Micko continuing to mould Senior panel
Micko has stepped up pressure big time on his panel as he prepares for the resumption of the football league.
Last week he trained on three nights, in Baltinglass on Monday, in Newtown on Wednesday and in Knockananna on Friday. He followed that up with a full match against the U-21 team in Aughrim on Sunday morning.
The good news was the return of some of the injured players. Damien Power got a run at full-forward in the match and had a good half hour; Rory Nolan was back in his old place in the half-back line but still no sign of last years captain Dara O hAnnaidh.
He has started off on much the same schedule this week with training again on three nights and a session again on the Sunday morning.
The match was quite competitive and was won by the Senior side. A late goal and point by newcomer Darragh O’Sullivan put a some what lopsided look on the scoreboard.
Dean Odlum, John McGrath, Pat Brophy, Jacko Dalton and Leighton Glynn were others to share in the scoring.
The Senior team was Billy Norman; Alan Byrne, Alan Nolan, Eoin Keogh; Rory Nolan, Patrick McNicholas, Leighton Glynn; Jacko Dalton, Don Jackman; Paddy Brophy, John McGrath, Seánie Kinsella; Dean Odlum, Damien Power, Darragh O’Sullivan and Dean Siney.
Ciarán Walshe was top scorer for the U-21s with Donie Fitzgerald, Paddy Byrne, Darren Hayden, and Mark Caplis also getting on the scoresheet.
Phillip McGillycuddy rested quite a few of his strong players, mostly because of injury.
The starting team was Rory Breslin; Craig O’Neill, Brendan McGarr, Colm Coogan; Mark Kenny, Brian Osborne, Seán Tobin; Gavin Murray, Cathal McNicholas; Paddy Byrne, Donal Fitzgerald, Shane Carty; Ciarán Walshe, Tomás Kelly. Subs used - Blaine Harmon, Darren Hayden, Ronan Phelan, Paul Cunningham, Barry Murphy, Seán Metcalfe, Ciarán Doyle, Niall Curran and Craig Smullen.
WITH THE HURLERS
‘Titch’ Phelan had a practice match for the Senior hurlers in Bray on Sunday. They played Dublin club Cuala and by using a different team in both halves he managed to give everyone a game.
His first line out was - TJ Byrne; Billy Cuddihy, John Connors, Willie Collins; Tomás Doyle, Eoin O’Neill, Tom Devereux; Jonathan O’Neill, Liam Kennedy; Ronan Keddy, Joe Murphy, Eamonn Furlong; Alan Driver, Jeffrey Bermingham, Andy O’Brien. Colm O’Neill and Christy Moorehouse came on as subs.
Others to play on the team in the second-half were - Ciarán Doyle, Anthony Driver, Peter Kiely, Nick Skelton, Ger Whyte, Denis Moran, Gearoid O Murchu and Michael Connors. This team is out against Mayo in the NHL at Aughrim on Sunday.
GET OUT THE JUVENILES!
Wicklow had a big double-header planned for Aughrim on Sunday with the hurlers taking on Mayo in the National Hurling League at 1.30 to be followed by the quarter-final of the Leinster U-21 Football Championship at 3.15.
Now all that has changed; it appears that Mayo could not agree to bring their match forward to 1.30 so the matches had to be split up with the hurling in Arklow at 2.30 and the football remaining in Aughrim at 3.15.
However, the arrangements to have all juveniles in for free still stands..
County Chairman Andy O’Brien is appealing to ALL clubs to get out their young players to see the action and support their county teams. A bonus for them could be shaking the hand of Mick O’Dwyer and Michael ‘Titch’ Phelan.
To that end the County Board are making tickets and passes available to all clubs.
All you need do is contact the County Board offices in Arklow, tell them your requirements and the tickets will be forwarded to you, free of charge.
All juveniles with a ticket will be allowed in free while a party of ten juveniles with one Adult will be allowed in free.
The Association is celebrating 125 years of service to the community and this offer is expected to be made available on many other occasions.
DONARD/GLEN DINNER DANCE
The three clubs in Donard, the football club, ladies football and camogie combined to stage a joint dinner dance in Germains Hotel, Baltinglass on Friday night.
It was the camogie girls that hogged most of the limelight. They had a great year, winning the Senior championship, the League and the Shield as well as a seven-a-side in Clane.
The footballers won the Keathing Trophy for the first time. All received their medals on the night.
Guests of honour were the County Chairman Andy O’Brien, Ladies Football Board Chairperson Margaret Allen, both incidentally from the local parish, and Kathleen McAlister from the Camogie Board.
Kiltegan are also expecting a sellout for their dinner dance which will be held in the Mount Wolsley Hotel on Saturday the 7th.
The Carlow border club had a record year in 2008, winning the Miley Cup for only the second time in their history and adding two Junior championships for good measure.
The MC for the night will be well known broadcaster Clem Ryan while Arthur French and Andy O’Brien will present the medals. Dunlavin Dinner Dance Dunlavin hold their dinner dance in Germaines Hotel, Baltinglass on Friday night.
This was one of the events that had to be postponed a few weeks ago because of the snow.
However, Secretary Jimmy Whittle believes that this will not effect the attendance and he is still expecting a big crowd.
Two Wicklow camogie clubs, Kiltegan and Ballinacor, took a brave decision to enter a South Leinster Senior League recently. They were in with teams from strong camogie counties like Wexford, Kilkenny, Laois and Carlow and were well aware that they would be punching above their weight but in order to get matches they felt it was their best option.
Both played their first game last week and both were beaten.
Kiltegan, who had a home game against Camross of Laois, were unlucky that their own pitch was under renovation and not available so they had to travel to Ballon in Carlow to play their match on Friday night.
Despite losing the Chairman Simon Murphy way pleased with the performance and felt that this was the only way forward for his team.
Ballinacor were beaten by Mount Leinster Rangers bur Secretary Mark Kinsella told us that they were also pleased with their own display.
Kiltegan are away to Kilkenny side Carrickshock this weekend but Ballinsacor have a bye.
Jerome Kelly tells us that his U-15 Football Development Squad are training every Monday night. Next Monday the squad will be split in two - Brian Whelan will train the boys from West of the hills in Blessington while the East coast section will train in Kilmacannogue.
The U-16 squad has now been finalised and will be announced shortly.
The U-14s have a match coming up this Friday evening, most likely away to Sarsfields of Newbridge.
MARTIN MOLLOY RIP
The sudden death of Martin Molloy last week shocked and saddened his native Rathvilly but also much of Carlow and West Wicklow as well.
Martin was one of the finest footballers of his time. He played for Rathvilly, Clonmore and Carlow for many years. He went to school in Bigstone and at that time played some underage football with Baltinglass.
He was captain of the Clonmore team that brought a first ever Senior football championship to the Hacketstown area in 1955 and was there again when they retained the title in ’56. Martin was also selected on a Leinster Railway Cup team.
Mourners traveled from many parts of Leinster to be present at his funeral in Rathvilly. The coffin was draped in the colours of Carlow, Clonmore and Rathvilly and a guard of honor was provided by members of Carlow County Board, and players, past and present from the county team and from both clubs.
May he rest in peace.
In days of yore it was the unsuccessful team managers that moved on or were replaced at the start of the next season.
In Wicklow we appear to be setting a new trend this year. Last week we told you that Gavin Wynne had departed the scene in Kiltegan after a dream year, surely the best ever for a new manager.
Now we hear that the same had happened in Carnew where Robert Doyle has stood down.
Robert steered the Wexford border club to victory in the Intermediate football championship, a win that puts them back in Senior football once again.
More than that he caused a really big surprise by finishing on top of Division 1 of the SFL to lift the Hill/Opel Cup. He may yet cap it all if his side can beat Newtown in the long delayed final of the Dunne Cup.
However, he has stepped down and will be replaced by prominent Wexford dual player Fran Fitzhenry.
The Duffry Rovers clubman was also appointed as manager at the start of 2008 but had to step aside because of work commitments and making way for Robert.
Fitzhenry will find it difficult to match the fantastic achievements of last year.
Aughrim elected a new chairman in Willie O’Loughlin and now we hear that they have also got a new team manager. Michael (Flash) Byrne makes a return to a club that he managed to win an Intermediate football championship some years ago.
The Kiltegan clubman has plenty of experience and could be just the man to bring Aughrim back to Senior ranks again. Last year’s manager Eugene O’Brien is still involved as a selector.
Down Stratford way Frank O’Niell has taken over from Pat Cronin as manager/trainer.
Pat had completed two of the best years in the history of the Slaneyside club. Under his guidance they won the Intermediate football championship in 2007 and then made a very impressive start in Senior ranks in ’08. The newcomers qualified from their group in the league stages of the championship and were only narrowly beaten be eventual champions Kiltegan in the quarter-final.
Elsewhere Arklow Geraldines/Ballymoney are sticking with the tried and trusted Peter O’Neill for another year. Martin McAndrew is staying on as Chairman and between them they hope to get the seasiders moving in the right direction in 2009.
St. Patrick’s are not for changing either. Casey O’Brien, who failed so narrowly in the big one in ’08, will be leading to way in another bid for glory. The dual county and club star certainly has the credentials to do the job. He has trained teams from his own club before and had a good year with Donard/Glen in ’08.
When it comes to high-profile trainers Eire Og from Greystones have certainly hit the jackpot. Last year they listed the help of Seán Doherty, the Wicklow man who captained Dublin to All-Ireland glory in 1974.
Doherty did not strike gold straight away but the good news is that he will be giving it another try in 2009.
In Newtown things are also looking good. Wicklow town man Gail Dunne was at the helm last year and brought the ‘Magpies’ half way there. He will be giving it another try in the year ahead. They are in the Dunne Cup final and it should not go un-noticed that this was the very competition that Kiltegan used as the launching pad for their successful bid to win the Miley Cup.
Keith Byrne is back training Coolboy after spending last year in charge of his own club Shillelagh. The biggest problem he will find is lack of numbers. More next week
A note from John Timmins to remind everyone that the County Finals of Scór take place in Newtownmountkennedy this weekend.
The date is Saturday, February 28 and John wants everyone to know that because of the nationwide celebrations this year everyone that takes part - winners and losers, will receive special certificates
ST. NICHOLAS CELEBRATE
A mighty evening in the Community Hall in Donard on Sunday as the St. Nicholas Club celebrated a great year in football, hurling and girls football. The hall was packed to capacity with late comers getting no further that the car park.
Leighton Glynn presenting the Division 2 runners-up trophy to Dean Barnes at the Annacurra G.A.A. juvenile presentation.