A GOOD sporting New Year to all readers of the Corner but in particular to Harry and Casey, both have a hard road ahead.
Where are they now?
No response to last week's picture; we are putting that down to Christmas times as we move on to another topic.
While researching that story about that Wicklow hurling team trained by Mick O'Brien one fact to emerge was that 1991 was quite a good year on the GAA front in Wicklow. That hurling team was one of the best and left a record behind to prove it. We were also doing well in football with both Senior and U-21 teams proving very competitive.
'Twenty-one years is a mighty long time' or so the song says - but not it would appear to some of the hardy hurlers on that team. To start with we have the goalkeeper Joey Driver, still going strong and the man that captained Glenealy to victory in this year's SHC final.
The top scorer that year was Don Hyland, and he is still Carnew's ace marksman.
Then there is Michael Anthony O'Neill, still guarding the edge of the square for Glenealy; Gerry Murray, plugging away for Kilcoole and this year with Corbett Gaels in the Senior championship, Danny Curran, Junior hurler of the year in 2012 - where did those 21 years go?
Apart from the hurlers 1991 was one of our better years and this could be as good a time as any to look back over the highs and lows of a good year:
Highlights of the year - 1991
Or what it was like in the 'Garden' 21 years ago?
The Wicklow footballers gave what has to be the greatest display in the SFC ever in Croke Park when they held mighty Meath to a draw in a second round game.
That was the year that Meath and Dublin played four times before the Royals came out on top. Wicklow looked on a hiding to nothing when they had to take on the battle hardened winners but it did not turn out that way.
Wicklow got stuck in from the start and when Billy Kenny pointed a 45 they were in the lead.
Meath had a mighty full forward line and when goalie John Walsh managed to palm out a blistering shot from Colm O'Rourke, Brian Stafford was on hand to bury the rebound and the Royals were on their way - or so it seemed.
Pat Baker and Ashley O'Sullivan did the spade work before Kevin O'Brien had a good point and the Wicklow fight back was on. Fergus Daly and Pat O'Byrne were dominant at midfield and when Conan Daye added another point and the sides were level - 1-2 to 0-5.
A worried Sean Boylan sent in Gerry McEntee to bolster his midfield and a point by Stafford left Meath leading - 1-3 to 0-5 at half time.
With time running out Wicklow were back in the lead - 0-10 to 1-6 but then Brian Stafford pointed two frees and the Royals were on their way (again). With just minutes to go David Gordon put in a great run out of defence, found Mick Murtagh out at the corner and from a difficult angle the Dunlavin stalwart kicked the equaliser. It finished 1-9 to 0-12.
There was 42,000 in Croker for the replay and while Wicklow suffered a hammer blow when full back Hugh Kenny was sent off they were still in the reckoning to the final whistle.
Meath won by 1-12 to 1-9, went on to win Leinster but were pipped by Down in the All-Ireland final - 1-16 to 1-14. The best ever championship performance by Wicklow - what do you think?
The Wicklow line out - John Walsh, David Gordon, Hugh Kenny Thomas Keogh; Mick Murtagh, Billy Kenny, Phillip Healy; Fergus Daly, Pat O'Byrne; Paul Allen Terry Allen, Conan Daye; Kevin O'Brien, Pat Baker and Ashley O'Sullivan. Manager - Niall Rennick.
When the Senior footballers also won promotion and the Division 3 title it was celebrations on the double!
They were also only pipped at the post by Laois in the O'Byrne Cup final, played in Portlaoise.
That was a night to end all nights in Lawless's Hotel in Aughrim. The then President of the GAA, Peter Quinn was the guest of honour and also in the gathering of dignitaries was the Chairman of Leinster Council Jimmy Grey.
Two players got special attention on the night; Donal Lenihan of Aughrim and Denis Kilbride, Carnew played on both teams.
There were other presentations also made on the night. The two Wicklow players that made the Ireland team for the Compromise Rules games, Kevin O'Brien and Pat O'Byrne were presented with trophies by Peter Quinn.
Jimmy Hatton, who had made history 25 years earlier by refereeing hurling and football All-Ireland finals in the same year, was also made a suitable presentation by the President.
We gave you the hurling team that won the double, the League and the Kehoe Cup last week additions to the footballers above were: Dan Leigh, , David Gordon, Donal Lenihan, John Traynor, Ciaran Finn, Robert McHugh, Nick O'Neill, Ken Foley, Padraig Dalton. Thomas Donohue, Paul Kenny
On the home front the competition was reasonably good as well and we will take a look back at some of the main action.
Baltinglass 1-18; East District 2-6 Baltinglass made it five in a row when they beat East District in the final but the Liam McGraynor coached side put up a reasonably good show.
The only changes on the Baltinglass team compared with the All-Ireland winning team of the year before was that Tom Fox, George Bradley, Billy Timmins and Andy Owens were on the starting fifteen.
East District - Jimmy Kelly; Roger Miley, Owen Doyle, Paul Byrne; J.J. Doyle, Wayne Rooney, Johnny Gahan, Tom Byrne, Pat Baker; Declan Byrne, Gerry Doyle, Ciaran O'Brien; Andrew Cullen, Pat Doyle, Richie Cullen.
Baltinglass had the agonising experience of losing to Thomas Davis twice in the one year in the club championship.
In February they parted with their All-Ireland and Leinster cups when they were beaten by the Dublin champions in the Leinster final replay -1-8 to 0-8.
Then in December they were back in Newbridge again, this time in the Leinster semi-final where the Dubs won again - 0-7 to 0-6. The Wicklow People headline declared 'Balto deserved at least a draw'. .
Ironically the centre back on the Davis's team in both matches was Gary Kilmartin who was the Baltinglass trainer this year and who was on the Blessington team beaten by Bray Emmets in the Junior C final.
Stratford 2-4; Barndarrig 1-4
The Intermediate Cup came to Slaneyside that year when Stratford lined out like this - Pat Cronin; Michael Byrne, Thomas Keogh, George Moore; Andy Moore, Dermot Allen, Fergal Moore, Declan Hanley (10), Francis Keane, Bill Byrne (1-3), Nick O'Neill, Patrick Byrne, Harry Mangan (0-1), Lar O'Toole (0-1), Gerry Keane.
Barndarrig - Gerry Arthurs, Johnny Brennan, Bill Byrne, Jim Waldron; Gerry Doyle, Paul Byrne; Declan Byrne, Tom Byrne, Ciaran O'Brien (0-1), Jim Clarke, Brian Walsh, Willie Moules, Dermot Murphy (0-1), Mick Henneberry, Paul Doyle (1-1).
Stratford made it a double when they won the Timmins Cup - beating Barndarrig in the last match at Stratford.
Arklow Geraldines Probably one of the better things that happened that year was the emergence of the Geraldines from Arklow to claim a county title.
And it could not have happened at a better time. Their own favourite son Jimmy Dunne had taken over as chairman of the County Board - probably making history as the first man to have served as chairman and secretary and probably filled most other posts as well.
One of the great nights of that year was Friday December 13 when the Geraldines and Jimmy celebrated together in the Arklow Bay Hotel.
U-21 FC Final
An Tochar - 0-16; Baltinglass 1-6 Twenty one years ago the final of the U21 FC would be one of the highlights of the year and anyone interested in good football would make sure to see that match.
An up and coming young team from An Tochar trained by Donal McGillicuddy laid down a marker that day with a win over the specialists Baltinglass. See how many players you can spot that went on to play Senior for club and county.
An Tochar: Liam Cullen; Nicholas Nolan, Dean Nolan, Emmet Duffy; Brien Power, Brendan Brady, Gary McGillicuddy; Conor Doyle, Philip McGillicuddy; Seamus Cullen, Enda McGillicuddy, Tiernan Hall; Fergal Mulligan, David Brady, Donal McGillicuddy.
Baltinglass: Ken Quirke; James Farrell, Hugh Kenny, Derek Byrne; Derek Quirke; Joseph Byrne, Kevin Fleming; Declan Humphries, Paul Kenny; Declan Wall, Patrick Nolan, Michael Campion; Damien McMahon, John O'Keeffe, Billy Nolan.
Carnew 1-9; Barndarrig 2-4 After knocking out the holders St Pat's in an earlier round Carnew went on to beat Barndarrig in the final of the SHC. Carnew led by 1-6 to 0-2 at half time after playing with the wind and had to withstand a strong second half comeback by the men from the east. It was definitely not Barndarrig's year.
Carnew: Billy Molloy; John Sullivan, Vinny Munroe, Michael Myers; Eddie Brennan, Denis Kilbride, David Quinn; Ger Murphy, Don Hyland; J.J. Myers, Bat Kenny, Dermot Browne; Joe Molloy, Declan Myers, Enda Brennan.
Barndarrig: Gene Anderson; Paul McDonald, Leonard Browne, Dessie Murphy; Billy Byrne, Tom Byrne, Johnny Moules; Declan Byrne, Garry Doyle, Ciaran O'Brien; Paul Byrne, Jim O'Brien, Eamon England, Willie Moules, J. Clarke.
Shillelagh 2-4; Kiltegan 0-7 Two goals in the space of minutes late in the game gave Shillelagh victory in the JHC final.
Shillelagh: Mick Rossiter; Kevin Byrne, Pat Nolan, John Nolan; John Cullen, Anthony Grey, David Nolan; Andrew Nolan, Stephen Dagg; Declan Nolan, Pat Nolan, Frank Deegan; Owen Dempsey, Donie Nolan Billy Whelan. Subs: Frank Byrne, Keith Byrne.
Kiltegan: John Keogh; Michael Boland, Nat Pearson, Lorcan Byrne; Peter Byrne, Michael Byrne, Declan Clare; Lorcan Byrne, Joe Clancy; Michael Byrne, John O'Toole, Cillian O'Keeffe; Raymond Byrne, John Byrne, Mick O'Connell. Subs: Gerry Boland, Damien Byrne, Rory Tallon.
The Michael Dwyers team that beat Kilmac in the U-16 FC final were - Brendan Lawrence;
B. Keogh, C. Byrne, J. Fleming; J. Boland, F. Gartland, M, Clare; P. Lancaster (Capt), D. Hayes; C. Clancy, J. Keogh, A. Tracey, R. Carroll; L. Tallon, O. Murphy.
Ladies football in Wicklow was only in nappies at the time but the new baby was starting to kick its way out of the cot.
At Tochar was the first club from the eastern side of the county to throw a hat in the ring but they were quick to make their presence felt, winning their first senior championship in only their second or third year. They beat Coolboy in the final by 2-11 to 34.
The ladies that made history lined out like this: Bernie Byrne; Eithne Kavanagh, Mary Gallagher, Mary Gaskins; Jackie McGee, Ann Gaskins, Christine Wolohan; Mary Brady, Ann Marah; Michelle Fee, Theresa Kavanagh, Pauline Murtagh; Susan Gaskins, Margaret Bolger, Brenda Halligan.
Coolboy: Mary Byrne; Martine Coleman, Mary Doran, Ann Molloy; Vera O'Keeffe, Caroline Gregan, Bridger Austin; Mary Murray, Ann Donohue; Geraldine Rawsom, Ann Fitzpatrick, Marie Kenny; Kathleen O'Neill, Margsaret Nolan, Breda Raw- som.
All-Ireland title for the girls
Before we leave ladies football lets salute a great little U-14 team that brought All-Ireland glory to the Garden County that year.
They took on Mayo in the final. Mayo was one of the early pillars of ladies football and were going to prove a mighty obstacle. Wicklow sprung Siobhan Flood of Dunlavin from the bench early on and she got the attack moving.
Two goals by Ann McGillicuddy and two more from Nichola Dunne did the trick and the first ever All Ireland Cup for underage girls football was on its way to the Garden County.
Team: D. Dwyer (Dunlavin); H. Maloney (An Tochar), C. Grace (Dunlavin), M. Short (An Tochar), B. Brady (An Tochar), J. Power (An Tochar), S. Lawlor (Dunlavin), S. Gaskins (An Tochar), N. Dunne (Wicklow), F. White (An Tochar), M. Fee (An Tochar), Ann McGillicuddy (An Tochar), D. Coffey (Rathnew), J. Brady (An Tochar), C. Halligan (An Tochar). Subs used: S. Flood (Dunlavin); S. O'Reilly (Wicklow).
The year also had its sad moments - none more so than the passing of two pillars of the Association.
Billy Lawless, a man who should be named Wicklow's greatest ever Gael when the next history of the GAA in the county is written passed to his eternal reward just days after he attended the funeral of one of the stars in the 1936 All-Ireland, Jim Dalton.
Also that year the captain of that team Martin O'Neill was laid to rest in his native Ferns - two men who could never be adequately replaced.
Willie O'Toole R.I.P. The death of Willie O'Toole, late of Grangecon took place on Christmas Eve in Tallaght hospital. His burial took place in Ballymore Eustace on Saturday after funeral mass in the local church. Our sympathy to his wife Mairead, son, daughters; brothers, sisters and extended family. Elizabeth Troy R.I.P. Elizabeth Troy, mother of well known Shillelagh GAA mentor Bill passed away peacefully at Baltinglass Hospital on Thursday.
Burial took place in Kilquiggan cemetery on Saturday after requiem mass in the local church. Our sympathy to her son, daughter, the Byrne family, Stratford and extended family. Sarah Kenny R.I.P. Deepest to out caterer Eddy Cashin and his family on the death of his sister Sarah. Sarah's funeral took place to Killagegs cemetery in Kildare on Friday.
May they all rest in peace.
No mystery to the above picture. County board chairman of the time Jimmy Dunne with Kenneth O’Neill, Arklow Geraldines team captain and Felix Kavanagh, club chairman at the Arklow Geraldines annual dinner dance where they were celebrating winning the JAFC and the Swan Cup in 1991.