Se­lec­tion headaches for mae­stro Micko

Bray People - - Sports -

HAPPY NEW Year Micko! Without any doubt the mae­stro will need a change in for­tunes af­ter hav­ing a wor­ry­ing time over the Christ­mas. Pulling a team to­gether for the first match in the O’Byrne Cup has caused him a few headaches.

What with the ban on train­ing; play­ers out of the coun­try (for how long we don’t know), oth­ers on the in­jury list or un­avail­able the poor man must have had more prob­lems than pud­dings on his plate dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son.

Of the re­vised panel of 46 play­ers which Micko an­nounced in Oc­to­ber some have not made them­selves avail­able and oth­ers who will be avail­able later in the year are out at the mo­ment.

Brian Stafford and Derek Daly are in Aus­tralia; Brian McGrath is club tied; Ciarán Wal­she has been claimed by his col­lege DCU for the O’Byrne Cup and Shield while oth­ers are on the long term in­jury list.

Wick­low are at home to Car­low in the O’Byrne and the venue has been con­firmed as Bless­ing­ton on Sun­day next – the 4th of Jan­uary. It could be a bap­tism of fire for quite a num­ber of the new­com­ers. The lat­est read­ing on his panel is: Def­i­nitely out - Brian McGrath, Damien Power, Derek Daly, Dara O hAn­naidh, Ciarán Wal­she, Paddy Dal­ton, Michael McLough­lin and Pádraig Hig­gins.

Doubt­ful - Mervyn Travers; Billy Nor­man, Rory Nolan, Thomas Walsh, Seánie Kin­sella and Jacko Dal­ton.

New­com­ers avail­able - Alan Nolan (Balt­in­glass); Eoin Keogh, Wayne Cal­laghan, Dean Siney, Paddy Bro­phy (Bless­ing­ton); Stephen Kelly (Eire Og); Frank Clune (An­nacurra); Jonathan Kinch (Bray Em­mets); Stephen Fan­ning (Aughrim); Brian Os­borne (Carnew); Paudge McWal­ter (St. Pa­trick’s).

A safe looking line-out, made up of what­ever play­ers have de­clared them­selves fit could read some­thing like this – Mervyn Travers, Ciarán Hy­land; Alan Nolan or Stephen Kelly, Alan Byrne; Paudge McWal­ter, Eoin Keogh, Leighton Glynn; Two out of three of the Bless­ing­ton men for mid­field – Paddy Bro­phy, An­thony McLough­lin or Gavin Mur­ray; Tony Hannon, John McGrath, Dar­ren Hay­den; Dean Od­lum, Seánie Fur­long and Paul Earls.

That would mean a new full-back; a new cen­tre half back and two new mid­field­ers for starters, and Micko may go even fur­ther. Dar­ren Hay­den is the only U-21 player on that likely list, that is if Gavin Mur­ray does not make the cut.

How­ever, Brian Os­borne from Carnew, who is on the U-21 panel is knock­ing at the Se­nior door; Jonathan Kinch from Bray Em­mets is not far off the pace while one of last years Mi­nors Dean Siney could also get the call. All of the young play­ers im­pressed in the lo­cal cham­pi­onships dur­ing the year.

An­other player to catch the eye in a short run in the Se­nior champi- on­ship was Tommy Kelly from St. Pat’s. How­ever, he is still a Mi­nor and may be ruled out on that score.

It is not easy to say how a team along th­ese lines will gel on their first time to­gether but it would be nice to get the year off to a winning start.

You will have no­ticed from that panel that Bless­ing­ton are the big win­ners this year and ob­vi­ously the team that im­pressed Micko and his se­lec­tors most. They have at least six play­ers in the run­ning for places on the team so per­haps it is not to­tally by chance that the first match of the year is be­ing played in Bless­ing­ton.

Our pre­dic­tion last week that Micko could be leav­ing Water­ville around mid­night on the 31st was not far off the mark. Bless­ing­ton groundskeeper Mick Cur­ran has re­vealed the mae­stro has booked the pitch for his first train­ing ses­sion on the morn­ing of New Years Day. That is just three days be­fore they take on Car­low in the O’Byrne Cup.

It may not a be case of ‘burn-out’ this year – more like ‘roasted alive’.

HAND­BALL

Got my hands on a copy of ‘Top Ace’ , the Ir­ish Hand­ball an­nual and the Wick­low page makes in­ter­est­ing read­ing.

From it we gather that the Wick­low Al­ley Cats were purring nicely in 2008.

The Cool­boy club were again go­ing strong and had win­ners, at county, Le­in­ster and even na­tional and in­ter­na­tional level

Con­grat­u­la­tions to Richard Wil­loughby who has been ap­pointed man­ager of the Ire­land Ju­nior team who are head­ing off across the At­lantic this week. Richard is one of the top hand­ball coaches in Ire­land and puts in a colos­sal amount of time and ef­fort into pro­mot­ing the game at all lev­els.

Shauna Hil­ley, one of the ris­ing stars of Ladies Hand­ball reached no less than five All-Ire­land fi­nals this year, winning her All Ire­land medal in the 40 x 20 Mi­nor sin­gles. She was also awarded the Wick­low ‘Hand­baller of the Year’ for the sec­ond time.

Pa­tri­cia Doyle, the G.A.A. Hand­ball all star of the year was also up among the na­tional win­ners. She part­nered Shauna in the All-Ire­land Se­nior 60 x 30 fi­nal be­fore go­ing on to will All-Ire­land ti­tles with cousin Stacy Doyle in the 40 x 20 ju­nior dou­bles. Pa­tri­cia also win the Ladies 60 x 30 In­ter­me­di­ate sin­gles and the Ir­ish Na­tional Ladies B ti­tle.

It was not all about the ladies game, the lads had their day in the sun as well.

Keith Ka­vanagh won Le­in­ster ti­tles on both courts. In his de­but year in colleges hand­ball he won ti­tles in the 60 x-40 and the 30 x 20 courts

He also added the boys U-16 One Wall Na­tional ti­tle to his col­lec­tion.

In Feile na nGael the Cool­boy team of Wayne Kin­sella, Stephen Barnes, Daniel Curry, Aaron Kin­sella and Con­nor Hill did well to reach the na­tional semi-fi­nals with Doyle claim­ing the run­ner-up place in the Boys Divi­sion 4 skills.

Daniel Curry and Aaron Kin­sella also won the Le­in­ster U-11 60 x-40 dou­bles fi­nal.

The Cool­boy club also won the Le­in­ster 40 x 20 Se­nior and Ju­nior Club Cham­pi­onships. The Se­nior team was Michael Gre­gan, Oran Quale, Johnny Wil­loughby and Richard Wal­she.

Jerome Wil­loughby won the Le­in­ster 40 x-20 Ju­nior Sin­gles and then joined up with Christo­pher Doyle, James Gre­gan Michael Len­non and Pat Doyle to win the Le­in­ster Ju­nior ti­tle.

One of the most re­mark­able achieve­ments of all was achieved by Tom Walsh of Bray.

Tom ended his three years as Pres­i­dent of the Hand­ball As­so­ci­a­tion last match and was back in the al­ley to part­ner Paddy Len­non of Cool­boy to reach the All-Ire­land fi­nal of the Ruby Mas­ters A Dou­bles in Au­gust.

Ark­low too had much to cel­e­brate in 2008. Ed­mund Rice and John Quinn won the Le­in­ster 40x20 dou­bles Mas­ters dou­bles; Quinn also won a Le­in­ster 60x30 open Mas­ters ti­tle while Rice was a run­ner up in Mas­ters B fi­nal.

This is not in­tended to be a com­plete list of who won what in Wick­low Hand­ball in 2008 – just a few of the snip­pets we picked out from the re­port.

Hand­ball, it ap­pears is go­ing from strength in the county. Just re­cently we read of moves afoot to re­store the old al­ley in Ti­na­hely, bring back the club and hope­fully pro­duce an­other Joe Cleary in the not too dis­tant fu­ture.

They have also a new 40 x 20 court in An­namoe, the ‘Al­ley un­der the Bridge’ we used to call it.

Now we here that moves are afoot to have the Bray Em­mets Al­ley re­placed and hope­fully also do some­thing about Balt­in­glass.

HUGH KENNY

Wick­low’s di­rec­tor of Coach­ing Hugh Kenny has taken up a new job as trainer of Newbridge Club Sars­fields. The ‘Sash’ is one of the strong­est clubs in Kil­dare and are rarely out of the top four. Hugh, who was one of Seán Boylan’s se­lec­tors with the Ire­land team in the In­ter­na­tional Rules se­ries this year could be just the man to give Sars­fields the fi­nal push.

Iron­i­cally the new Balt­in­glass man­ager is a Sars­fields man Ray O’Sul­li­van, so as they say ‘fair ex­change is no rob­bery’. Bord na nOg Hol­ly­wood girl Emma Burke is the new Bord na nOg PRO. She re­places Pat Mitchell who has taken up the new post of Ra­dio Of­fi­cer.

The Board held their first meet­ing just be­fore Christ­mas and new Chair­man Damien Byrne was quite pleased with the turn out.

The main pur­pose of the meet­ing was to launch Martin Barnes new fix­tures plan for 2009. There was a good de­bate on the plan and again Martin was pleased enough with the re­sponse from the clubs.

Next step is a meet­ing with the of­fi­cers of the District Boards with a view to stream­lin­ing the whole fix­tures struc­tures.

Next meet­ing of the Board in on Jan­uary 26.

CAMOGIE

Camogie in Kil­te­gan looked to be head­ing for bad times re­cently

A great bunch of girls that had brought ten Se­nior cham­pi­onships to the area were com­ing near the ‘sell by’ date and even of­fi­cers to run the club were get­ting hard to find.

How­ever, one of the new of­fi­cers who does not share in the gloom is the U-16 man­ager Pat Lee.

Pat be­lieves in keep­ing the action go­ing at all cost. He erected a tent on the Square in Balt­in­glass at the week­end and had his girls out host­ing a Christ­mas cake sale, meet­ing their fol­low­ers and sup­port­ers and gen­er­ally spread­ing the mes­sage that camogie is a great game and is avail­able to every­one. Girls we noted on the stand in­cluded Michelle Far­rell, Laura Burke, Pippa Lee, Jen­nifer Jack­son, Seren Pol­lard and Anya Pol­lard

The mes­sage - camogie in the area is alive and well.

NANCY O’NEILL CUP

A big crowd basked in the lovely win­ter sun­shine at the pic­turesque Strat­ford pitch on St. Stephen’s day to watch the lo­cal team do bat­tle with the O’Neill Boys for the Nancy O’Neill Memo­rial Cup. Af­ter los­ing the cup to Donard a year ago it was ru­moured that high pro­file man­ager Gail Dunne, brought in at enor­mous cost, could like Ger­ard McCarthy lose his job, if not his head. Happy to re­port that Gail sur­vived and so did the ‘Boys’

So the cup is back home in Eadestown, or should that be Neil­stown.

Also happy to re­port that the ref­eree John White was also num­bered among the sur­vivers at the fin­ish – but only just..

On the Strat­ford side they were claim­ing that he couldn’t count and did not keep tabs to the num­ber of subs Gail had used.

On the other side the ‘Boys’ sup­port­ers claimed that he was a ‘home town ref’ and gave the lo­cal team two late pelal­ties, which in fact should have been go­ing the other way.

All is well that ends well; the starstud­ded ‘O’Neill Boys’ team with at least ten cur­rent or for­mer county play­ers on board won the cup on a score of 1-14 to 3-7. Every­one re­ceived medals, and that in­cluded the ref­eree and all ad­journed to the Glen Lounge for re­fresh­ments and to com­plete the fundrais­ing end of the ex­er­cise.

All pro­ceeds went to Balt­in­glass Hospi­tal.

Help­ing out at the cake sale in aid of Kil­te­gan Camogie Club.

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