Micko happy to return with a point
SURVIVAL IN Casement Park and a point on the board was enough to keep Micko and his merry men happy at the weekend.
The maestro knew he was in trouble even before he headed north. He had to pull a team together without as many as six of the defenders from last year; both of his midfielders and some forwards.
He will still be without Damien Power, Dara O hAnnaidh, Paddy Dalton and Brian McGrath for a while yet but Mick McLoughlin is back in training and Rory Nolan is recovering well from his ankle injury and expects to be back inside a month.
The best he can hope for with midfielders Thomas Walsh and James Stafford is to have them back for the championship.
However, a point out of the Anderstown venue is a good result at any time and he told the assembled media outside the dressing rooms that he was happy with the result and with the second-half display.
‘The lads had a long journey, some of them would be out from early morning and it took them time to settle. However when they found their feet they played quite well and in the end a draw was a fair result.’
WITH THE HURLERS
Michael’Titch’ Phelan and his two selectors, Martin Barnes and Eugene Byrne are losing no time in sorting out their panel and preparing for their first match in the National Hurling League.
On Wednesday night they had a trial match against Carlow IT in the College grounds in Carlow
Despite the fact that the Carnew clubmen were absent because of the death of colleague Niall Fleming the turn-out was good.
After a competitive enough match the Wicklow team ran out winners by 3-9 to 1-11.
Kilcoole Minor Fintan Donnolly, who usually plays out field got a run in goal and did quite well. Cuala clubman Eoin Dunne got a run at full-forward and finished up top scorer with 2-1. Ger White and John Keogh were back for their first run while Ronan Keddy was testing out his injured leg.
The team that played the first-half was: Fintan Donnolly (Kilcoole); Colm O’Neill (Glenealy), Jim Connors (St. Pat’s), Ciarán Doyle (Kiltegan); Peter Kiely (Bray Emmets); Eoin O’Neill (Kiltegan), Tony Kinsella (ARP); Jonathan O’Neill (1-3, Glenealy), Ronan Keddy (Kilcoole); Eamon Furlong (0-1, Bray Emmets), Jeffrey Bermingham (Kiltegan), Denis Moran (0-1, Buffers Alley); Adrian Keogh (Kiltegan), Eoin Dunne (2-1, Cuala), Anthony Driver (0-1, Glenealy).
Players who came on in the secondhalf included: John Keogh (Kiltegan), John Connors, Michael Connors and Chris Kavanagh ( 0-2, St. Pat’s), Thomas Doyle (Glenealy); Christy Moorhouse and Gerard O Murchu (Bray Emmets), James Kelly and Peter Keane (Eire Og), Ger White and Eoin Maher.
Unavoidably absent were Alan Driver (Glenealy), John Harper and Keith Barnes (ARP); Andy O’Brien (St. Pat’s) and Eoin Mason (Bray Emmets).
Martin Barnes hopes to have the football tied Stephen Kelly back on the panel before long.
‘Titch’ had another good turnout for training on Sunday morning and the reports are that the pitch in Arklow in now in great shape.
However, he will still have his work cut to pull a team to gather for the start of the League.
Phillip McGillycuddy had another stiff work-out for his U-21 footballers on Tuesday.
They took on a strong Wexford side in a practice match at Roundwood and won by 3-13 to 2-9.
The Bray Emmets goalkeeper Rory Breslin got a full match between the posts and in the absence of Brandan McGarr, Craig O’Neill from KIlmacanogue got a full game at No. 3.
O’Neill had been on the injured list and his return is another boost for the team.
Another of the injured players Colm Coogan of Ballymanus also got a game and showed no ill effects from his recent lay-off.
Paul Cunningham and Shane Carty were not available but most of the other members of a 29 strong panel were present.
That is likely to be Phillip’s last match ahead of their meeting with Longford in Pierce Park, Longford on Sunday.
The team that lined out against Wexford was as follows: Rory Breslin (Bray Emmets); Colm Coogan (Ballymanus), Craig O’Neill (Kilmac), Ciarán Doyle (St. Pat’s); Seán Metcalfe (Dunlavin), Craig Smullen (Eire Og), Anthony McLoughlin (Blessington ); Blaine Harmon (Kiltegan), Cathal McNicholas (Newtown); Darren Hayden (Eire Og), Donal Fitzgerald (Ashford), Seán Tobin (St. Pat’s); Diarmuid Cronin (Stratford), Dean Siney (Blessington) and Tom Kelly (St. Pat’s).
Michael Byrne and his selectors Francis Stephenson, Tim Balfe and Syl Ivers had a trial for Minor hurlers in Kilcoole on Sunday morning.
They were quite pleased with a turn-out of players from five clubs - Bray Emmets, Eire Og, St. Patrick’s, Glenealy and Carnew.
They have planned another trial for the Arklow Rocks pitch on Sunday morning and other clubs are asked to bring along players.
JOE TIMMINS RIP
The sad news of the death of Joe Timmins broke at the weekend.
Joe had been unwell for a short time but his death in Tallaght hospital on Friday shocked and saddened, not just his own family but Gaelic football followers everywhere.
Joe was one of the all time greats of Wicklow football. He grew up and learned his football in Annacurra, won an Intermediate championship with the famous club in 1953 when they beat Baltinglass in the final.
He was one of the few to play Minor for Wicklow for three successive years - ’49 ,50 and ’51 and was playing Senior football while still a teenager. He played on the Wicklow team on that never to be forgotten day of the ‘long count’ against Meath in ’54. He played his last Senior game for Wicklow in 1956 before transferring to play for Dublin and along with his brother John played a big part in helping them to win the All-Ireland final in 1958.
His remains were removed from his home in Clondalkin to the local church on Monday evening while burial took place in Saggart on Tuesday.
His coffin was draped in the Wicklow and Dublin colours while there was a huge turn-out of mourners from both counties and far beyond.
The Annacurra G.A.A. Club put on a bus to take the crowd from the parish where he spent so many happy years and officers of the Wicklow and Dublin County Boards were in attendance. To his wife Betty, his sons, daughters and extended family we tender our sincere sympathy. May he rest in peace. Our sympathy also to the Barnes and Breen families of Arklow on the death of Esther Breen. Her daughter Martina is the wife of Coaching and Games Officer Martin Barnes.
Not too often do we get the chance to bring good news on the refereeing front.
The news has just broke that Eddie Craul has been appointed to referee the All-Ireland Junior club final in Croke Park on February 14.
Eddie will be bringing along four of his regular umpires and has chosen Tom McKeown, John Finnegan, Pat Reid and Shay McGrath to do the job.
All are delighted to get exposure in ‘Croker’ and everyone is hoping this will lead on to greater things.
It is some time not since a Wicklow man has refereed an All-Ireland final at any level and we all wish Eddie luck on the day
Incidentally this will be a busy weekend for the Kilbride whistler and his men.
On the next day (Sunday) Eddie will be refereeing the Carlow v. London game in the NFL.
All of which reminds me to send best wishes for a speedy recovery to Eddie’s father Jimmy Craul who is in Naas Hospital at the moment
A reminder from Scór Secretary John Timmins that the Wicklow Scór finals will be coming up at the end of this month.
John believes the interest in the social side of the organization is growing again. He has had a number of inquiries and requests for rule books with he regards as a good sign.
Getting down to work is the next step, because it does take some time to prepare properly for any competition.
After all, he says, a club would not go out in the first round of the championship without training.
Again he wishes to remind clubs that they can now enter in just one category and take part.
So don’t tell me that you can’t get three knowledgable people to make up a Question Time team, or someone to sing a bar of a song or do a recitation?
The finals takes place in Newtown on February 28.
REVIEW GROUP REPORT
Last week we took a look at the report presented by Hugh O’Brien, Chairman of a special Review Committee set up by County Chairman Andy O’Brien.
Because of past experiences of commissions and how their reports were dealt with, and reservations expressed by this group when passing on a copy of the report we believe that sometimes it is not enough to take action, but to let everyone see what action has been taken.
Last week we gave you the background to the need for such a group, the membership of the group, and how they went about their task.
This week we propose to go through their Terms of Reference and take a look at one or two of their recommendations, and what response was forthcoming from the Board. Terms of reference: (1) To assess and evaluate all competitions in both adult and underage level at both Club and inter-county level and make recommendations for improvements.
(2) To review the link between the clubs and schools within the county and to review how best improvements can be made.
(3) To investigate how club boundaries affect the development in both rural and urban areas and to make recommendations on any proposed change.
(4) To examine the underage structures within the county to insure all young people are being catered for at each age level.
(5) To review the underage coaching structures within the county and to bring forward suggestions that would enhance the development of the games. Structures: The first recommendation the group made was on Juvenile Structures.
Having noted the many people that were giving so much of their time in helping to promote Hurling and Football at club and county level - much of the work carried out away from the spotlight, they identified one glaring weakness in the set up - a total lack of cohesion (rather then cooperation) between the activities of each group within the underage sector. Recommendations: (1) That the County Board set up a Games Development and Coaching Committee with responsibility for providing a cohesive approach to the developement of Gaelic Games up to and including Minor Level
(2) The composition of this Committee to be -
(3) Games development officer to act as Chairman and be for Hurling or Football as appropriate. (4) Youth Officer to act as Secretary. (5) One Rep from - Primary Schools; Post Primary Schools; Coiste na nOg plus the Games Development Administrator; Leinster Hurling Development Officer and one co-ordinator from Football Development squads and hurling squads.
Happy to be able to report that this recommendation was acted on and Martin Coleman presented the first report to County Convention in November.
Next week we will find out what the Group has to say about Cumann na mBunscol and how it is operating.
More good news at the weekend as Brian Brennan confirmed that the Brennan Hotels sponsorship of the Minor and U-21 football teams would continue for another year.
In the present economic climate that was just the news that Andy O’Brien and County Treasurer Eamon O’Keeffe were waiting for.
Club support and development officer Micharel O’Sullivan has indoor hurling up and running in the West Wicklow area for the first time ever.
This latest initiative is taking place in St. Kevin’s Post Primary School in Dunlavin each Monday night from 7.15 to 9 o’clock.
Five West Wicklow clubs, Blessington, Michael Dwyers, St. Kevin’s, St. Nicholas and Stratford are taking part as well as Ballymore from Kildare.
Two age groups, U-10 and U-12 are involved and all players are guaranteed matches on the night.
Michael is also conducting Fundamental Skills courses in the Primary Schools in the area at present. This is a three-week course and the idea is that when the course is over the local club will take over from there.
This week the action is in Baltinglass, Dunlavin and Donard.
Arthur French and Andy O'Brien present T.J. Hennessy of Carnew with the Minor hurler award at the Wicklow G.A.A. Garden County awards in the Arklow Bay Hotel recently.