Tyrone’s win brings hope to other counties
ALL-IRELAND final day is always something special in the G.A.A. year. In the old days it was the last big occasion of the year.
The dark days of winter were setting in and there was nothing much else to look forward to so it was very important that we get a good final to send everyone home with something to remember and talking points to fill the long winter night by the fire side.
It was also the only day of the year when Gaels from every county in Ireland and from ever unit of the Association from overseas would come together in large numbers under the one roof to witness the showpiece of the year.
Times may have changed. Few counties now get their finals played before the end of September and then we have the very popular club championships. So although we may be almost into October there is still a lot of action to come.
Anyway the two finals on Sunday was every bit as good as the pundits were predicting. A great Minor final to whet the appetite for the big one. This one had most things you expect from a final – a rapid exchange of scores from the start, never more than a point or two in it, the result in doubt right up to the final minutes.
Then we had Darragh Ó Sé to give a demonstration, lest we had forgotten, of what the old style catch and kick game was like and Brian Dooher to orgrastrate the new all-action game so popular in Ulster.
Outside of Kerry the result was well recieved and must have brought hope to a number of other counties. Down, who beat Tyrone in the first round of championship must we wondering where they went wrong.
However, the county that should get the greatest boost of all must surely be Wexford. They put it up to Tyrone in the semi-final just as much as Kerry did in the final. They will be targeting at least a Leinster Championship next year.
DOOLEY POYNTON SFC FINAL
Next big one up for the home fans is the Senior Football Championship final between St. Patrick’s and Kiltegan. The sides have met twice before in finals – 1986 when Seán O’Toole steered Kiltegan to victory over the hot favourites of the day and again in 2006 when Gail Dunne upset the form book by taking the Miley Cup back to Wicklow town.
Now two former pupils of Gail, Casey O’Brien and Gavin Wynne are the men who shoulder the heavy responsibility on managership. Incidentally Gavin was best man at Gail’s wedding while Casey was the groomsman.
Both managers expect to be picking from full strength panels and have little or no injury worries.
Meanwhile, the supporters of the teams are (literally) pinning their colours to the mast. The St. Patrick’s fans are painting Wicklow town blue and white. The flags, buntings and banners are everywhere. The old County Town was never looking better and to put the icing on the cake the bookies have them favourites to take the title at 4/6
In Kiltegan they have an even greater splash of colour. The reason why they have four colours in their flag is simple. The official name of the club is St. Tegan’s and is a combination of two small villages, Rathdangan and Kiltegan
The green and gold is the old colours of Rathdangan, so proudly carried to victory in County Championship finals in 1930 and again in 1936.
The red and white are the first colours of the new Kiltegan club founded by Brian Graham and Peter Whelan in 1964.
D’ARCY SAND IFC
A hectic finish to the League section of the Intermediate Football championship.
With just one round of matches to go three of the four qualifying places were filled but who would get that last place ?
Four of the six teams involved in the last three matches – Aughrim, Dunlavin, Eire Og and Kilbride were still in the running. In the end fortune favoured Seán Doherty’s side from Greystones and they just slipped in under the wire on score difference.
Most disappointed team had to be Dunlavin who were the ones with destiny in their own hands but let it slip when they lost to Aughrim. Unluckiest team had to be Aughrim who won their match but did not get enough scores on the board to take them to the top of the chart.
Kilbride really could have no complaints. They needed to beat Carnew well to be in the running and that was never on. They leaked goals at one end and missed chances, including frees at the other. Fergal Donoghue gambled on a new defensive set up with Diarmuid Haughian at centre half back and it did not work and the Liffeysiders are now left to contest the relegation play-offs.
The semi-final pairings are Carnew v. Ballymanus and Annacurra v. Eire Og and both will be played at Aughrim on Sunday.
CUMANN NA MBUNSCOL
Congratulations to Cumann na mBunscol on the launch of their Fixtures and Information Booklet for 08/09.
Seventy pages chock full of all the results over the past year and all the activities planed for the season ahead
Another fine publication with action pictures on almost every page and well up to the standard of award winners of recent years. This one will certainly be there or thereabouts again this year
Well done to hyper active PRO Ciarán Byrne who had Wicklow up with the best in Leinster in this important field.
CUMANN NA MBUNSCOL WEST
Following a meeting in Dunlavin last week Tommy Brennan and Gemma Hanlon have released details of their planned programme of events for schools in West Wicklow in the coming months.
In common with the general trend they have gone away from Leagues or competitive games and are instead organising a series of one day noncompetitive events where the emphasis will be on participation, enjoyment and skill development..
In the hurling and football events it its expected to have 10-a-side teams but this is subject to change based on the numbers that attend on the day.
Schools will be divided into two categories - those with over 100 students and those with under that number
The action will start in Wednesday, October 1 with Boys Football.
Venue 1 (over 100) Blessington. Officer in charge – Pat Sheridan; Venue 2 (Under 100) – Stratford - Mary O’Keeffe.
Wednesday, October 8, Girls Football - Venue 1 - Dunlavin - Tommy Brennan; Venue 2 - Lacken - Caroline Finn
Tuesday October 14 – Cross Country – Venue 1 Valleymount Ged Doyle.
Wednesday, October 22 - Hurling - Venue - Dunlavin Michael Moran.
Wednesday November 12 - Boys Basket Ball – Venue – Dunlavin Tommy Brennan.
Wednesday, November 19 - Girls Basketball – Venue – Donard Gemma Hanlon.
EUGENE DOYLE RIP
The death of Eugene Doyle of Dunlavin caused widespread grief in Wicklow and adjoining counties.
While he was better known in recent years as a popular auctioneer with the family firm of JP and M. Doyle he was equally well known in his youth as a member of the great Donard club of his time
Eugene was the youngest of eight brothers from Ballymoney, all of whom were active members of the Donard GAA Club
The one remaining member of the brothers in Ned, the man who captained Donard to the last of their six Senior Football Championships in 1957
We extend our sympathy to his bereaved family.
Our sympathy also to well known-referee Pat Kelleher of Arklow on the tragic death of his brother in a farm accident in Cork at the weekend.
THE GROUP TEAM
This we are returning to the subject of the group team again. The reason is that over a summer months attending Junior football matches I have been approached on a number of occasions by some followers of football in Wicklow who would point out a good display by a particular player and say ‘why is he not getting a trial for the county team?’.
A fair enough question but the truth is that in recent years, in the days of Hugh Kenny and even more so since Mick O’Dwyer has come to Wicklow quite a number of players from Junior and Intermediate clubs have been offered trials.
A number of them took up the challenge and we did have some successful ones, notably Alan Byrne of Annacurra, Billy Norman and Darren Hayden of Eire Og, and Seánie O’Neill and Paddy Byrne of Ballymanus.
A number of others like Pat Phibbs of Lacken, Stephen King of Enniskerry, Brian Flynn of Valleymount and Mark Kelly, Patrick Donohue and Ciarán Jones of Kilbride all got trials under Mick O’Dwyer. Kevin O’Brien also offered a number of Junior players a chance to join his county Junior team, but with only limited success.
Really when you think about it what you are asking a lot of a player to take two giant steps at the same time – come up from Junior the Senior football and from club to county football at the same time.
That is where the Kerry system of the Group, District, or Divisional teams comes in.
I know it has been tried many times before in Wicklow, but without success.
Back in the forties and early fifties the four districts played each other annually in a sort of tournament which was quite popular and probably helped in fielding good Junior teams, which Wicklow did have quite often then.
When the last major re-vamp of the Senior championship was undertaken some years back four group teams were pulled in to replace four Senior teams that were phased out. With the exception of a decent effort put in by Liam McGraynor in the East District it simply did not work.
The main reason was that the clubs simply did not buy into the system – or if they did they were not prepared to put in the effort and the manpower to make it a success.
The system, as planned at the time had two great advantages – first it offered EVERY player in the county, regardless of what club he came from the opportunity to play Senior football – provided he could prove that he had what it takes.
The second advantage was that it would be a good training and recruitment ground for our county teams, be they Senior or Junior.
Is the fact that it has failed in the past a good enough reason for not trying it again?.
It simply has to be worth another try. This time perhaps the young players could do something to help themselves.
If you are a member of a small Junior club and you would love to wear the Blue and Gold of Wicklow, while at the same remaining loyal to your own club this could be your chance.
Make your views known within your club and encourage them to do something to give you Senior football through this method. The training and experience you will gain will also benefit your own club as well.
It would be a better way than just getting a trial for Micko’s panel and then finding out that the double step was more than you could handle at the one time.
ALL IRELAND ‘SEVENS’
Baltinglass were one of the big name teams competing in the All-Ireland ‘Sevens’ in Kilmacud on Saturday.
They lost their first match to Tuam Stars from Galway by a two-point margin but then bounced back to beat Castleblaney Faughs of Monaghan by twelve points.
In the deciding match in the group they lost by a single point to Longford side Alleylara
According the Club Chairman Con Murphy they had a great day out and enjoyed the experience.
Kilbride took part in the Junior section at the St. Judes Club. Club Secretary Diarmuid Haughian told me the lads were totally wrecked after a hard match against Carnew in the Championship on Friday night and were unable to lift their game. A team from Achill Island won their group.
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte lifts the Sam Maguire Cup.