STRANGE OLD game this football - at least when played the Wicklow way. In our last three matches in the League we got a draw, a big win and lost by a point. If one was to judge by the reaction of the supporters the most acceptable result by far was the game we lost. Perhaps that should read 'performance', not result.
In the dressing rooms afterwards Micko told his players ' that was the best display I saw from a any team since I came to Wicklow. And that was precisely the view of any one of the big attendance I spoke to after the game.
'If we can keep that up and build on it we will go places this year,' Micko told his players - and so say all of us. We were without Stephen Kelly and Patrick McWalter and lost Jacko Dalton from the engine room very early on. With that trio, plus Mervyn Travers back Wicklow, promotion or not we can look forward to the championship.
WITH THE HURLERS
Well Casey's hurlers lost up in Armagh, all that the result proves is how hard it is to motivate a team when there is nothing at stake. It did give Derry the chance to push us off the top of the table on score average for the first time this year. While that could give the Ulster men the psychological advantage going into the final in two weeks time it could also give the Wicklow men the extra motivation they need on the big day.
Congrats to the ladies on their win over Leitrim at the weekend. That should give them a place in the semi-final but to make sure they must beat Wexford. That game is in Arklow on Sunday and with no football or hurling they have the stage to themselves. Straight after the final they will hold a novel draw for to select their sponsor for 2011. Tickets for that draw cost €50 and are still available from any player or mentor should you fancy seeing trotting out in Croke Park or some other venue wearing jerseys bearing your name.
JACK IS BACK
After spending almost three months in St. Vincent's Hospital Jack Boothman is home and well on the way to a full recovery. Jack and Nula want to say a big 'thank you' to their many friends from all parts of the land who visited Jack while in hospital and since he returned home; sent 'Get Well' cards, made phone calls or contacted them in any other way. The sincerity and concern of all helped Jack in no small way to fight back. The Boothman family have no doubt that your prayers helped in a big way in Jack's recovery and they say 'keep up the good work'.
FEILE PEIL NA NOG
Blessington are rapidly becoming the new kingpins of under age football in Wicklow. On Friday they were crowned the new 'Feile' champions for the second year in a row after beating a strong Newtown team in the final. They now go forward too represent Wicklow in the National finals of Feile Pell na nOg down in Cork in June.
The Blues followed that up with a win over a Meath team in the final of the Leinster U-16 Football League on Sunday. As far as we know this is the first time a Wicklow team won this sort of competition at this level in Leinster. St. Joseph’s did win a Leinster Minor League but that was run by Carlow club Eire Og.
Could this be the dawn of a new day by the Lakeside?
Ettie Kilbride and the Carnew drama group are hard at it prepairing for their big day which is coming up shortly. Not every day does a team get a chance to take part in an All Ireland final but Carnew will be reoresenting Wicklow and Leinster in the All-Ireland final of the Novelty Act in Scór.
The venue is the Glen Eagle Hotel in Killarney; the date is the 9th of April and there may be some tickets still available - but hurry.
THE BIG DRAW
For the third year in a row Wicklow County Board are running a big fundraising draw which is structured to help clubs as well as providing funds for the development of the 'Centre of Excellence' in Ballinakill. In fact up to now the clubs have been the big winners. They have no input, expenditure or risk other than to sell the tickets. And because of the recession this year the price of of the tickets has been brought down from €100 to 60. Tickets are now with the clubs and you know what they say - the early bird catches the worm.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Back to the present - I am claiming a double over Mitch this week! The picture last week even caught out our famous PRO Pat Mitchell, as I thought it might. Perhaps I didn't play fair; two things were misleading, the jersey with the horizontal stripes, apparently quite popular at the time.
The team was Donard and quite honestly while I have watched them play for over 60 years I never remember seeing then wearing jerseys like that. The second thing that sent Mitch and many more in the wrong direction was the clue - Football but not Senior. Donard have been Senior for so long that no one took a second look to their direction.
It was of course the Donard team that ushered in the golden era of football in that part of West Wickow. This was the team that won the Intermediate Football Championship of 1934 and contested 16 of the next 20 or so Senior finals, winning on six occasions.
In their first year in Senior ranks they were beaten in the final by a mighty Bray Emmets who had just returned from playing in Dublin and at that stage were considered unbeatable. A year later they were back in the final again but went down to west neighbours Rathdangan who were a great force in football at the time and were winning gtheir second title in that decade.
But in 1937 they were back in their third final in a row and this time made the big breakthrough, beating famed Rathnew by 2-3 to 0-6. In their hey-days the club could boast of three very prominant Railway Cup players - Jim Rogers, Gerry O'Reilly and Paddy Lennon as well as having seven, eight or nine on the county team at any given time.
Thier title take may have been greater but for the fact that Rathnew hit a golden patch in the earky 1940's, winning a threein-a-row. Then a great Ballinacor team arrived to clip the wings of the 'men of the west' and Baltinglass finally ended their gallop in 1958. But they left many great memories behind.
First in with a correct answer was Jack Tyrrell of Donard who remembers that team but he did not get all the names. Next up was Mick Curran, the well known Blessington groundsman and he filled in the blanks. Mick told us that they beat Coolboy in the final at Aughrim by 3-3 to 0-3 and in the Donard History they tell us that there was a very big attendance with every available bus bringing supporters from Donard, Hollywood, Baltinglass and Rathdangan. Among the attendance were TD's, Senators and strangest off all two nephews of the King of Siam.
That team was captained by the great Jack Kelly of Snugborough who went on to lead many Seniors' teams to victory. The men in the picture Front: Hal Walsh, Jimmy Cullen, Patsy Reilly. Middle row: Jack Grace, Ml Byrne, John Mills, Jack Kelly (Capt.), Mark Doyle, John Leniston, Back: John Cullen, VicePresident; Jack Walshe, Dick ‘Gunner’ Walshe, Ted Flynn, A. Allen, John Cullen, Jack Reilly, Matt Byrne (Representing the County Board) and Rev. J.W. Leahy, President.
THE ACTION PICTURE
We may have caught out Pat Mitchell with the team picture but he was on the ball with the action shot. He correctly named the Wicklow player blocking the shot as Tom Wall, the blond bombshell from St. Pat’s and a mine of information on everything to do with football in Wicklow. Mitch also told us that the year was 1967 and the venue was Croke Park. Pat says that this was Wicklow's best team for a long time. They beat Wexford - 0-10 to 0-8 - in the first round of the Championship and accounted for Laois in the second round in Carlow - 0-11 to 0-8. The game against Offaly should have been a semifinal but for some reason was only a quarter-final. Offaly won by 0-12 to 0-7 with Tony McTeague on fire and punishing every Wicklow foul. He got most of the Offaly points from frees. Greg Hughes caused us big problems at midfield until Jim Coats came on in the second half and clipped his wings.
That Wicklow team had three sets of brothers - Tom and Noel Scott; Tony and Lar Norton and Tommy and Peter Clarke and deserves to be remembered so we are listing them in full: Andy Phillips; Mick Lawler, Brian Carthy, Tom Wall; Pat Corrigan, Jack Fitzpatrick, Tommy Clarke; Willie Cuffe, Noel Scott; Peter Clarke, Tom Scott, Tony Norton; Lar Norton, Larry Kelly, Maurice McNamee. Subs used - Jim Coats, Tom Humphries and Frank O'Neill.
We believed that no 'Wicklow People' reader would be able to name the Offaly player in the picture but how wrong can you be. That Offaly man in the picture was 'Ricie' Scully and the man to tell us that was a former Offaly star footballer Har Donnolly who has lived in Arklow for most of his life. Ricie, he says was a great dual player but had his career cut short by an injury. Ricie Scully has got himself into so many high-profile activities that his career as a dual player with the 'faithful county' is all but forgotten. Ricie was also a team mate and close friend of adopted Wicklow citizen, sports journalist and author P.J. Cunningham.
THIS WEEK'S PICTURES
We are switching to hurling this week and the team you are looking at was one of the best Wicklow teams ever in their grade. However I am afraid we are getting away from the original purpose of this feature. Take another look at the heading - 'where are they now' and that is what we really want to know.
The second picture is a group of well known mentors and supporters in West Wicklow back in the early 1970's.
THE LIAM CULLEN TEAM
Before we forget the Liam Cullen picture was sent to us by Sharon Daynes, her father Andy Phillips was in the centre of the front row. Thanks Sharon, we will return it safely to you. Reply to email@example.com or ring 087 6907589.
The death occured of well-known Stratford supporter Annette Mangan's father Michael Price (R.I.P) and the funeral took place on the weekend of 20th of March in Kenmare . Michael is the grandfather of Michael Mangan who played for wicklow county under-21 fooballers against Carlow. Michael Price was a former selector with Kerry Minor teams from 1985 to the early 90s and was great Kenmare club man specially with the developing of juveniles in the club. His removal took place on Sunday evening and he was buried on Monday in Kenmare.
There was a large attendance including Mikey Sheey, Pat O’Shea and many more great Kerry names. Damien Byrne, Chairman og Bord na nOg, represented the Wicklow County Board at the funeral.
May he rest in peace.
Can you name this group in West Wicklow in the early 1970s?
Where are they now? Can you identify this team of hurlers?