Micko can’t wait for action to get under way
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.
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.
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).