NEARY TO THE BONE

Flynn and Keddy are the best can­di­dates for the top awards

Bray People - - SPORT - The Michael Neary view

I WOULD like take this op­por­tu­nity to ex­tend very best wishes and good health to all who read this ar­ti­cle for 2013.

I have really en­joyed hav­ing the op­por­tu­nity to ex­press my views over the last year.

I have ad­dressed a lot of cur­rent is­sues af­fect­ing the GAA in gen­eral and in par­tic­u­lar mat­ters re­lat­ing to Wicklow.

My col­umn has, at times, been some­what con­tro­ver­sial. I know many of you have agreed with most of my opin­ions and the pos­i­tive feed­back I have re­ceived con­firms that the fact that I have ad­dressed con­cerns which many GAA folk may have in Wicklow has been re­fresh­ing and most wel­come.

Pre­vi­ously a plat­form to in­de­pen­dently high­light peo­ple's con­cerns and is­sues was not avail­able.

I am en­joy­ing the good hu­moured ban­ter my col­umn gen­er­ates as I visit many club grounds within the county.

As I con­tinue my involvement with lo­cal teams in the coming year hopefully I can main­tain the in­de­pen­dence of this col­umn with­out it re­sult­ing in any ad­verse prej­u­dice or in­jus­tice against th­ese teams. Time will tell.

The an­nounce­ment of the Wicklow GAA Awards for 2012 was an ex­cit­ing end to the GAA year.

It's a great hon­our for any player to have their achieve­ments recog­nised by the many clubs in the county.

Th­ese awards are now a reg­u­lar event in most coun­ties. Where coun­ties are less suc­cess­ful and not in the run­ning for na­tional awards th­ese lo­cal re­wards are a pres­ti­gious and es­teemed ac­knowl­edge­ment.

The fact that awards are pre­sented to all grades and codes is a tes­ta­ment to the com­mit­ment and con­tri­bu­tion of the rel­e­vant County Boards to this event.

I am for­tu­nate to per­son­ally know many of this year's re­cip­i­ents and over the coming weeks I hope to in­di­vid­u­ally high­light their sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to the cat­e­gory in which they were suc­cess­ful.

The in­ter-county foot­baller of the year award went to the county goal­keeper, John Flynn (Balt­in­glass).

This award was thor­oughly mer­ited. As I know only too well, some­times the im­por­tance of the role of a goal­keeper is con­sid­er­ably un­der­es­ti­mated.

John played a huge role in Wicklow se­cur­ing pro­mo­tion from Di­vi­sion 4. It was not an easy job re­plac­ing a keeper of the cal­i­bre of Mervyn Travers.

Mervyn, dur­ing his distin­guished ca­reer in goal was hugely de­pend­able which in­cluded mak­ing many high pro­file saves dur­ing some of Micko's qual­i­fier games. John, in my opin­ion played an im­mensely im­por­tant game for Wicklow when win­ning the Di­vi­sion 4 fi­nal in Croke Park.

His bril­liant saves in the first half and early in the sec­ond half were game win­ners. Even though Wicklow were con­vinc­ing win­ners in the end if John hadn't made those two im­por­tant saves the re­sult would no doubt have been a lot tighter or even dif­fer­ent.

When word broke that John was con­tem­plat­ing re­tir­ing due to work com­mit­ments it sent shock­waves through­out the county. Th­ese con­cerns il­lus­trated the im­por­tance and value of John's role to the team. His sub­se­quent re­turn to the panel was a huge boost to Harry for the coming year.

The award for in­ter-county hurler de­servedly went to Ro­nan Keddy (Kil­coole). As a fel­low club mem­ber of his I have watched Ro­nan's devel­op­ment as a hurler from ju­ve­nile up to his cur­rent high rank with great in­ter­est.

Since his in­tro­duc­tion to the county squad he has worked tremen­dously hard at de­vel­op­ing all as­pects of his game and has now es­tab­lished him­self as one of the top mid­field­ers par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Christy Ring com­pe­ti­tion.

He, along with his fel­low mid­fielder, Ea­monn Kearns, has been one of the main rea­sons that Wicklow have con­tested the last two Christy Ring fi­nals.

His hurl­ing ca­reer was greatly nur­tured by be­ing ed­u­cated at Co­laiste Eoin, Stil­lor­gan where his school was part of the hurl­ing re­nais­sance in Dublin Col­leges.

Ro­nan's com­mit­ment to both club and county is tremen­dous. He con­tin­u­ously works hard at im­prov­ing his game and has re­turned ev­ery year to the county squad a stronger and su­pe­rior player, al­ways open and will­ing to fur­ther de­velop and im­prove his all round game.

Ro­nan eats, sleeps and drinks hurl­ing and in my opin­ion has all the nec­es­sary at­tributes to be­come an ex­cel­lent coach when his play­ing ca­reer ends. This award will sit nicely be­side the Christy Ring award he won ear­lier this year.

Sin­cere con­grat­u­la­tions to both John and Ro­nan on their fan­tas­tic achieve­ments in 2012 and I wish them fur­ther per­sonal and team success for the coming year.

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