WHILE MICK O'Dwyer did not get the win he was hop­ing for in Brewster Park on Sun­day, he was more than happy to see his de­pleted team of 13 fight back to get a draw in the end.

It means that Wick­low have now reached the half way stage in the League still un­beaten and have dropped only two points along the way.

That leaves them in a nice po­si­tion to push on for League glory or pro­mo­tion or both.

The sec­ond half will be even tougher with matches against pace-set­ters like Long­ford and the Con­nacht cham­pi­ons Roscommon still to come.

How­ever, we have three of our last four matches at home and our only away match is against Kilkenny and that is not too far away.

So it would ap­pear that pro­mo­tion is ours to win or lose at this stage.

Micko was very happy with the form dis­played by two of his in­jured play­ers, James Stafford and Ciarán Hy­land on Sun­day, while Pa­trick McWal­ter con­tin­ues to make progress and joined the ac­tion late in the day.

In fact it was his ex­pe­ri­ence and cool head that saved the game in the clos­ing min­utes.

It was a case of hav­ing the right man in the right place as Wick­low put on the pres­sure for that equal­is­ing point. For any­body won­der­ing about the Mayo man Austin O'Mal­ley, that is sup­posed to be join­ing Micko's panel, the up to date news is that his trans­fer re­quest came be­fore Le­in­ster Coun­cil on Satur­day evening in Long­ford and his trans­fer from St. Vin­cent's in Dublin to St Pa­trick's in Wick­low Town was sanc­tioned.

How­ever, no con­tact be­tween the Mayo man and Mick O'Dwyer has been made so far.

With the hurlers

Casey O'Brien's men had a week­end off and got a well earned rest but they will have to make up for it next week when they have their stiffest task to date.

They travel to Ruis­lip to take on what is re­garded as a very strong Lon­don team with a num­ber of ex­pe­ri­enced and tal­ented play­ers on board.

It looks at this stage as if the team could be short of key play­ers like cen­tre half back Liam Kennedy who picked up a bad enough ‘dead leg’ in­jury in the match against Meath in Pairc Tail­teann and one of their top scor­ers Andy O'Brien who is still re­cov­er­ing from a ham­string in­jury picked up against Kil­dare in Ark­low.

Both have been get­ting treat­ment over the past week and Casey is keep­ing his fin­gers crossed that he may at least get some game time from one or the other or prefer­ably both.

To have any chance of get­ting a re­sult in Ruis­lip, Casey needs to be at or close to full strength.

Get well

Our sin­cere good wishes goes to great young Wick­low foot­baller John McGrath who is ill in hos­pi­tal at the mo­ment.

He played in Wick­low's match against Lon­don in Aughrim on Sun­day week but only days later was di­ag­nosed with a se­ri­ous ill­ness.

By the Thurs­day of last week his treat­ment had started and we all hope and pray that that will be suc­cess­ful. He was sorely missed in En­niskillen on Sun­day and in fact the whole team were in a state of shock af­ter hear­ing the news.

Let’s hope that John will make a speedy re­cov­ery and be ready to join his team mates in many more bat­tles on the foot­ball field.

Where are they now?

The men in the pic­ture were of course the great An­nacurra team of 1931 and straight away we will give you the names as we got them from the first GAA his­tory of Wick­low, com­piled by County Chair­man of the day C.M. Byrne and Wick­low Peo­ple Jour­nal­ist P.J. Noo­nan and pub­lished in 1935.

Front: l to r - Owen Doyle, John Moules, John Doyle, Kevin Mul­hall (mas­cot), Wm Dev­ereux, Mau­rice Fitzger­ald, Jim Mul­hall.

2nd row - Jer Kehoe (Sec), Ter Carty, Ml Doyle, James Mi­ley, Peter Lawlor, Tom O'Brien.

Back row - Ml Byrne, Pa­trick Kennedy, Ml Carty (Capt), Rev Fr Ka­vanagh C.C., Syd­ney Breen, Rev Fr Carty C.C. (Pres­i­dent), Ger Kennedy, Michael O'Reilly.

Sheila Con­nolly, my neigh­bour from Hack­et­stown was first in with a cor­rect an­swer, and why shouldn't she? It turned out that Peter Lawlor was her un­cle.

Of course Peter's son Michael be­came fa­mous as a Kil­mac and Wick­low foot­baller in the '60's but even more so as a politi­cian.

Sheila was also the first to name the mas­cot who she says was Kevin Mul­hall, a nephew of the goal­keeper.

I met a Knock­ananna man who told me that the fi­nal that year was played in O'Keefe's field in the Back Bawns in Knock­ananna.

Pat Mitchell came in with even more in­for­ma­tion. He gave us the score which was An­nacurra 2-2; Hol­ly­wood 11.

How­ever, Pat also added that an ob­jec­tion fol­lowed, a re­play was or­dered and that was not played un­til June of the fol­low­ing year in Balt­in­glass, most likely Ward's Bog, when An­nacurra again won by 0-4 to 1-0.

While there is no men­tion of a re-fix­ture in the old his­tory book, it must be cor­rect be­cause the lat­ter is the score listed in the records sec­tion of the 'Leathers Echo'.

Ac­tu­ally a for­mer Wick­low Cap­tain Noel Carty from Ash­ford who also named the team cor­rectly con­fessed to get­ting the facts from the same book.

Ann Byrne from An­nacurra was the first to name the full team and told me that her un­cle Jim Mul­hall was the goal­keeper on the team.

Of course Ann's son Alan is a star de­fender on Micko's team. Kevin Sta­ple­ton was also in with the an­swer and the full An­nacurra team and also men­tioned that Jim Mul­hall was Alan Byrne's grand­uncle.

Tom Gre­gan from Coolboy and Ned Doyle, An­nacurra also sup­plied us with cor­rect an­swers.

In our build-up to this pic­ture last week we said that not too many will ring to tell us they re­mem­ber see­ing that team play­ing.

How­ever, one man who ac­tu­ally played in that fi­nal of 1931, Joe Deer­ing of Hol­ly­wood, passed away less than a year ago and his mem­ory of all things to do with foot­ball, in­clud­ing that fi­nal, was per­fect right up to the end.

Matt Byrne - from gate­man to Na­tional Pres­i­dent

Yes, Matt Byrne, foot­baller, hand­baller, hurler and ad­min­is­tra­tor ex­traor­di­naire was the man pic­tured in last week's pa­per.

No man, they say, is a prophet in his own land and true enough Matt, de­spite his record of ser­vice in Wick­low and be­yond, had to await im­mor­tal­ity un­til Le­in­ster Coun­cil hon­oured him by call­ing their main foot­ball competition out­side of the Cham­pi­onship af­ter him.

The ad­vent of the O'Byrne Competition each year brings a host of en­quiries about the man it is named af­ter. It was an hon­our well de­served.

What brought up the sub­ject at this point in time is the fact that a Wa­ter­ford man, Humphrey Kelle­her is writ­ing a book on the Cups and Tro­phies of the GAA and their back­ground.

When that book comes out I be­lieve you will find that Matt Byrne's record of ser­vice will not be out of place be­side that of oth­ers like Sam Maguire, Liam Mc­Carthy, Bob O'Ke­effe or any of the rest

Matt Byrne was a na­tive of Balt­in­glass, Co. Wick­low and was deeply in­volved in GAA ac­tiv­i­ties at many lev­els all of his long life.

He be­came the first Sec­re­tary of the Mau­rice Davins GAA Club in Balt­in­glass in 1886 and was prob­a­bly the youngest del­e­gate at the first Wick­low Con­ven­tion held in the town hall Wick­low in 1886. He played foot­ball, was an ex­cel­lent hand­baller and also played hurl­ing.

He was County Reg­is­trar for over 40 years and Wick­low's rep­re­sen­ta­tive on Cen­tral Coun­cil and Le­in­ster Coun­cil for many years.

Matt was not just an of­fice holder but a ded­i­cated worker at ground level and one of the jobs he was in­volved in for Le­in­ster Coun­cil was gate man and checker.

He was known to col­lect men like Tom Whe­lan, Rath­dan­gan, a brother of the late Peter Whe­lan, Tommy Doyle, Tuck­mill, known as ' Tom of the Lough' and oth­ers from dif­fer­ent parts of Wick- low on a Sun­day morn­ing and bring them to venues at dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions in Le­in­ster to work as gate­men.

He was gen­er­ally the main checker and was of­ten en­trusted with the job of se­cur­ing the tak­ings be­fore leav­ing for home.

He was very highly re­garded by the Coun­cil and when they were set­ting up new com­pe­ti­tions to sup­ple­ment the Cham­pi­onship and to raise funds for the play­ers' in­jury fund in the early 1950's, they named the Foot­ball Cup in his hon­our.

Matt, a Na­tional School teacher, was also Pres­i­dent of the Ir­ish Hand­ball Coun­cil.

That is just a brief and far from com­plete glimpse of a great Wick­low man who very def­i­nitely left foot­prints in the sands of time.

This week's pic­ture should - we hope - at least slow down the pun­ters. We can tell you that it is not a cham­pi­onship win­ning team but in past years there were other things to play for be­sides the cham­pi­onship.

Have a shot at nam­ing the team or some of the play­ers in it.

An­swers as usual to pe­terkeogh­ or 087-6907589.

Noel Staunton R.I.P.

The death of Noel Staunton af­ter a two year fight against ill­ness shocked Gael­dom in Wick­low.

Noel was a great GAA man and was in­volved in hurl­ing, foot­ball and camogie for most of his life.

Af­ter his wife Ann and fam­ily his great love in life was hurl­ing. His col­lec­tion of hurl­ing cham­pi­onship medals takes some beat­ing.

He won Mi­nor in 1964; Ju­nior in 1971 and Se­nior in 75 with his na­tive Gle­nealy.

Af­ter mar­ry­ing Ann and mov­ing to live in West Wick­low he com­pleted his 'grand slam' by win­ning the In­ter­me­di­ate Cham­pi­onship with Kil­te­gan in 1981.

He was top scorer for the club with 714 that year.

In a strange twist of for­tune he won his first hurl­ing cham­pi­onship in the U14 grade, beat­ing St Te­gan's (Kil­te­gan) in the fi­nal in 1958 and his last while play­ing for Kil­te­gan 23 years later. Noel got all, or nearly all, his scores from play.

He was a great goal grab­ber and apart from the seven he scored for Kil­te­gan, he scored 3-1 in his first Mi­nor fi­nal in '63 but lost to Carnew in the fi­nal. In the Mi­nor fi­nal of '64 he was also top scorer with two goals against St Kevin’s.

He played foot­ball for Strat­ford and trained the team to win the IFC in 1983 and so col­lected his foot­ball medal. Later he threw in his lot with Donard Camogie Club and trained the girls to win ev­ery cham­pi­onship from U-12 up to Se­nior.

Noel also wore the Wick­low jer­sey at Mi­nor and Se­nior level and won a NHL medal in the 81/82 sea­son

A guard of hon­our at David­stown Church on Wed­nes­day night was pro­vided by many of the play­ers he had trained or played along­side, mostly from Donard/Glen Camogie Club and Strat­ford foot­ballers.

Noel was laid to rest in lovely Leitrim in the heart of the Glen Imaal, surely a ceme­tery in the most beau­ti­ful sur­rounds in Ire­land.

The lofty Wick­low moun­tains for a back drop and look­ing down on the ru­ins of what was Leitrim Cas­tle.

Our sym­pa­thy to his wife Ann, son Kevin, daugh­ters Carmel and Carol, mother, brothers, sis­ter and ex­tended fam­ily.

Molly Byrne R.I.P.

The death of Molly Byrne at the week­end re­moved the last link with the great Byrne fam­ily of teach­ers and GAA ad­min­is­tra­tors from Rath­coyle.

Molly was a sis­ter of the for­mer Pres­i­dent of the GAA Hugh Byrne and two of Wick­low's All-Ire­land win­ning team of 1936, Mick and Paddy Byrne.

Molly had a long and ac­tive life and en­joyed good health right up to the end. Her re­mains were re­moved to Kil­lamoate Church on Satur­day and burial took place in Ty­na­clash Ceme­tery, Kil­te­gan on Sun­day.

Our sym­pa­thy to her many nieces, neph­ews and ex­tended fam­ily.

May they Rest in Peace.

Coiste na nOg fix­tures

Just as they did a year ago games de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer Hugh Kenny and his team have put to­gether pro­pos­als for the frame­work for a fix­tures pro­gramme and will be un­veil­ing it at a meet­ing of the Board this week.

Last year's pro­gramme, while it was ac­cepted with aplomb at Con­ven­tion, was over­turned at the first meet­ing of the clubs.

We all know that it is next to im­pos­si­ble to put to­gether a fix­tures plan that will please ev­ery­body but a lot of thought and plan­ning has gone into this by ex­pe­ri­enced peo­ple.

We must make a big­ger ef­fort to give this one a try and make it work for the over­all good of the games in the county.

Can you name this team and the play­ers in it?

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