Foot­ball the win­ner in thrilling fi­nal

Bray People - - Sport -

ONE THING every­one agreed on af­ter the county fi­nal had ended in Aughrim on Sun­day – it was the great­est match in years. No mat­ter what colours you wear­ing, no mat­ted whether you were a St Pa­trick’s fan, a Kil­te­gan fan or just a neu­tral, out for the day you had to en­joy that game of foot­ball

The foot­ball was top class, it was a great con­test, the scores were level five times – and the sports­man­ship was out­stand­ing.

Mick O’Dwyer and Arthur French were in at­ten­dance and both were highly im­pressed with the stan­dard of foot­ball and thor­oughly en­joyed the match. There were many oth­ers present from neigh­bour­ing Coun­ties and all were full of praise for the foot­ball and the level of or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Foot­ball was the only win­ner on the day

Planned cel­e­bra­tions in both camps had to be put on hold for an­other day.

The Cham­pi­onship spon­sor Eu­gene Doo­ley, not en­tirely neu­tral, was also happy with the re­sult. An­other day out will be a bonus for every­one and if the en­ter­tain­ment is as good next Sun­day all sides will be happy.


The mi­nor fi­nal did not quite live up to ex­pec­ta­tions but none the less was also very en­joy­able. With so many tal­ented play­ers on both sides we were ex­pect­ing more – per­haps too much.

P.J.Cun­ning­ham and his Bray Em­mets team were not com­plain­ing.

They had brought off a rare Mi­nor dou­ble, tak­ing the Hurl­ing ti­tle some week’s back with a win over the spe­cial­ists Carnew and now beat­ing the Cham­pi­ons Bless­ing­ton in the Foot­ball

This victory will surely give the game an­other huge boost in our big­gest cen­tre of pop­u­la­tion and do good for the game where it is needed most.

The good days may be on the way back by the banks of the Dar­gle.


The Bray Em­mets win also has to be a badly needed boost for the much ma­ligned dual player. They are a van­ish­ing race and ev­ery­where you turn you meet some­one ready to write their obituary.

While pres­sure at the top level is great and many young men find them­selves hav­ing to make the dif­fi­cult choice peo­ple like P.J.Cun­ning­ham con­tinue to prove that at Club level at least it is still pos­si­ble to keep the two games go­ing One great Hurl­ing man I knew, Brian Gra­ham from Kil­te­gan al­ways main­tained that the con­stant need to switch train­ing from Hurl­ing to Foot­ball helped to keep a team fresh


One of the most suc­cess­ful in­no­va­tions of re­cent years has been hon­our­ing the Cham­pi­ons of 25 years ago with a Ju­bilee pre­sen­ta­tion on Co Fi­nal day.

The great Bless­ing­ton team of 1983 was the team hon­oured on Sun­day in Aughrim. As al­ways they got a change to march be­hind the Band once again be­fore be­ing in­tro­duced to the crowd and re­ceive a pre­sen­ta­tion from Co Chair­man Andy O’Brien.

The Cap­tain of the team Pat 0’Toole trav­elled from New York to be present and was meet­ing up with old com­rades he had not met in years

The Bless­ing­ton Club put on their own cel­e­bra­tions on Satur­day night when the world and his wife turned up in the Ardnode Ho­tel in Bal­ly­more to hon­our the team.

Every­one that was any­one in the com­mu­nity were there. For­mer Pres­i­dent Jack Booth­man and his wife Nula headed the list of dig­ni­taries ; Co Chair­man Andy O’Brien and his wife Ann; Mar­garet Allen, the Pres­i­dent of the Ladies Foot­ball board; Rev Leonard Rud­dock; Fr Tim Mur­phy were other guests present. Frank Byrne, the Chair­man of the Club in ’83 was the very able Mas­ter of Cer­monies. Oth­ers Of­fi­cers from way back like Paddy Hen­drick, Gerry McEn­tee, and Frank Flkan­na­gan were present.

The present Chair­man JP Mo­ran and Sec­re­tary Chris McGee/O’Con­nor headed the or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee.

In 1983 that tal­ented bunch of lads brought off an un­usual dou­ble. When they had ‘Mi­ley’ safely tucked away in the home town of the donor they turned their at­ten­tion to Hurl­ing and won the Ju­nior Cham­pi­onship – not bad for a town with no tra­di­tion in the game.

The Club also took the op­por­tu­nity to hon­our the Ladies Foot­ball team who have brought a lot of tro­phy’s to the town in re­cent years. The Club was formed 15years ago and won their first Cham­pi­onship ten years ago.

Pre­sen­ta­tions were made to the Ladies by Paddy O’Con­nor and one of the ladies to re­ceive a pre­sen­ta­tion was his Wife, Chris McGee/O’Con­nor.

One very high pro­file player who was back to meet her for­mer col­leagues was Cathre­nia Grace who made her own piece of his­tory be Cap­tain­ing the Kilkenny team to win a Ju­nior All Ire­land Foot­ball fi­nal two years ago.(who was it said the Cats could not kick foot­ball)

Other play­ers who served the Club in the Eight­ies but have since left the area in­cluded Wex­ford man Tommy Mur­phy. Car­low man Seán Ahearn and Aughrim man Padraig Keenan.

The Long­est serv­ing Club mem­ber Pete Nolan and his wife Nora were also among the Guests.


Mick O’Dwyer and Arthur French made their re­turn to Wick­low on Sun­day to launch the 09 cam­paign.

They had a meet­ing with top of­fi­cers of the County board in the County Build­ings Aughrim on Sun­day be­fore watch­ing St Pa­trick’s and Kil­te­gan do bat­tle for the Mi­ley Cup.

Af­ter­wards Micko was full of en­thu­si­asm and fired up for an­other bid to lift Wick­low foot­ball to a new level.

While new laws dic­tate that he may have to shelve plans for an early start to train­ing he will still be swing­ing into action be­hind the scenes. He is ex­pected to have his back room team in place shortly and when that is done the next step will be to se­lect a panel of play­ers for the new sea­son.


It has long been a mat­ter of some re­gret that Play­ers who have given a lot to the County Teams in both Hurl­ing and Foot­ball, and got a fair bit of en­joy­ment out of do­ing it of­ten drift away af­ter their re­tire­ment and are lost to the As­so­ci­a­tion.

In a bid to rem­edy that the Coach­ing and games De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee have sent out an in­vi­ta­tion to such play­ers to at­tend a meet­ing in the County Build­ings in Aughrim on Thurs­day night.

In a let­ter to the for­mer play­ers the Sec­re­tary Martin Cole­man points out this is based on a very suc­cess­ful Kilkenny model where past play­ers are in­vited to a spe­cial gath­er­ing high­light­ing the work with county U- 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and Mi­nor teams in Hurl­ing and Foot­ball. We hope to as­cer­tain if any of our past play­ers wound be in a po­si­tion of giv­ing some­thing back, by help­ing with th­ese teams. Full train­ing at Foun­da­tion and Level 1 coach­ing will be pro­vided to all in­ter­ested peo­ple and the nec­es­sary back-up and sup­port pro­vided by the county board

The meet­ing will be ad­dressed by Mick O’Dwyer and Kilkenny Hurler DJ Carey.

Martin adds that he does not want the let­ter to turn any­one off. Come along on the night, he says, and find out more about our pro­gramme. We are not looking for a ma­jor com­mit­ment from any past player. If you could make your­self avail­able for 8 – 10 ses­sions per year it would be a tremendous help with the de­vel­op­ment of our young play­ers. They love to meet great play­ers of the past. We can put you onto a rota so as not to put too much de­mand on any player

Our play­ers will be di­vided into district teams and will play each other with a view to form­ing a County panel. If you could do, say about five ses­sions with a District squad it would add so much value to our prepa­ra­tions.

Please come along on the night and find out more. You may even re­new old friend­ships with play­ers that have wore the Wick­low jer­sey with you. Re­fresh­ments will be served on the night and the meet­ing will last 45 min­utes in to­tal. Re­mem­ber - this Thurs­day night in Aughrim start­ing at sharp.


What lengths would you go to to get a seat at an All Ire­land Fi­nal?. What prompted the ques­tion was a let­ter from my friend Anne Car­pen­ter who was re­turn­ing from tak­ing part in the spon­sored walk for the Guide Dogs as­so­ci­a­tion in Spain last week when she picked up an ar­ti­cle in ‘Cara’, the Air Lin­gus mag­a­zine, and passed it on. It was all about a man who went to great lengths – and great heights – to even get to lis­ten to the voice of Michael O’Hei­ther broad­cast­ing at All Ire­land fi­nal.

The man in ques­tion was great Ca­van cor­ner back Bill Doonan, the man who later re­placed Big Tom O’Reilly at right full back on the Ca­van Team.

The year was 1943 and Ca­van and Roscom­mon were play­ing in the All Ire­land fi­nal.

Bill Doonan was in the Bri­tish Army at the time and was fight­ing a World Way in far away South­ern Italy on that Septem­ber Sun­day.

The bat­tle for Monte Casino was rag­ing but there was a lull in the fight­ing on the Sun­day and Bill, a Ra­dio Of­fi­cer, went miss­ing.

His wor­ried com­man­der sent out a search party and they even­tu­ally found him in what looked like a trance in a tree top on a steep hill­side.

Af­ter mush ef­fort and ex­per­i­men­ta­tion, Pri­vate Doonan had man­aged to home in on Ra­dio Eire­ann and was lis­ten­ing to the voice of Michael O’hEi­ethir from Croke Park.

Not in the least wor­ried about a shell or a stray bul­let, and not even com­plain­ing about not hav­ing a comfortable seat.

The war over and things back to nor­mal, Bill, a son of a trav­el­ling fam­ily, went on to win two all Ire­lands medals him­self, one in 1947 in the polo grounds in New York when Ca­van beat Kerry and in 1948 when they beat Mayo in Croke park.

* That story came orig­i­nally from Bren­dan O’hEithir’ book – ‘Over the Bar’ and Bren­dan adds – ‘If any­one ever asks you what the GAA is all about just think of Bill Doonan, the wan­derer, on that hill­side in Italy in the mid­dle of a Word War.


Our ‘Get well’ wishes this week to a great Wick­low player of the past Paschal Deer­ing from Dunlavin.

Paschal has many claims to fame on the Foot­ball field. He first came to pub­lic no­tice when he played in the first ever Dublin/Wick­low mans Cup fi­nal and al­though New­town won that match the Dunlavin mid­fielder was pre­sented was voted player of the match and was pre­sented with the match Ball by an­other great Gael of the day, Joe Dunne of New­town.

Paschal was on the Wick­low team in Croke Park on the day of ‘The long Count’ – a team that many still re­gard as one of the best ever. He played at cen­tre half for­ward in front of a great mid field pair­ing of Jim Rogers and Johnny Kenny.

Get well quick Paschal – there is an­other great year com­ing up.

And while we are on that 1954 team can we say Hello to the man who Cap­tained that team Shem Fur­long, still hale and hearty in Wick­low town.


When a long White Limou­sine drove into the County Grounds in Aughrim on Sun­day and pulled up at the door of the Build­ings there was a rush of cu­ri­ous on­look­ers to see whom the dig­ni­taries might be.

To the great sur­prise of every­one the man re­ceiv­ing the VIP treat­ment was none other than Ed­die Leonard.

It was Ed­die’s 50th birth­day and the treat was or­gan­ised by his wife with some help from his friend Pat Mitchell

Ed­die was taken to­tally by sur­prise when the limo pulled up at his house in Peb­ble Bay, Wick­low on Sun­day.

Pat Mitchell re­vealed af­ter­wards that his big­gest job was keep­ing Eddy ath ome at his house un­til it was time for the jour­ney to Aughrim.


One man in the news for all the right rea­sons this week is Leighton Glynn.

On Satur­day night he was due in the Jury/Croke Park ho­tel to pick up the ‘Star’ man of the match award for his dis­play in the Wick­low v Kil­dare match.

Leighton was down with flue and was un­able to travel. How­ever his Award was picked up by his mother Phil

Then came the news that he had been se­lected on the ‘Ire­land’ panel for the trip to Aus­tralia. Con­grat­u­la­tions on the dou­ble Leighton.

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