All roads lead to Aughrim for county final day
ALL ROADS lead to Aughrim on Sunday for the showpiece of the football year.
East meets West in what promises to be a great battle. The mighty men from the capital town takes on a little club perched at the gateway to the West with a reputation second to none.
Both are there strictly on merit after coming the hard road through a testing League section and then through the knockout stages. On paper, or any other way you care to look at it little separates the sides.
At the end of the day the Miley Cup will have found a new home – but will it be back on the shores of the Irish Sea, or a little grey home in the West?
We can only wait and see. The only thing that can stop the party going ahead is a draw, and that is one result that fixtures boss Mick O’Hagan won’t want to happen
It promises to be a great day at the old County Grounds. Grounds supervisor Victor O’Shaughnessy has the pitch looking its magnificent best this year. We will have the usual side shows, the parade led by a Pipe Band, the heroes of another generation will be suitably remembered and honoured on the day, and Hugh Kenny will be organising four under-10 minimatches during the interval of the Senior match.
The teams taking part will be St Patricks, Kiltegan, Blessington, Bray Emmets, Knockananna, Laragh, Coolboy and Avoca
My only regret, and there are many more like me is that for security reasons (or so they tell us) the kids will no longer be allowed to march behind the band.
JOHN WALL MFC
The final of the Minor Football Championship has to make the perfect curtain-raiser.
Again this was a pairing that was never in real doubt. From the day they clashed in a first round match at Blessington it was hard to see anyone touching either team for class.
Blessington are the holders and for that reason alone may start slight favourites but on the field of play little separates two fine sides. Both have height and strength in all the key positions – something new in Wicklow football. They have skill and scoring power and provided they get the right conditions are capable of producing a real cracker.
Early comers to the County Grounds should be well rewarded.
THE JUBILEE TEAM
Sunday should be a great day for the Blessington club. In addition to their Minors their Championship winning Senior team of 1983 will be receiving the Jubilee Awards. Many of that team that shocked a highly rated Baltinglass team in the final are still household names in the county. The great Pat O’Toole who captained the team from midfield was making his own bit of his- tory. Six years earlier he was also the captain when his native Dunlavin beat St. Patrick’s in the final - and that has not happened too often
Then there was the Sargent brothers, Shay at full-back and Paddy; the Hennessy brothers Dermot at midfield and Ronan; big Pat Quinn, not quite the force he once was but still a mighty problem for any defence at full-forward; there was Bob Boothman, Martin and Ciarán Shannon, Kevin Hanlon - all great footballers.
The team that lined out that day was – John Finnegan; Patsy Donoghue, Shay Sargent, Paddy Quinn; Pat (Leeky) Lennon, Martin Sargent, Bob Boothman; Dermot Hennessy, Pat O’Toole (Capt); Tommie Hennessy, Paddy Sargent, Kevin Hanlon; Ciarán Shannon, Pat Quinn, Ronan Hennessy. The subs were Martin Sargent, Ray O’Donnell, Peter Daly, a not so well known brother to Fergus Daly; Tom Hennessy, Barry Finnegan, Andy Doran, Glen Walsh, the present Manager/Trainer of the Lacken team, Pat Brophy and Martin Hennessy. The Blessington Club will honour that team at a banquet in the Ardenode Hotel on Saturday night.
The Senior hurling champions of 1983 Avondale will be honoured on the day of the county hurling final but the club had their own special function to celebrate that great victory on Saturday.
Jacobs Well in Rathdrum was packed as the club hosted a great re-union where the members of a great team came together, some of them for the first time in years.
That team brought a 14th title to the club, a total that was only surpassed in recent times by Carnew.
Guests at the function included Andy and Ann O’Brien, Michael Murphy and Jackie Napier who was given the honour of introducing the team.
Seán O’Brien was the captain of the team while Dessie Heffernan, of Kilkenny fame was at centre-forward. Other prominent names on the team were the O’Shaughnessy brothers, Jimmy and Victor; the Doyle brothers, Owen, JJ and Pat, Pat and Micky Jordan, Liam McGraynor and Christy Moran.
The team lined out as follows: Jimmy Kelly; Joe Fox, Ton Lyng, Jimmy O’Shaughnessy; Victor O’Shaughnessy, Seán O’Brien, John Joe Doyle; Paddy Sheehan, Owen Doyle; Pat Jordan, Dessie Heffernan, Christy Moran; Mickey Jordan, Liam McGraynor and Seamus Busher. Subs. – Larry Kinsella, Pat Doyle, Billy Byrne; Mick Kelly, PJ O’Dea, Pat Hogan and Tommy Busher.
MICK HAGAN, THE CELEBRATIONS – AND THE TIE
The referee on that September day in ’83 was Mick Hagan and the story goes that he went celebrating with both teams after the match and was not heard of for a week.
They were hard times – or so they said. I was County Chairman at the time and when Johnny Kelly was down in Aughrim the week before the match to take pictures for the programme he took separate shots of Hagan, the referee and myself - both wearing the same tie – something that did not go unnoticed later.
The story they put out was that we had to pass the hat around but only got the price of one tie so we had to share it.
MICK MANGAN RIP
The death of Mick Mangan at his residence in Bray saddened his many friends through Wicklow.
Kerry born Mick came to live in Bray in 1945 and immediately threw in his lot with the Bray Emmets GAA Club. He played football, and even at one stage a bit of hurling but it was as a Club Officer that he become better known
He held many posts in the club, including Treasurer and Chairman and was President up to the time of his death. At one stage in the lean times he was played, along with his three sons in a Junior Hurling Championship match.
He was also a fairly good handballer and won a few county titles at the sport.
Mick was a character larger than life and his friend of many years Jackie Napier can tell many stories about his exploits, on and off the playing fields.
He saw good days with Bray Emmets but he also battled through the lean years and no-one was more pleased when the old club battled back to reclaim its rightful place amongst the top clubs in the county.
Mick died as he had lived – watching a football match but sadly it was a tape of the All-Ireland final where Tyrone had beaten his beloved Kerry.
During his recent illness he was very proud to be visited by fellow Kerry man Mick O’Dwyer.
Mick was waked at home in his own house, surrounded by family and friends, with the famous Bray Emmets banner of which he was so proud above his bed. His comrades, old and new provided a Guard of Honour at his funeral and carried the banner. His coffin was carried by family and club members all the way from his home to St. Fergal’s Church while all activities in the club at the weekend were cancelled as a mark of respect. To his sons Tony, Tom and Terry, his daughter Eileen and his extended family we tender our Sympathy.
JIM COLLARD RIP
Our sympathy also to the Collard family of Rathnew on the death of their father Jim.
Jim was a good footballer in his day and was a corner-forward on the first Wicklow team to reach a Leinster Minor football final in 1952 in the company of other well known players like Jimmy Hatton of Kilcoole, Peter Timmins, Baltinglass; Dan Harte of Arklow Geraldines; George Delaney, Kilcole, Jim Higgins, Dunlavin and Tom Cooney, Glenealy.
He played in two county finals for Rathnew, in 1953 and ’59 but they lost both to a powerful St. Pa’ts team of the day. His son Vincent won five SFC medals with Rathnew. Also to the Byrne Family of Rathnew on the death of their Mother. All Rathnew matches were cancelled at the weekend as a mark of respect to both families.
Our ‘get well’ wishes this week to Pat Doyle of Carnew who is fighting a long term illness.
Pat, better known to everyone as ‘Horse’ was one of the great dual players on the 1970s. He was the youngest member of the Carnew team that brought off the big double, something that has not been achieved since, in 1973.
He played for club and county at all levels and was a big handful for any defence.
That double in ’73 gave Pat his only Senior football championship medal but he was part of a Carnew team that won seven Senior hurling championships between ’ 73 and 1981.
He also won back to back Minor football titles in 1970 and ’71 and must have a record collection of Minor hurling championships, at least a five in a row won between 1967 and ’71.
Along with three brothers, Seán, Pat and Matt he backboned many a Carnew and Wicklow team in a long playing career.
We hope to see Pat out and about again very soon.
SCOR NA NOG
County Scor Secretary John Timmins is on the warpath early this year – no doubt in a bid to whip up a bit more interest in our Scor and Scor na nOg competitions.
Scor is the social side of the GAA activities and has few equals when it comes to entertainment during the long winter nights.
It is run on the same principle as the All-Ireland Club Championships, starting with a battle in each county the for the county titles and going on through the provincial championships and right up to All-Ireland level.
For the ones that do go all the way and win an All-Ireland title the medal you get is exactly the same as the ones that Brian Dooher, Seán Kavanagh, ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick or Henry Shefflin brought home.
There are eight sections – Ceile and Set Dancing, Instrumental Music, Ballad Group, Solo Singing, Recitation, Question Time and Novelty Act. A club can enter teams in all or any section and under the new rules a club with only one act are still entitled to take part.
While Wicklow are still waiting for their first Senior All-Ireland in either hurling or football some of our clubs, notably Carnew and Ballymanus have All-Ireland Scor medals locked away in their treasure chest.
John Timmins has his Scor na nOg finals date set for November 21 in the Brockagh Centre in Laragh and he is hoping that by giving good advance notice he will attract a bigger entry than last year
Every club has someone that can sing a song or do a recitation; the more difficult ones are Dancing or Novelty Act where you need a team.
To add to the workload on Andy O’Brien and his officials they have to attend the Special Congress on Saturday. Top of the agenda will be the debate on the report from the Hurling Development Committee and the proposals for a total revamp of the hurling championships.
From reports we are hearing there will be big opposition to the plan to bring Galway and Antrim into the Leinster Championship, while at the same time excluding teams like Westmeath and Carlow.
Galway are opposed to the idea, or at least split on the issue. Dublin have come out against it as well – in fact most counties that have had their own debate appear to be lining up to join the NO camp. Nickey Brennan could have a fight on his hands.
Ted Kennedy of Carnew clears his lines as Brendan Doyle of Ballymanus attempts to make a block during the Intermediate football semi-final.