eire Og rebelled, claiming that because of the delicate nature of the points position in their section and the likelihood that it would go down to score difference all matches should be played at the same time. The point was taken and all three matches were re-fixed for Friday night under lights at three different venues with the same starting time.
However, it is not a big setback and Mick Hagan should still be ready for his semi-finals by the proposed date which is the 27/28th of the month.
Elsewhere Carnew qualified for the final of the Senior hurling championship and in the process took the Kavanagh Cup – a trophy named after a great Annacurra gael and for many years Secretary of the South Board. Keating Trophy The Keating Trophy semi-finals were also sorted. Shillelagh will take on Donard/Glen in one semi-final while Hollywood will play surprise packets An Tochar in the other. So interesting days ahead
And talking of big days, they don’t come much bigger than the one was had in the Bray on Saturday when the one and only national competition to be staged in Wicklow was held in brilliant sunshine.
The big kickers from all corners of the land assembled in the new Bray Emmets grounds in Old Conna on Saturday for the Annual Kick Fada, sponsored as always by MBNA.
This has become known as the P.J. Cunningham Show and while this was, and still is the brain-child of the famous journalist and writer it is the strength of the committee that he has pulled together and the people that he gets involved that sees this event go from strength to strength.
His compere for the day was the legendary Micheal O Muircheartaigh , a man who, like Micheal O’Hehir before him can transform anything he touches into a great event.
Most of the big kickers from around the country supported the event – but no-one of course from Tyrone or Kerry who have bigger fish to fry at the moment. Last years winner John Brennan from Carlow was defending his title. The colourful Mark Vaughan from Dublin was making his fourth bid to get into the money while other previous winners like Padraic Kelly and Fintan Ruddy were also in a field of 17. One big disappointment was the late withdrawal of four times winner Mark Herbert of Kildare, through injury.
A strong cross wind made it unlikely that Herbert’s record of 72 metres would be broken on the day.
However, the ultimate winner, Armagh Goalie Paul Hearty came very close with a kick of 70 metres.
All three kickers who finished in the money had one thing in common – all were county goalkeepers.
Coming in second behind Hearty was Offaly goalkeeper Pádraig Kenny who won the title on two occasion; Mark Vaughan was just pipped for third place by former Mayo ‘keeper Fintan Ruddy, also a former winner.
The winner in the ladies section, now getting very popular was Mary Sheridan of Meath, a sister of regular contestant Joe Sheridan.
The Hall of Fame winner was Down all time great Paddy Doherty. He now joins the five previous winners – Peter Nolan of Offaly in ‘03; Donie O’Sullivan of Kerry in ‘ 04; Dermot Early of Roscommon in ‘05; Jimmy Keaveney Dublin in ‘06 and Mick O’Dwyer last year.
The Juvelile Hurling on the day was also top class and added to the general enjoyment. One very popular winner was O’Donovan Rossa who travelled all the way from Belfast to compete.
Commenting on the event the organiser PJ Cunninghan said that he believed it was the best ever. The weather was, as always great; the crowds are continuing to grow and this one was the biggest yet.
To round off a great occasion the Bray Emmets Club made Micheal O Muircheartaigh a life member of the Club. The presentation was made by Gerard Murphy, Chairman of the Club in recognition of the services he has given to the Kick Fada event.
Congratulations to Michael Neary and all involved in the running of the Leinster U-13 Hurling Feile in Wicklow on Saturday. It again shows that when we get the chance we have the facilities and the manpower to stage events like this. It was generally agreed that the event was an outstanding success. For starters it was a full day of brilliant sunshine and where we got it from in this disastrous year God only knows.
The action took place at seven centres – Arklow; Carnew, Bray, Dunlavin, Glenealy, Greystones and Kilcoole the organisation at all venues was top class.
There was eight teams at each venue, a total of 56 in all. They come from all counties in Leinster as well as Waterford and Antrim and it appeared that everyone were enjoying themselves
In some of the action that I got to see Wicklow teams were doing very well.
In Bray the home side beat teams like Mount Sion of Waterford, O’Dovonan Rossa from Belfast and Drumcullen from Offaly before losing to a big and very powerful Portlaoise team in the A final.
In Arklow Michael Dwyers beat ARP, Kilrush from Wexford and St. Mullins from Carlow before losing the A final to St. Martin’s from Meath.
The Bray team was – Ed O’Brien; Ronan Henderson, Matt Thompson, Paul Moran; Ben McCormack; Muiris Lloinn, Tryan Tynan; Andrew Barley, Diarmuid Masterson; Luke Maloney, Craig Dowling, Danial O’Toole;David Gallagher, Josh Connolly, Cian O’Byrne. Jason Curran, Stephen Kerwan and Mark Lennon.
The Michael Dwyers team – Enda O’Keeffe; Luke Byrne, Phillip Coogan; Darrragh Byrne; Tiernan Lambert, James Byrne, Rachel Byrne; Eoin Coogan, Conor Doyle; Ciara Byrne, Seán Prkes, Pádraig Byrne; Willie Harmon, Cian Jackman, Ross Fenton; Stephen Coogan, Dan O’Hara, Shane O’Toole, Pádraig O’Toole.
For many years the All-Ireland Club ‘Sevens’ has been part and parcel of All-Ireland Weekend – be it Hurling or Football.
The Senior Sevens have been run by the Kilmacud Crokes Club at a number of venues around their headquarters in Stillorgan and are always very successful and most enjoyable.
For anyone that can make the time it is a great way to start off the weekend. You meet people from all parts of Ireland, and now even from overseas. You get a chance to see some of the best players in the country in action and get a chance to run the ruler on the progress of a lot of the top clubs. All-Ireland tickets are even known to changes hands on the day.
In more recent years the St. Jude’s Club in Templeogue run a Junior ‘Sevens’ which has also proved successful, and just as enjoyable.
For clubs, getting an invitation to take part is the problem but every year some Wicklow clubs manage to make it.
One such club this year is Kilbride and they will be taking part in the Junior section at St. Jude’s.
For the Haughian family of Oldcourt this will be a very special day. Club Secretary Diarmuid and his brother Cormac will be on the Kilbride team but playing in the same section will be the Robert Emmets Club from London. Secretary of the Emmets Club and their team captain will be another of the Haughian brothers Hugh. So when they meet on the playing field we wonder will they be leaving ‘brotherly love’ behind in the dressing room?
The South/West Bord na nOg have started the Allen Cup competition for U-11 football. This year there are two new additions to the programme. Since the West has now merged with part of the South teams like Carnew, Coolkenno, Shillelagh, Aughrim/Annacurra and Tinahely will be taking part in this long running competition for the first time.
And now the Chairman Jimmy Birchall has came up with the idea of presenting the winners of the B section with a new cup to honour the memory of great Blessington, Dunlavin and Wicklow goalkeeper Ray Daniels.
There will be five teams in each group and it will be run on a league basis up to the final.
Some matches were played over the weekend but others had to be put back until later in the week as they clashed with U-12 FC matches.
Blessington beat St. Kevin’s in the A section – 2-7 to 2-3 in a close game at Blessington.
In the B section Shillelagh beat Coolkenno – 7-9 to 4-5 while Michael Dwyers got a walkover from Aughrim/Annacurra.
The draw for the semi-finals of the South/West U-12 FL were made at the weekend; St. Nicholas play Baltinglass and Blessington take on St. Kevin’s – both games will be played on Saturday the 27th.
A mild shock in the U-16 FC when Baltinglass beat a fancied Rathnew team – 2-7 to 0-11. Tony Kealy was top scorer with 1-4; Tom Kavanagh got 1-1 and Conor Keogh 0-2. Rathnew - Theo Smith 0-4; Erek Conlon, Simon Dunne and Dermot Kavanagh 0-2; John Manley 0-1.
In another quarter-final Eire Og beat Luke O’Tooles – 4-8 to 0-9.
Scorers – Eire Og - Gar Dunne 2-0; Adam Manning and Sam Tompson 10 each; Simon Sweeney 0-3; Gary Elliott and Niall Crosby 0-2; Seán Ryder 0-1.
Luke O’Tooles – Martin O’Brien and Jason Cush 0-3; Stephen Murphy, Andrew Holt and Niall Dempsey 0-1.
In U-14 B football Naomh Padraig beat Eire og 4-7 to 2-9 after leading by 2-3 to 1-7 at half-time. The winners play St Nicholas or Newtown in the final.
Results in the U-12 Shield – Michael Dwyers 6-14; Stratford 2-2; Naomh Padraig 5-10; Enniskerry 6-2; Aughrim/Annacurra W.O. Shillelagh Scr.
Our sympathy this week to well known Donard/Glen club men Peter and David Case and family on the death of their sister Agnes at the weekend.
It is a second bereavement for the family in a matter of weeks.
Agnes was a very popular lady and her sudden death at a young age shocked and saddened all who knew her. May she rest in peace.
Brian Cornyn of St. Pat’s is challenged by Bray's Alan Carr during the Senior football championship semi-final.