WE MUST start this week by con­grat­u­lat­ing Mick O’Dwyer on get­ting yet an­other award.

This time it was a ' Life­time Achieve­ment' award from East Coast Ra­dio which was pre­sented at a func­tion in the Glen­dalough Ho­tel on Satur­day night. In fact while the top award went cor­rectly to World Box­ing Cham­pion Katie Tay­lor, many of our prom­i­nent GAA play­ers in­clud­ing Jonathan O'Neill and Leighton Glynn also picked up awards on the night.

In fact over­all it was a great week­end for Wick­low and one man who def­i­nitely has a pep in his step at this point in time is Mick Ha­gan. Since he took of­fice a short three months ago, both our flag­ship teams in hurl­ing and foot­ball have gone un­beaten in hurl­ing and foot­ball leagues. We also had a first Scór win­ner in Le­in­ster in quite a few years when Carnew lifted the Nov­elty Act award down in Bal­ly­more on Sun­day evening and our Scór Chair­man Tom Walsh was an ex­tremely proud man when they re­ceived their Le­in­ster tro­phy.

Nearer home the now very pop­u­lar Tom Ryan Cup com­pe­ti­tions were con­cluded at the Sports and Leisure Cen­tre in Ark­low on Satur­day with Gle­nealy win­ning the Un­der12 Cup and Ark­low Rock Par­nells win­ning the Un­der-10 Cup. Michael Dwyers won both leagues but were on the los­ing side in both cup fi­nals. Congratulations to ev­ery­body in­volved and in par­tic­u­lar the or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee from the St Pa­trick's GAA Club in Wick­low.

An­other hugely ex­cit­ing night in the Brock­agh Cen­tre Laragh as Cu­man na mBun­scol staged their an­nual Trath na gCeist and like ev­ery­thing else that body pro­motes, this goes from strength to strength. Rath­coyle just like Kilkenny were go­ing for a ' five in a row' but like the ' Cats' this proved to be a bridge too far. Michael Brod­er­ick's Bless­ing­ton team are the new brains of Wick­low af­ter one of the most ex­cit­ing fin­ishes ever.

In fact they just pipped Balt­in­glass at the post and then in a shoot-out for the other plac­ings, Kil­coole came in sec­ond with Rath­coyle in third place. The new quiz mas­ter was for­mer county foot­baller Jonathan Daniels who did a bril­liant job. Congratulations to ev­ery­body in­volved.

Micko's Men

The Se­nior foot­ballers are still un­beaten in the NFL but a draw was not what Micko was look­ing for on this oc­ca­sion. How­ever,

it does mean that we are just one of five teams still un­beaten in the League. The oth­ers are Dublin in Divi­sion 1, Done­gal in Divi­sion 2 and Wick­low, Long­ford and Roscommon in what surely must be the most dif­fi­cult of all di­vi­sions this year. Some dis­ap­point­ment at let­ting a vic­tory that looked on the cards for so long slip in the clos­ing min­utes. How­ever, the bot­tom line now is that we must beat Roscommon in our next home game as well as beat­ing Kilkenny and Clare if we want to be sure of pro­mo­tion.

Casey's Braves

For the sec­ond week in a row the Se­nior hurlers came back from the dead to snatch vic­tory from the jaws of de­feat, this time the match was in front of their own sup­port­ers in Aughrim and cer­tainly lifted the fair-sized home crowd and put them in great mood for the foot­ball that was to fol­low. Again the fac­tor that stood out above all oth­ers was dis­ci­pline when the chips were re­ally down; no silly frees to present the op­po­si­tion with easy scores and of even more im­por­tance, no easy chances missed, par­tic­u­larly frees, by the ever-re­li­able 'Bosco'. Nice to have reached the fi­nal of the divi­sion with one round of matches still to go.

Where are they now?

When Pat Mitchell rang to ad­mit that out photo in last week's pa­per had him baf­fled I be­gan to think that I was on a win­ner at last. Af­ter all any­thing that 'Mitch' doesn't know about foot­ball in Wick­low is not worth know­ing. You will re­call that we told you that the pic­ture was a foot­ball team but not Se­nior. Well straight away we will say that this was a Shil­le­lagh team that beat Carnew in the Ju­nior Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship in 1951.

We got the pic­ture while on a visit to Lon­don last week for the Wick­low/Lon­don match in the NHL. The man that gave me the pic­ture was Coolkenno born Tom McAssey, Pres­i­dent of the Lon­don Wick­low As­so­ci­a­tion and with pho­tog­ra­pher Dave Barrett be­side me at the time we were able to get a copy straight away. Tom's brother Jack McAssey is the first player on the right of the front row. The first man to come up with the right an­swer was Ea­mon Darcy from Cross­bridge and the player that caught his eye was the first man in the back row Peter Lan­ni­gan, a man still hale and hearty and up to very re­cently do­ing his bit for the Shil­le­lagh club. Ea­mon also named Mick Ros­siter, Mick John­son, Paddy Be­han and Frank Byrne.

Tommy Mur­phy, that well known Shil­le­lagh ac­tivist, was an­other to name the pic­ture cor­rectly - and why wouldn't he? Sure he is the nine-year-old boy in the back row. He helped to fill us in with back­ground in­for­ma­tion.

For­get about the grade, there is a lot of his­tory in that pic­ture. That match against Carnew was most likely the South District Ju­nior fi­nal. How­ever, Mary Marah from Ash­ford, who also named the play­ers cor­rectly, claims that it was a first round match played at Coolboy and that would ac­count for the ab­sence of some key play­ers. She also claims that four of the play­ers in the pic­ture are still alive - Pete Lan­ni­gan, Paddy Be­han, Joe Whe­lan and she thinks Peter Fin­negan, a Meath man who worked as a bar­man in Shil­le­lagh at the time.

That team went on to beat Donard in the county semi-fi­nal - 0-4 to 0-2 - but were beaten in the fi­nal by a pow­er­ful New­town team that was back­boned by such well known play­ers as Mick Crin­nion, Matt Kelly, Dick Melia, Paddy Hef­fer­nan, Jimmy Gre­gory and Tommy Greene. The pic­ture does not show the com­plete team.

For some rea­son three of the top play­ers that year, mid­field­ers Ned Lan­ni­gan, who they say of­ten played in his stock­ing feet, his part­ner Paddy Keogh who's son Myles and grand­son Robert play for Coolkenno and the best known man of them all Vin­cent Blake. That trio along with Christy Mur­phy, John John­son and Tom South­ern were on the St. Mary's team, Bal­ly­con­nell who made his­tory by bring­ing the first Ju­nior Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship to the area in 1945.

Oth­ers in the pic­ture who have strong con­nec­tions with present day teams in­clude John Grey, his son An­thony played for club and county and trained the Shil­le­lagh team up to this year; Joe Whe­lan, still hale and hearty and do­ing his bit for the Carnew club, his son Tony played for Carnew and Wick­low; Mick Ros­siter, his sons Mick, Ned and Andy played hurl­ing and foot­ball for Shil­le­lagh while grand­sons, Ea­monn (county player), Brian, and Cathal still play for Coolkenno. Present day dual star with Carnew and Wick­low, Joe Mur­phy is a grand­son of Christy Mur­phy.

The peo­ple in the pic­ture are - back row (from left) - Boy, Tommy Mur­phy, the nineyear-old son of Christy who won a JFC with Ti­na­hely in 1969 and went on to fill many roles on the County Board; Peter Lan­ni­gan, Billy (Skin­ner) Whe­lan, Peter Fin­negan, Tom South­ern, Charley McGuire, Mick Ros­siter; Mid­dle - Boy - Sean Doyle; John Grey, Christy Mur­phy, Frank Byrne, Mick John­son; Front - Jack McAssey, Joe Whe­lan, Paddy Be­han.

Matt Byrne

The Matt Byrne story is an­other one that just won't go away; thanks to this and other items copies of the 'Wick­low Peo­ple' are now winging their way to far off places like Aus­tralia, San Fran­cisco and other parts of the US.

Matt has two grand daugh­ters still liv­ing in Wick­low. Mary Byrne, a great GAA fol­lower, still re­sides in the old homestead on Chapel Hill in Balt­in­glass while Cather­ine (Tyn­dall) re­sides in Ark­low. Cather­ine was very pleased with the sto­ries about her grand­fa­ther and tells us that she has sent on copies to her son Mark in San Fran­cisco and her daugh­ter Ann in Mel­bourne. Ann is mar­ried to a Pierce from Ti­na­hely who would be a cousin of the wife of the great Nickey Rackard.

So, thanks to Humphrey Kelle­her, who is writ­ing a book on 'GAA Cups and Tro­phies”, the O'Byrne Cup and the man it is named af­ter is not go­ing to be for­got­ten. Pat Law­less the hurler! The tribute we ran to Noel Staunton some weeks back caught the eye of no less a man than for­mer county chair­man Pat Law­less. We all knew Pat as a great men­tor and a great foot­baller who won SF Cham­pi­onship with Ash­ford and also played for St. Pa­trick's and the county but up to this point in time we never re­alised that in his young days he was also a very promis­ing hurler. Pat sent us the email be­low this week.

“I read in the Wick­low Peo­ple your ar­ti­cle on Noel Staunton R.I.P. that he played in the U-14 Hurl­ing Fi­nal for Gle­nealy against St. Te­gan’s (Kil­te­gan). I am look­ing at my medal that I won that day for Gle­nealy. I be­lieve the game was high scor­ing and Gle­nealy scored 12 goals and 7 points, I would have scored 5 goals and 2 points and I am very proud to have won that medal with Gle­nealy. Per­haps you were at the game and could con­firm the score”. This week's pic­ture This week we are in gen­er­ous mood and giv­ing away all, or al­most all, of the de­tails in ad­vance. This is a pic­ture of an event that we fea­tured a few weeks back. This photo was taken in Ash­ford in a day in 1976 when the Liam Cullen All Stars played the Jimmy Magee All Stars in a big fundraiser.

Liam Cullen had picked his team from the great Wick­low teams of the 1950's so you will have no trou­ble spot­ting play­ers such as Rail­way Cup men Andy Phillips, Joe Fitz­patrick, Jim Rogers, Gerry O'Reilly and Joe and John Tim­mins. What we do want to know is the names of the other play­ers in this pic­ture, most of them quite well known to older read­ers. We will give you just one more clue, the man in the mid­dle of the front row is Mike Mur­phy of RTE fame, who was the cap­tain of the show­biz team on that day. Kevin O'Brien Kevin has done it again! This time the In­de­pen­dent has named him among their first fif­teen of 'Un­sung Heroes'. He was cer­tainly in hot com­pany with up to 60 play­ers nom­i­nated for the full-for­ward line alone. Other Wick­low men to get a nom­i­na­tion were Andy Phillips, Hugh Kenny, three mid­field­ers Pat O'Byrne, Mosie Cof­fey and Fer­gus Daly but Kevin was the only for­ward and the only one to get the nod from the se­lec­tors in the end. Our congratulations to Kevin.

Ea­mon Mur­ray - on the dou­ble!

An­other great Wick­low Gael that con­tin­ues to make the head­lines is Ea­mon Mur­ray from Avoca but now liv­ing in Wick­low

Town. Last week Ea­mon was the sur­prise re­cip­i­ent of a Long Ser­vice Award at the Avoca Din­ner Dance. A well de­served hon­our for a man who was player and men­tor for 68 years and helped the club to win their one and only Se­nior hurl­ing cham­pi­onship in 1953. How­ever, it was on far for­eign fields that Ea­mon was to col­lect the most of his sil­ver­ware as a hurler and in fact it is in the City of Lon­don that the great man from Avoca is best re­mem­bered. Last week the Brothers Pierce Club in Lon­don hon­oured him with a Hall of Fame Award at a func­tion in Kil­burn. There to make the pre­sen­ta­tion was for­mer Pres­i­dent of the GAA, him­self an All-Ire­land win­ning hurler, Joe McDon­agh of Gal­way. Congratulations Ea­mon.


Carnew have done it again! Down in Bal­ly­more in Co. West­meath on Sun­day night Carnew were crowned cham­pi­ons of Le­in­ster with their novely act and now go for­ward to the All-Ire­land fi­nal.

As usual Etty Kil­bride was the pro­ducer of this win­ning sketch called 'The Pet Shop' and the cast is John O'Sullivan, Thomas Darcy, John O'Hara, Michael Skel­ton, Michael Sin­nott, Tom Culkin, Din Do­ran and James Do­ran.

The All-Ire­land fi­nal will be held in the Gle­nea­gle Ho­tel, Kil­lar­ney on Satur­day, April 9.

Get well

A big num­ber of well known GAA men are hos­pi­talised at the mo­ment. Jack Booth­man has made a good re­cov­ery and was due home this week but oth­ers are not so lucky.

Matt Finn: The day af­ter Kil­te­gan had hon­oured him with their 'Hall of Fame' Award, Matt Finn was struck down with a sud­den ill­ness but thank­fully he has made a great re­cov­ery.

Matt won Se­nior cham­pi­onships with Balt­in­glass and Ju­nior and In­ter­me­di­ate medals with Kil­te­gan as well as hav­ing a good in­nings on Wick­low teams at U-21 and Se­nior level. He later be­came a highly-rated coach and trainer and helped a num­ber of clubs to suc­cess.

Damien Byrne: For the fourth time in re­cent months Damien Byrne was struck down last week and is de­tained in St Vin­cent's Hos­pi­tal.

Among other things Damien is Chair­man of Bord na nOg; a well known ref­eree who was in charge of last year's county Se­nior hurl­ing fi­nal. He was also a dual player and trained teams in hurl­ing and foot­ball.

Jim Bol­lard: Great Strat­ford-Grange­con club man Jim Bol­lard had an ac­ci­dent at his home last week and ended up in hos­pi­tal. Jim won an All-Ire­land medal on Pat Mur­phy's Ju­niors in 1969 and was part of ev­ery hon­our won by his club, ei­ther as a player or men­tor.

Mat­tie Nolan: Mat­tie Nolan, vice pres­i­dent of the Kil­te­gan Club and a for­mer player, is also hos­pi­talised at present.

Niall Moore: Niall Moore, the Pres­i­dent of the Strat­ford/Grange­con Club, is also in hos­pi­tal af­ter a set­back last week. An­other gen­tle­man who has given a life­time of ser­vice to the GAA.

We wish all of them a speedy re­cov­ery.

Can you name the play­ers in this team?

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