League kings cel­e­brate

Foot­ballers hon­oured at end-of-year shindig

Bray People - - SPORT - MARK KENNEDY At The Ark­low Bay Ho­tel

A SUN­DAY at the end of April 2012 will for ever be im­printed on the minds and hearts of all true Wicklow gaels.

For that was the day when a trusty band of foot­ballers wrote their names in the county's his­tory books by win­ning the Di­vi­sion 4 league ti­tle.

New chair­man Martin Cole­man told us on Fri­day night last that for 30 years Wicklow had been striv­ing to break free from the suf­fo­cat­ing clutches of the base­ment foot­ball di­vi­sion but never suc­ceed­ing in achiev­ing that un­til now.

In the fi­nal we beat Fer­managh de­ci­sively by a 216 to 1-11 mar­gin and at the sound of the fi­nal whis­tle the Ho­gan Stand in Croke Park re­ver­ber­ated to the lusty sounds of Wicklow fans in full voice.

The sight of a Wicklow cap­tain Leighton Glynn as­cend­ing the hal­lowed steps to re­ceive the cup from the GAA Pres­i­dent Liam O'Neill was a joy to be­hold.

There are not many days like that for Wicklow foot­ball and we had ev­ery right to go mad.

And we were still cel­e­brat­ing that fa­mous vic­tory on Fri­day night when the victorious squad of foot­ballers was pre­sented with their medals at a func­tion in the Ark­low Bay Ho­tel, which has be­come the home for Wicklow GAA for such big oc­ca­sions.

Chair­man Martin Cole­man, set­tling into his new role like a hand in glove, did the hon­ours of pre­sent­ing the medals, paying trib­ute to the play­ers who de­servedly won them on the field of play and Harry Murphy and his back­room boys who laid the plans that scup­pered a Fer­managh side that had 'skated' its way to the fi­nal.

Cole­man told the play­ers that bring­ing the league ti­tle to Wicklow was a great hon­our in it­self and they and the man­age­ment could be proud of what they had achieved.

He thanked all their spon­sors for coming on board. Each player got a spon­sor and in the dif­fi­cult times we live in they did very well.

The chair­man had spe­cial praise for their main spon­sor Brian Bren­nan who has been very good to the GAA in Wicklow down the years. What­ever was asked of him, Brian was al­ways forth­com­ing and not alone that he also at­tended all their func­tions and games.

“We have been try­ing for 30 years to get out of Di­vi­sion 4 of the league. It is al­ways a dif­fi­cult job to do and the amount of time and en­ergy that this group of play­ers and Harry Murphy and his back­room team put into it is just un­real,” he said.

“And they got their just re­wards when they beat Fer­managh in the fi­nal. Many times dur­ing the cam­paign we thought it was gone from us and we went to Croke Park hop­ing to spring a sur­prise on a Fer­managh team that skated its way to the fi­nal. We hoped for a dif­fer­ent story coming out of Croke Park this time and Wicklow were con­vinc­ing win­ners on the night”.

Thank­ing the ho­tel and staff for the tremen­dous meal and ser­vice, he again thanked and con­grat­u­lated the play­ers and Harry Murphy and his back­room boys on bring­ing a na­tional ti­tle to Wicklow.

Wicklow team on the day was: cap­tain Leighton Glynn, John Flynn, Ciaran Hyland, An­thony McLough­lin, Alan Byrne, Dean Healy, Michael McLough­lin, Stephan Kelly, James Stafford, Rory Finn, Dar­ragh O'Sul­li­van, Dar­ren Hay­den, Tony Han­non, Seanie Fur­long, John McGrath. Subs: Peadar Burke, Paul Earls.

Robert Lam­bert, Austin O'Mal­ley, Conor McGraynor, Barry Murphy, Adam Mer­ri­man, Cathal Ros­siter, Nicky Mer­nagh, Paddy Dal­ton, Frank Clune.

Not all mem­bers of the squad were present on the night.

Oth­ers to re­ceive medals: Billy Cullen, Mark Doyle, Mervyn Travers, Niall Gaffney, Stephen Byrne, Joey Kelly, Ja­son Bol­ger.

The Wicklow Se­nior foot­ballers, who were hon­oured at a spe­cial func­tion in The Ark­low Bay Ho­tel re­cently, are pic­tured with the NFL Di­vi­sion 4 Cup which they won af­ter de­feat­ing Fer­managh in Croke Park last April.

Fer­gus Kenny, Harry Murphy, Leighton Glynn, Martin Cole­man and James Keogh with the NFL Di­vi­sion 4 Cup in The Ark­low Bay Ho­tel.

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