Clash of the titans
PREVIEW PETER KEOGH LOOKS FORWARD TO THIS WEEK’S GAMES
COUNTY CHAMPIONS Glenealy put their title on the line when they take on old rivals Carnew in the final of the Dooley Poynton SHC at Aughrim on Sunday.
This showpiece of the hurling year has all the ingredients for a thriller.
Between them this pair have dominated the Wicklow championship in this decade – dividing the titles evenly between them since Kiltegan won their last championship in 2001.
Players from both clubs also dominate the county teams in all grades and all, or most of the big names in the county come from one or other club.
Jonathan O’Neill of Glenealy was John Mitchell’s top scorer this year, and indeed he has been for a number of years. Jonathan who won a Dublin SHC medal with Cula, has in fact also played for Dublin.
On the Carnew side you have Don Hyland, the only Wicklow man to win Railway Cup medals. Don was also capped for Ireland in the Hurling/Shinty internationals last year.
So no matter what the result on Sunday you are likely to find this pair high up on the scoresheet.
Finals are seldom won by individuals and this one will be no exception. Glenealy will be without another of their stars Leighton Glynn but they had no trouble in beating Kiltegan in the semi-final without him.
They have other strong players in the Driver brothers; Michael John and Michael Anthony O’Neill, Enan Glynn and the ever-improving Hollywood man Phillip Dunne.
On the Carnew side look out for Joe Murphy, Timmy Collins, Liam Kennedy, the Doran brothers and up and coming players like TJ Hennessy and Brian Osborne
Of the eight championships played since the turn of the century Carnew have won four and Glenealy three.
In 2000 Carnew beat Glenealy – 2-9 to 0-9 to win their 15th and pass out Avondale at the top of the table. 2001 was Kiltegan’s year and they beat Glenealy in the final – 0-16 to 0-14. In ‘02 it was a St. Patrick’s who made it to the final against Carnew. The first match ended in a draw – Carnew 1-10; St. Pat’s 1-10; Carnew won the replay – 2-12 to 1-5.
Glenealy were back in ‘03 to take on the champions - winning by 1-10 to 1-7. In ‘04 it was the turn of Carnew to bring home the O’Donoghue Cup beating Glenealy again by 0-16 to 1-8. 2005 saw Glenealy turn the tables again – winning by 1-11 to 0-6. Carnew were back again in ‘06 to stop Glenealy on a score of 2-8 to 0-11.
In ‘07 Carnew missed out the final for the first time in six years but Glenealy won their ninth title – beating Kiltegan in the final – 4-16 to 3-14. So no final in this decade without one or other of the teams in it.
So far in this decade Carnew have won four titles to three for Glenealy. Can the reds balance the books this time?
This one will be very close, perhaps too close to call.
Glenealy will be slight favourites, but only because they are the holders. Since beating Kiltegan in a high scor- ing final a year ago they have lost Wayne O’Gorman, one of their top scorers and now with Leighton Glynn out they will not have the same scoring power. Last year it was Leighton’ s brother Enan who stepped in to the breach, scoring three goals that went a long way towards sinking Kiltegan. Can Enan do it again or will one of the young players that Michael Neary has been tutoring step in to fill the void. Alan Driver had a great game against Kiltegan and could be the man for the big occasion. Or could it be Thomas Doyle or that great veteran Michael Anthony: One thing is certain Jonathan O’Neill will keep popping over the points but have Glenealy a real goal-grabber up front? That could be the deciding factor in this match.
If Michael Neary had Glenealy flying than the same can be said for Robert Doyle.
The big difference is that Carnew missed out on a lot of hurling training because of the need to stick at the football.
But Carnew who have already won the IFC are on a high; they are going for the double and will be very hard to stop. Don Hyland, Joe Murphy and Timmy Collins will be hard to hold and they could have a new goal grabber in Seánie Kinsella. Graham Keogh has made a great recovery after that bad accident at work – but will he be fully match fit? That is just one of the many questions that makes this final hard to call.
It’s a very open final and could go either way.
I have a slight fancy for Robert Doyle’s team who are chasing he double.
Bray Emmets must be fancied to win the Billy Byrne Cup for the first time in the curtain-raiser. A year ago they made the final only to be beaten by Kilcoole.
Arklow Rocks will make them fight all the way. They too had a good year without finding much young talent but they worked hard and would love to end the year on a winning note.
It should be a good battle and provide worthwhile entertainment for the early comers.
The Jubilee Team
The team to be honoured with the Arklow Bay/Brian Brennan trophies before the big match will be the Avondale heroes of 1983. They beat Kilcoole in the final that year to bring back the cup to Rathdrum for the 14th time.
KEATING TROPHY FINAL
The weekend kicks off with an all west final of the Keating Trophy at Baltinglass.
Ne ighbours Donard/Glen and Hollywood will clash for the first time in years in a major final and are sure to bring a big crowd to Baltinglass.
On champioship form Donard would have to fancy their chances but Hollywood have made vast improvements in recent League matches.
It will be close but the silken skills of Tony Hannon may just enough to tip the scale in Hollywood’s favour .
Newcastle will be the first Wicklow team out in the club championship. They take on Killeshin of Laois in the Junior grade at Crettyard on Sunday.
John Keogh of Kiltegan tries to shake off Gary Byrne and Philip Dunne of Glenealy during the Senior hurling championship semi-final.