KEOGH’S COR­NER

Bray People - - SPORT - WITH PETER KEOGH

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.

LADIES FOOT­BALL

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?

SCÓR

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 pe­terkeogh­gaa@gmail.com or ring 087 6907589.

SYM­PA­THY

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?

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