Double celebration in Kiltegan
KILTEGAN was the place to be on Sunday night as Stephen Corrigan and John O’Toole arrived home with the Miley Cup after an absence of 22 years. And of course the local hero Denis Hayes was there with the Junior ‘A’ Cup as well
It was a history making weekend for the club who had brought off an unusual double, never achieved before.
While Kiltegan had won the Senior and Intermediate hurling on the one day in 1995 nothing like that has ever been achieved in Football.
The celebrations, always started in the in Rathdangan ,the little village at the gateway to the West. Last year they were celebrating when one of their favourite sons Brian Whelan helped Baltinglass to bring home the cup. This year they were celebrating on the double with the captain Stephen Corrigan and the vice- captain John O’Toole coming from the village.
The Cup was filled for the first time in ‘Juniors’ now the only Pub in the Village and any supporter who could gain entrance, by fair means or foul manage to get their first drink.
The party then moved to Kiltegan and took over the Village for the night. The road through the village was a no-go area as supporters and well wishers poured in from all the surrounding areas and from many neighbouring clubs. The once popular Bon-fire has long since been dispensed with and was replaced by Fireworks
On the platform the chairman of the club Noel Farrell and secretary Collie Doyle led the welcoming party. The two winning managers Gavin Wynne and Ciaran O’Toole led the speakers; Mentors Michael Foley, Joe O’Brien and Mick Kearney also spoke.
The speeches over everyone adjourned to the Talk of the Town or Katie Lowe’s for a night of hectic celebrations.
There was a special welcome for Blaine Harmon who played in both finals.
On Saturday he gave a great display of high fielding to break the hearts of Newcastle.
On Sunday when the chips were down in the closing stages Gavin Wynne played his trump card when he sprung the teenager from the bench and released Jacko Dalton to go forward and give Kiltegan an extra diminution in attack. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Incidentally Blaine is a son of Richard Harmon who played at midfield when Kiltegan beat St. Pat’s in the final of ’86. THE COUNTY FINAL
Another great day in Aughrim for the replay of the Senior Football final. The crowd looked as big, if not bigger than the first day, the weather again behaved and the now usual side shows – the presentations to the Jubilee team, this time the Intermediate Champions of 1983 Stratford – and the mini matches all went off smoothly; the curtain-raiser between Hollywood and An Tochar in the semi-final of the Keating trophy was a close and entertaining match and get the big crowd into the right mood The bid match did not quite live up to the standard of the drawn game – replays seldom do, but it was none the less a great battle that went right down to the wire. In the end Kiltegan won in the way the know best – coming from behind. They have not yet developed the ‘killer’ instinct of the Baltinglass’s or the Rathnew’s and are always vulnerable when defending a lead.
In the end there had to be a loser and after such a sporting match it was hard luck on St Patrick’s to be back in the role of Bridesmaid.
MAN OF THE MATCH
While Kiltegan supporters were disappointed that their two match hero Jacko Dalton did not get the nod but no one could have any complaints with the decision of Mick O’Dwyer and his management team to award it to Paudge McWalter. The St Pats midfielder gave another great display and on that form he can expect a call from Micko in the near future.
The introduction of the Mini Matches for the under tens during the interval at our Co Finals has to be another of the success stories of the year. For one thing it goes along way to fulfilling the dream of Andy O’Brien to see every young player wear the jersey of his own club before he joins any group team
It is also a great occasion for the young players themselves and for their families has them talking about it for a long time before and after.
The veterans of many battles marching proudly behind the band between matches at Aughrim on Sunday were the Stratford Intermediate team of ’83. In that year, while the rest of us were preparing for Centenary year Noel Staunton was whipping the Slaneysiders in to shape to make a mighty bid to be back in Senior ranks in time to celebrate the birth of the Association. When Blessington, who were having the greatest year in their history, winning their first SFC for the first time since 1915 also reached the Intermediate final the venue simply had to be Baltinglass.
Just as they did when they made their championship break- through in Junior ranks in 1971 the Slaneysiders proved too strong for all opposition and powered their way to a 2-6 to 1-2 victory. It was the 25th anniversary of that win that Stratford were celebrating
The club laid on a reception and a meal for the team and mentors in the clubhouse on Saturday night. It was a most enjoyable occasion.
The whole team was back under the one roof for the first time in years; stories of great battles were exchanged; the reports and pictures of the final from the ’Wicklow People’ of the day were read and re-read. County Chairman Andy O’Brien addressed the gathering and presented the players and the team management with Photos of the winning team.
The Ladies Committee did a great job in catering for a large crowd of club members and supporters.
Andy Moore was the captain and led the team again in the parade at Aughrim on Sunday. Pat Cronin, the goalie has a most remarkable record.
He played in goal for Wicklow in Minor, U21, Junior and Senior Football and in minor, U-21 and Senior Hurling. He won Junior and Intermediate Football Championship medals with Stratford; a Junior Hurling Championship with Baltinglass and Intermediate and Senior Championships with Kiltegan.
Another player who gave remarkable service to club and county in a long career was Nick O’Neill. Frank O’Neill was another who played for Wicklow as well as serving the Club as player and mentor. The longest serving officer of them all Jim Bollard and Joe Cullen were two more of the four Stratford players on Pat Murphy’s team that won the Junior All Ireland in 1969.
The rest of the panel was Vincent Cronin, Liam Humphries, Lar O’Toole (RIP), Paddy Nolan; Fergal Moore, Gerry Keane, Joe Moore, Eamon Kealy, Anthony Kealy, Jimmy Barrett, Andy Whelan who was also team Manager, John Ross, Seamie Byrne, Johnny Barrett; Harry Mangan, Francis Keane, Malachy Phelan, John Keogh and Jim Barrett. The full-back on that team Lar O’Toole has passed to his eternal reward but his plaque was accepted by his wife Noleen and his five year old Daughter Gillien.
Andy Whelan who was a player and manager of the team was on a foreign Holly with his wife Patricia but his plaque was collected by his daughter, Marie.
Referee for that final was Jack Murray of St. Patrick’s and he was not forgotten on the day and also received a presentation from Andy O’Brien. MISSING NAMES
It has been brought to our notice that in our report on the Jubilee presentation to the Blessington team carried in last week’s paper we left out two of the main organisers of the function in the Ardnode Hotel – Renie O’Neill and her brother Ronan Hennessy – sorry about that.
We also forgot to mention the Referee Jim Cronin of Stratford who was also in the parade and presented with a plaque by Andy O’Brien.
COACHING AND GAMES
The Coaching and Games Development Committee were very pleased with the success of their open night, held in the Co Buildings in Aughrim on Thursday.
The Secretary Martin Coleman had sent out an invitation to former county players, hurlers and footballers, to a meeting in the hope of pulling together a coaching team to assist with the development squads.
An over all attendance of over ninety was way in excess of his wildest dreams.
The fact that Mick O’Dwyer and DJ Carey were to address the meeting may have been a factor in making it such a success.
Games Development Officer Hugh Kenny, Hurling development officer Michael Neary, Colm Gaskins, Jerome Kelly, Michael O’Sullivan, and County Chairman Andy O’Brien addressed the meeting while Leighton Glynn and Garrett Doyle took the notes.
Mick O’Toole, Chairman of Bord na nÓg and Eddie Leonard along with the full Management Committee were also present.
The manager of the Football Development Squads, Jerome Kelly, was pleased with the number of new people that signed up to help out with his three squads in either U-14, U-15 of U-16 level.
Martin Coleman also received a number of apologies from former, or present county players who were unable to attend on the night but would be interested in helping out with the Juveniles.
The Committee will be meeting to move the processes forward to the next stage which will be deploying the new coaches amongst the different Development squads. SYMPATHY
The Valleymount Club lost one of its most dedicated players and supporters with the sudden death of Mick Fitzpatrick at the weekend. Big Mick ruled edge of the square for the Lakesiders in some of their best years. He won a Junior Championship medal in 1963 and an Intermediate medal a year later. That 1964 final against Carnew in Baltinglass was one of the greatest displays given be a Valleymount team in years.
He won a number of Murphy Cup and Corcoran Cup medals in the seventies but had retired before the Club won their next IFC in 1978.
Our sympathy to his bereaved family. BILL STAUNTON RIP
Another great Hurling man to pass to his eternal reward recently was Bill Staunton of Glenealy
Bill played in all grades of Hurling for the Club and had two great days in his career. The Reds won the Senior Hurling Championship in 1971 and again in 1975, and Bill was playing alongside great hurlers of the day like Micky O’Neill, Paddy Berkery, Mick Doyle, Tommy and John Glynn and Don O’Gorman.
Our sympathy to the Glynn family.
Congratulations to Jeffrey Bermingham who is back on the Ireland team for the Hurling/Shinty international.
Ireland play Scotland in the annual matches – Senior and U-21 – in Nowlan Park, Kilkenny on Saturday.
Eire Óg’s rising star Stephen (Chester) Kelly has also got a first call up and should win his first ‘cap’ on Saturday. However the competition for places this year will be stiff. In recent years the panel has been selected mainly from the second level teams but this year they have players like Seán Óg 0 Halpien, Tommy Walsh, Eddie Brennan and Derek Lyng on the panel so making the starting team will not be easy.
At least two of the young Wicklow hurlers, Eoin Mason from Bray Emmets and Ronan Keddy of Kilcoole have been training with the U-21 squad and both have made the panel so it is good news all round for Wicklow hurling. LEINSTER CHAMPIONSHIP DRAW
Wicklow got a reasonable draw in the Leinster Senior Football Championship on Wednesday night. They play Longford in the first round with the winners taking on Westmeath.
However the other teams in that side of the draw are Dublin and Meath.
Longford will be no easy touch – they never are - but they are a team that Wicklow have beaten in the past.
However, they have been operating in a higher division of the League for a number of years which would give them an advantage.
Kildare all star Glen Ryan is their new manager and that could also give the team a boost. Perhaps we should not worry too much about that factor. We still have Micko so it will be a case of the Pupil taking on the Master.
One club that will not be too happy however in Kiltegan. Rumour has it that the man who trained the new County Champions, Jim McGuire, will be going with Glen Ryan to do the training in Longford.