Micko can’t wait for action to get un­der way

Bray People - - Bray People -

MICKO WILL burst a blood ves­sel in short if this bloom­ing ban on train­ing is not lifted.

There is sim­ply no lim­its to this man’s en­ergy and ded­i­ca­tion to a cause – once he has set his sights on an achiev­able tar­get.

In West Wick­low we com­plain if we have to travel to places like Rath­new or Grey­stones to train; in Wick­low town or Kil­coole they whinge when they have the cross the hills in the other di­rec­tion.

Micko will sit into his car in Water­ville and face a five hour drive to Balt­in­glass, Bless­ing­ton or Aughrim, and as he says him­self ‘no bother’.

And re­mem­ber this – Micko NEVER misses a train­ing ses­sion or any other ac­tiv­ity. He never says the weather is bad; the roads are danger­ous.

He could very eas­ily pick up the phone and ring Kevin O’Brien or Phillip McGilly­cuddy and say ‘carry on for tonight I’m not feel­ing the best’.

He is the first at any venue ALL of the time. His en­thu­si­asm is in­fec­tious and rubs off on every­one.

For him a mora­to­rium on train­ing amounts to a jail sen­tence – with soli­tary con­fine­ment thrown in. Hold on Micko, there is only an­other week to go.

PAT ROGERS RIP

The death of Pat Rogers af­ter a very short ill­ness shocked the town of Balt­in­glass and sad­dened Gaelic foot­ball fol­low­ers through­out the county.

Pat’s pass­ing sev­ered a link with the Balt­in­glass team that mate the Se­nior cham­pi­onship break­through in 1958. He was just a teenager at the time and while he did not make the team for the fi­nal he was on the panel.

Pat was part of the great four in a row Mi­nor team that had trig­gered off the great re­vival in the mid fifties. He was an at­tack­ing half­back with a blis­ter­ing turn of speed and courage to go with it. He went on to win a sec­ond SFC medal in 1963 and was on the first great three in a row team in ’65, ’66 and ’67 and got his sixth SFC medal when Balto came back to win the cham­pi­onship in 1971.

Pat also had a spell on the county teams in Ju­nior and Se­nior.

In 1966 he was on a Ju­nior foot­ball team with great play­ers like Jack Fitz­patrick, Wil­lie Cuffe, St Pat’s; Mick Lawlor Kil­mac, Jim Bol­lard and Tommy Humphries, Strat­ford, Rory O’Shea, Carnew, Tom Fo­ley, Dunlavin and his own Balt­in­glass team mates Wil­lie Wall, Matt Finn and Jim Whe­lan

Pat was on the Ju­nior team again in ’68 in strange com­pany such as Ken Browne, Liam O’Lough­lin, Gerry Sin­nott and Of­faly man Har Don­nelly.

The same year he made his Se­nior cham­pi­onship de­but against Car­low – ex­actly ten years af­ter winning his first SFC medal. On that Wick­low team were Tony Nor­ton, Ken Browne, Brian Carthy, Gerry Far­rell, Tom Wall, Jack Kil­bride, Peter Clarke and Pádraig Byrne.

Iron­i­cally that pro­mo­tion to Se­nior ranks may have cost Pat an All-Ire­land Ju­nior medal with Pat Mur­phy’s team the fol­low­ing year.

Pat was a very pop­u­lar mem­ber of the Balt­in­glass com­mu­nity. He lived by the rules and was fit and ac­tive, and at work up to two weeks be­fore his un­timely death. His very big fu­neral to the lo­cal ceme­tery was at­tended by for­mer play­ing col­leagues from teams, Balt­in­glass teams and many clubs in Wick­low.

The Balt­in­glass club pro­vided a guard of hon­our at his re­moval from his home in Ed­ward Street through the town and out­side St. Joseph’s Church, the Green and White jer­sey was placed on the cof­fin.

To his wife Nuala, his son and daugh­ter, his brother John and ex­tended fam­ily we ex­tend our sym­pa­thy.

TOMMY MCCORMACK RIP

The death of Tommy McCormack came as a shock to his fam­ily and many friends in Balt­in­glass and the sur­round­ing area.

The name Tommy McCormack may not ring a bell with foot­ball fol­low­ers, al­though he did play foot­ball in his na­tive Athlone and later in Strad­bally in Laois.

In a way he is unique in get­ting in this col­umn without hav­ing a pedi­gree in Wick­low foot­ball. But Tommy was a very spe­cial man and a very spe­cial friend.

In the ‘40’s when Tommy was serv­ing his time to the tai­lor­ing busi­ness in Strad­bally that lit­tle town was a hot­bed of foot­ball and it was not long be­fore he was part of a great team back boned by the great De­laney fam­ily, Bill, Tom, Chris, Jack, Mor­gan and oth­ers. He got to know ev­ery foot­baller, and hurler in Laois, and in­deed in Le­in­ster and had many sto­ries to tell about all of them. He reg­u­larly cy­cled to venues like Thurles and Lim­er­ick to see hurlers like Mick Mackey and Christy Ring play­ing.

Tommy was a char­ac­ter larger than life. He could liven up any gath­er­ing with his ready wit and great sense of hu­mour and one was never short of a laugh when ‘The Tai­lor’ was around.

He was es­sen­tially a fam­ily man, he adored his late wife Flor­rie and was very proud of his five daugh­ters. The two great mo­ments of his life dur­ing his re­cent ill­ness was first when An­toinette won her black belt in karate and when Marie com­pleted her law stud­ies in Kings Inn and was called to the bar.

To his daugh­ters and ex­tended fam­ily we ex­tend our sym­pa­thy.

SEÁN’S TEAM

The Tomkins broth­ers of Knockananna, Seán and Stephen, must rank amongst the top sup­port­ers of Micko and his team. Stephen was one of the all time great Knockananna and Wick­low foot­ballers.

Stephen played Mi­nor foot­ball for Wick­low in 1954 on a team that in­cluded many up and com­ing foot­ballers like Tom McGee, St. Pat’s; Ken Browne, Balt­in­glass, Harry Fay and Ge­orge Deer­ing, Dunlavin; and Bren­dan Tu­multy, St. Pat’s.

He then moved on to Ju­nior foot­ball with the county (no U-21 in those days) and af­ter a cou­ple of near misses made the first fif­teen in ’57. The great Andy Phillips was on that team (don’t ask me why), Tommy Tutty, Donard; Tom Carr An­nacurra, Matt Reid Val­ley­mount, Harry Fay, Dunlavin; and John Cal­laghan, Forestry.

In­ci­den­tally Cal­laghan has a grand­son – Wayne on Micko’s panel for 09.

In I958 Stephen was a key player on the Ju­nior team that beat Wex­ford in the cham­pi­onship, pat­tern­ing Donal McMa­hon, Forestry at mid­field.

Also on that team were Jim Coates, Dunlavin; Tommy and Peter Clarke, Kil­bride; Andy Cullen, Laragh; and Leo Ahearn, Donard.

That same year the Knockananna man played Se­nior foot­ball for Wick­low on a team that fea­tured Pat ‘Rasher’ Roche, Andy Phillips, Mick Carey, Joe and Ge­orgie Car­roll, St. Pat’s; Johnny Kenny, Balt­in­glass; and Harry Fay, at that time play­ing for Balt­in­glass.

Ar­guably Tomkins’s best year was ’59 when he part­nered Tom McGee at mid­field on a good Wick­low team. Two Rail­way Cup play­ers, Joe Fitz­patrick and Gerry O’Reilly, were on that team, along with Ken Browne, Johnny Kenny, Andy Cullen and Dick Melia.

Enough about Stephen Tomkins for now, back to what trig­gered off all of this which was a let­ter from the sec­ond of the Tomkins broth­ers Seán.

In it Seán has some shrewd ob­ser­va­tions to make about the present state of Wick­low foot­ball and ends with the team that he be­lieves should be tak­ing on Car­low in the O’Byrne Cup on the 4th of Jan­uary – if avail­able..

He starts – If space per­mits in your widely read sports page in the ‘Wick­low Peo­ple’ (keep go­ing Seán, flat­tery will get you any­where), I would ap­pre­ci­ate if you could in­sert the fol­low­ing:

As a keen sup­porter of the county foot­ball team and as the new G.A.A. sea­son is about to kick off, hope springs again eter­nal that the coun- ty might go on and make a ma­jor break­through. There should be no bet­ter mo­ti­vat­ing fac­tor now that Micko is still here with us, I am sure it would give him no bet­ter thrill of his sport­ing ca­reer if Wick­low were to go on and con­test a Le­in­ster ti­tle.

Now a Wick­low team without the mae­stro would be like Hamlet without the prince.

How­ever, when he even­tu­ally de­cides to say his good­byes – which I hope won’t be for years – I’m sure he will take with him happy, and pleas­ant mem­o­ries he had here among the Wick­low hills.

There was one sad oc­ca­sion with the un­timely pass­ing of Ellen Kinch at such a young age – who was in­volved with the county team and a big sup­porter while she was ad­mired by all..

Com­ing now to ‘Peter the Great’ – the voice of the G.A.A. in Wick­low – where his ex­pert knowl­edge and re­port­ing of all G.A.A. games in the county is some­thing else; where like many more are play­ing a part big-time in help­ing to keep the Wick­low flag fly­ing.

I would like if I may, and with re­spect to the pow­ers that be to sug­gest the fol­low­ing team, if avail­able.

M. Travers; C. Hy­land, D. Power, D. O hAn­naidh; A. Byrne, P. McWal­ter, A. Fo­ley; J.Stafford, J.Dal­ton; L. Glynn, T. Hannon, C. Wal­she; P. Earls, S. Fur­long; D. O’Sul­li­van.

THE NANCY O’NEILL MEMO­RIAL CUP

Looking for some­thing to do on St. Stephen’s Day! Well look no fur­ther.

The Nancy O’Neill Mer­mo­rial Cup has now be­come a reg­u­lar fea­ture of life in the South West on the feast of Stephen.

Nancy and her hus­band Nick reared a big fam­ily in Eadestown and so many of her sons, but more par­tic­u­larly her grand sons and ex­tended fam­ily played foot­ball that it was of­ten claimed that they should have a team of their own.

Af­ter her death that be­came a re­al­ity – at least for a day, and ev­ery year at this time the ‘O’Neill Boys’ chal­lenge one of the lo­cal teams for this cup.

The ru­mour is that the wanted to take on the county cham­pi­ons this year but Kil­te­gan were afraid of los­ing their un­beaten record and ‘chick­ened’ out.

Strat­ford, who ran Kil­te­gan so close in the cham­pi­onship stepped in to take their place and now the game goes on in Strat­ford at 2 o’clock on the 26th.

Last year Gail Dunne was the team man­ager but again there is a ru­mour that he could lose his job.

It is also ru­moured that Gavin Wynne will make his come­back to the play­ing field for this match.

There are so many ru­mours do­ing the rounds that I don’t know what to be­lieve.

Best thing to do is head for the Slaneyside vil­lage and see for your­selves.

Pro­ceeds al­ways go to char­ity and this year Balt­in­glass Hospi­tal will be the ben­e­fi­ciary. A draw for do­nated prizes will by held in the Glen Lounge the same night.

OTHER DATES FOR THE DI­ARY

On Satur­day, Jan­uary 24th the Wick­low All Stars will re­ceive their awards at a gala func­tion in the Ark­low Bay Ho­tel. This is al­ways a sell­out so tick­ets should be booked well in ad­vance.

The same week, on Tues­day the 20th, In­de­pen­dent News­pa­pers and the Croke Park Ho­tel will be hon­our­ing all ‘Sports Stars of the Week’ in a func­tion in the Ho­gan Suite in Croke Park.

Seánie Fur­long and Leighton Glynn from Wick­low will be re­ceiv­ing awards.

That will be a spe­cial night as the great writer, broad­caster and TV per­son­al­ity Michael O Muireartaigh will be in­ducted into the ‘Hall of Fame’ and a spe­cial trib­ute to the Leg­end of Sport.

THE YEAR­BOOK

Now that we have got a lit­tle more time to browse through the Year­book we can rec­om­mend it to all fol­low­ers of Gaelic games.

In ad­di­tion to the usual sto­ries from the clubs and other units of the As­so­ci­a­tion you will find bits like ‘A trip down un­der’ - pic­tures brought back from Aus­tralia by Jimmy Donne af­ter the Ire­land v. Aus­tralia In­ter­na­tional Rules se­ries; Donal Cooney tak­ing a look at the weaker coun­ties; a month by month look back at 1978; the Shinty In­ter­na­tion­als and ‘Wick­low’s Mas­ter Marks­man’. In fact that is the main fea­ture in an ex­cel­lent cover pic­ture.

CLUB RE­PORTS AND CAL­EN­DARS

Some ex­cel­lent club re­ports and cal­en­dars have also come to out no­tice this year.

None bet­ter than Ash­ling O’Brien’s re­port to the St. Ni­cholas AGM last week.

The Ccub, which is now de­vel­op­ing into one of the best unites of the as­so­ci­a­tion in the county also pro­duces a very colour­ful cal­en­der which is re­aly a pic­to­rial ac­count of the years work. Ash­ling her­self did the photography.

The county cham­pi­ons Kil­te­gan also brought out a cal­en­dar to cel­e­brate a great year as well as their usual fine an­nual re­port.

In­ci­dently the photography for this cal­en­dar was done by Dave Bar­rett.

The new Kil­bride/Lacken Ju­ve­nile Club also brought out a very colour­ful end of year re­port.

CHRISTY RING ALL-STARS

An­other great night for Wick­low hurl­ing on Fri­day as friends and sup­port­ers gath­ered in the Ho­gan Suite in Croke Park to see the Pres­i­dent Nickey Bren­nan present Jonathan O’Neill with his Christy Ring All Stars award (full story next week).

Mick O’Dwyer

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