Mem­o­rable year for Kil­te­gan as they cap­ture three ti­tles

GAELIC GAMES MARK KENNEDY LOOKS BACK ON THE WICK­LOW FOOT­BALL CHAM­PI­ONSHIPS

Bray People - - Sports -

2008 HAS been a mem­o­rable year for the foot­ballers of Kil­te­gan as it was the year that they re­alised their cher­ished dream.

Hav­ing won six hurl­ing Se­nior hurl­ing ti­tles in the 1990s decade and a sev­enth in 2001, the club’s burn­ing am­bi­tion over the last few years has been to bridge the 22year gap to their last Se­nior foot­ball ti­tle.

Two years ago they went into the 2006 fi­nal as the hottest of favourites to ful­fil their dream but in­stead they were am­bushed by a St. Pa­trick’s side that was pow­ered to victory by county star and full­for­ward Paul Earls who ham­mered the painful nails in Kil­te­gan’s cof­fin with a man of the match dis­play and the clinch­ing killer goal.

Then Kil­te­gan were prob­a­bly the ar­chi­tects of their own de­feat too, over-con­fi­dence play­ing a large part in their down­fall.

Even though that de­feat was a shat­ter­ing blow to their morale, Kil­te­gan were de­ter­mined not to let it get the bet­ter of them. They bounced back this year to again reach the Se­nior foot­ball fi­nal which turned out to be a re­peat pair­ing of two years ear­lier as their op­po­nents were again a Paul Earls led St. Pa­trick’s.

Even though Kil­te­gan had been pre­par­ing all year for this day, they must have won­dered if his­tory was about to re­peat it­self, if light­en­ing was go­ing to strike in the same place twice, when Paul Earls snatched a dra­matic equal­is­ing point in their first meet­ing, and again in the re­play as St. Pa­trick’s came out for the sec­ond-half with all guns blaz­ing and Earls again slipped in for a goal and a point.

But Kil­te­gan had learned the lessons of two years ear­lier. They re­sponded to the chal­lenge laid down by Pat’s; and a com­bi­na­tion of tac­ti­cal play by county men Seánie Fur­long and Jacko Dal­ton, plus vet­eran James Doyle step­ping up to the mark in the dy­ing mo­ments to fire over the winning point (0-9 to 1-5) set the scene for a very pop­u­lar win.

At the start of the year, how­ever, Kil­te­gan were not top of every­one’s shop­ping list for 2008 cham­pi­ons. Balt­in­glass, as de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons, were fan­cied to make a bold bid to re­tain the ti­tle with their young and fresh side.

How­ever, the Slaneysiders failed to gel like 12 months ear­lier and they bit the dust at the quar­ter-fi­nal stage, beaten by Thomas Walsh strength­ened Bray Em­mets, who were the fancy of many as were Bless­ing­ton from the west. But as hap­pened so of­ten in the past, Bless­ing­ton and Bray flat­tered to de­ceive and we found once more that their feet were made of clay.

And of course St. Pa­trick’s, un­der the new man­age­ment of Casey O’Brien, could never be dis­missed from the equa­tion. In­deed the Wick­low town lads came ever so close to winning their sec­ond ti­tle in three years, but this time Kil­te­gan showed nerves of steel to cap­ture the Mi­ley Cup.

That Oc­to­ber week­end was an oc­ca­sion of dou­ble cel­e­bra­tions in Kil­te­gan as they also won the Ju­nior A cham­pi­onship ti­tle with a 0-8 to 0-5 win over New­cas­tle in the fi­nal and then capped off a great foot­ball year by also tak­ing sil­ver­ware from the Ju­nior C foot­ball cham­pi­onship as a re­sult of a 1-5 to 0-6 win over Rath­new in that fi­nal.

Three weeks af­ter the county fi­nal, Kil­te­gan’s Se­niors trav­elled to Car­low to take on famed Eire Og in the Le­in­ster Club. Lack­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence of their op­po­nents at Le­in­ster Club level, the Wick­low cham­pi­ons found them­selves 1-4 in ar­rears be­fore the end of the first quar­ter and, no mat­ter how hard they tried there­after, they were never able to re­cover from those early blows.

It was a truly mar­vel­lous year for Kil­te­gan none­the­less. Their Se­nior foot­ballers also fin­ished the divi­sion one league in a top four po­si­tion but they failed to make the Dunne Cup fi­nal, be­ing beaten by New­town, who can­tered to a 1-15 to 0-9 win.

2008 has also been a bril­liant year for the foot­ballers of Carnew.

Robert Doyle has taken over as man­ager of Carnew’s foot­ballers as well as their hurlers and he has shown him­self to be a truly in­spi­ra­tional men­tor off the field as he was a player on the field by lift­ing the foot­ballers to new and dizzy heights in 2008.

Carnew showed they meant busi­ness from the word go. Though only an In­ter­me­di­ate team in cham­pi­onship terms, Carnew hit the ground run­ning in the divi­sion one league, set­ting a blis­ter­ing pace for the pur­su­ing pack of Se­nior sides.

Carnew led the league for much of the year and fit­tingly the des­ti­na­tion of league hon­ours hinged on the re­sult of their fi­nal game against St. Pa­trick’s.

Were Carnew to lose, they would have handed the ti­tle to New­town but true to their form all year they turned in an­other clin­i­cal dis­play to con­vinc­ingly beat the Wick­low town side by 4-8 to 0-7 to take the league hon­ours.

League form meant that Carnew were also hotly fan­cied to win the In­ter­me­di­ate cham­pi­onship and it was no sur­prise when they qual­i­fied for this fi­nal too.

Their op­po­nents were An­nacurra, a team that had suf­fered heart­break in three fi­nals this decade, in­clud­ing los­ing to New­town af­ter a marathon three matches and two pe­ri­ods of ex­tra-time.

In the fi­nal, An­nacurra’s play­ers were left in­con­solable for a fourth time as Carnew came with a late burst that brought a goal and a point to sneak a sin­gle point victory, 1-9 to 0-11. Carnew were ec­static and An­nacurra were dev­as­tated. It’s not over yet for Carnew ei­ther. They have qual­i­fied for the Dunne Cup fi­nal (top four of the league), so there is the prospect of still more sil­ver­ware in the off­ing.

It was not all doom and gloom for An­nacurra, how­ever. Within weeks of their cham­pi­onship de­feat, they bounced back to win the divi­sion two league. For once they got the rub of the green, com­ing from be­hind with a Johnny Thomp­son in­jury-time goal to put the fi­nal against Coolkenno to ex­tra-time where they built up a 1-17 to 0-11 winning mar­gin.

This must surely give them a boost to have an­other go at winning the In­ter­me­di­ate cham­pi­onship in 2009.

There were also other win­ners and losers in 2008, teams that ex­pe­ri­enced ei­ther the ec­stasy of victory or the agony of de­feat.

Other cham­pi­onship win­ners in­cluded: Ju­nior A foot­ball, Kil­te­gan; Ju­nior B foot­ball, New­town; Ju­nior C foot­ball, Kil­te­gan; Mi­nor foot­ball, Bray Em­mets who were com­plet­ing a Mi­nor dou­ble: Keat­ing Cup, Donard-Glen.

Cham­pi­onship pro­mo­tions: In­ter­me­di­ate to Se­nior, Carnew; Ju­nior A to In­ter­me­di­ate, Kil­te­gan; Ju­nior B to Ju­nior A, New­town; Ju­nior C to Ju­nior B, Kil­te­gan.

Cham­pi­onship rel­e­ga­tions: Se­nior foot­ball to In­ter­me­di­ate, Ash­ford; In­ter­me­di­ate to Ju­nior A, Knockananna; Ju­nior A to Ju­nior B, Lacken.

League win­ners: divi­sion one, Carnew; divi­sion two, An­nacurra, divi­sion three, Balt­in­glass, divi­sion four Rath­new (divi­sion four north east, Rath­new; divi­sion four south, Carnew; divi­sion four west, Hol­ly­wood).

League rel­e­ga­tions: divi­sion one, An Tochar and Ballymanus; divi­sion two, Laragh and Kil­macanogue; divi­sion three, Knockananna.

League pro­mo­tions: divi­sion two to divi­sion one, An­nacurra and Coolkenno; divi­sion three to divi­sion two, Balt­in­glass and New­cas­tle; divi­sion four to divi­sion three, Rath­new.

Kil­te­gan cel­e­brate af­ter winning the Se­nior foot­ball cham­pi­onship.

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