A GOOD weekend all round in Wicklow GAA.
Casey O'Brien's hurlers brought home the first piece of silverware after a fine display that saw them turn the tables on Down.
Our 'lucky general', Wayne O'Gorman, added to his fine collection of honours by lifting the Cup in Pairc Tailteann, a venue that is turning into a Wicklow's happy hunting ground.
What a weekend? When the hurlers hit the ground they weren't running but sprinting and when they had the overworked umpires waving white flags three times inside a minute I thought, 'well I have seen saw it all'.
Then along came the footballers to say 'anything they can do, we can do better'. When all hope of salvaging something from the wreckage in Semple Stadium had vanished they slammed in three goals inside two minutes to grab a victory from the jaws of defeat.
While this win was not enough to get us promotion it is still a nice boost as Harry prepares his team for the championship. For the first time in years one can notice competition for places.
Hard luck to Dominic Leach and his brave ladies team. They made the long journey to Limerick and were pipped by a point by the home side.
Scor Question time
Hollywood were the winners of the Wicklow section of the Scor question time, held in the Royal Hotel Glendalough on Friday night.
Richard Burke's team pipped a St Patrick's team captained by Colm Finnegan and they now go forward to represent Wicklow at the All-Ireland finals, to be held in Castlebar on the 26th of the month.
Tom Walsh was quizmaster while Ray Menton, Ashling Grace and Dessie Burton were the adjudicators.
Another 'first' for Hollywood - congratulations.
Remember Mick Fallon
Well I know one man that does. When Tommy Brennan, the driving force behind the West Wicklow branch of Cumann na mBunscol was sending me a copy of his spring program of activities in the west for the year he enclosed a nice letter on the 'Fallon' story that appeared in the 'Corner' some weeks ago.
'I am writing to compliment and thank you for that wonderful article; I sent on a copy to Mick's son in Manchester'. Keep up the good work'.
So now they are reading the 'Corner' in Manchester.
I note that Tommy's programme caters for hurling, football, camogie, ladies football, rounders, basketball, cross country and even includes Tran a gCeist.
Prime Time on Sky
One of the big talking points over the week it would appear was the 'Prime Time' programme that took a look at decision of the GAA to do a deal with 'Sky' on broadcasting rights for a small number of GAA games and as always the 'Corner' somehow got dragged into the controversy.
Since I did not watch the programme myself I am not in a position to comment on it but you can have a look at some of the comments:
“What about the elderly men all over the country that gave a lifetime of service to the GAA - now we are going to have to pay to watch the matches on TV”; “We never minded paying into the matches, provided we could get tickets - now we are expected to pay to see them at home”.
“Contrast the performance of the DG with that of Anne Healy of Bray Emmets: resonant of all that is best in the Association. No contest!!”
“Sky can be flattering and insidious; their competence is confined to the annual bottom line (their own). Their methods are insidious and self-serving. The thin end of the wedge comes to mind. The GAA, as an organisation, does not fit this model. Anne Healy made that quite clear.” G.T.
“Why the sudden wave of protests when the GAA sign up to a worldwide broadcaster? Do we complain about paying to watch other sports? We have the greatest games in the World.
Why not let the world see and enjoy them”.
“Is this not a matter of self belief - why should we want to hide our games away or keep them for ourselves? If others want to see our games and are prepared to pay for the privilege then why not take their money - we certainly have plenty of ways to use it'.
“There is no such thing as bad publicity; surely exposure to a larger audience has to be good”
As I said at the start I did not see the programme and so can not judge but other have no problem paying to watch other sports so why not a few selected GAA matches . I don't know what all the fuss is about.
Where are they now?
The young men in last week's picture were plying their trade in the early days of Vocational Schools football in the county. They were from the Bray Vocational School and were drawn from the greater Bray area which would take in Newtown, Kilmacannogue, Enniskerry, Greystones and Kilcoole.
They had just won the Wicklow VS cup and the lad holding it in the second row was Mick Crinnion of Newtown, a fine young footballer who went to serve the county in many ways down the years.
We had a call from his wife, Ann, and his daughter, Ann Marie, and both were thrilled to see the 'Da' in the paper; it brought back memories of his hey-days.
Shay Ryan from Bray was one of the early callers and he could name most of the players in the picture. Shay also had great memories of playing with the Bray schools teams against the Wicklow schools.
The most famous name of all in the picture he said, was Alan Kelly, who went on to become Ireland's goalkeeper in soccer and won 47 caps for his country.
Sean Doyle rang from Cork and he named almost everyone in the picture. Like Mick, he was from Newtown himself, and played a lot of football with the 'Magpies' and some with Wicklow.
The lad with the cup is definitely Mick Crinnion and clearly very proud to be captain on the day.
Another player in the picture to become famous in his own right latter is Joe Keenan of Roundwood while I am sure that others like Sean Devlin, Sean Brady and Peter Donnelly are still well remembered around Kilmacannague.
The picture was taken from that little gem of a book 'Our Garden Nurseries' which covered Gaelic games in Wicklow run by Coiste Chontae Iarbhunscoileanna, Chill Mhantain from 1968 to 1993 but also looked back briefly at games in the schools from post war years, mainly the late 1940s and the '50s.
While there is some doubt the exact date or location of the picture the book puts it down as 1951 somewhere in Bray - most likely Emmet Park
However the man himself, Mick Crinnion, rang in and put us out of our misery. It was, as we guessed, the Wicklow Vocational Schools final of 1951 and was played on the Murrow in Wicklow town.
Bray VS beat Wicklow VS in that final and Mick had the honour of bringing the cup back to Bray.
The book told the story of Wicklow's trip to Bray for an earlier match; players of today may find this interesting. The only transport available was the regular bus service and the Wicklow team sheet carried the following: Bus from Wicklow to Bray - fair (single) 2s 10p; from Rathnew 2s 6p; from Ashford - 2s 4p (Efforts to be made to get half fares). Outward fare to be paid from students fund; return players would have to pay themselves.
Mick Crinnion commented that there was nothing strange about that - the same applied in Bray.
The Boys in the Picture
Back Row L to R - John Rodgers (Bray/Shankhill); Paddy O'Toole (Boghall), Mick O'Brien (Bray)'Peter (Mousie) Fortune (Sea Front), Sean Doyle (Newtown), Dermot Hayden (Greystones),
Centre row - Alan Kelly (Bray), Joe Keenan (Roundwood), Peter La Comber (Greystones),
Mick Cronin (Newtown) Pat Hussey (Cookstown), Cormac Davis (Kilpeddar).
Front Row - Peter Donnelly (Kilmacannogue), Willie Humphries (Bray), Paddy Murphy (Greystones) Sean Brady (Kilmac), Sean Devlin (Kilmac).
U-21 Football in 'mothballs'
With the U-21 or U-20 football championship about to kick off in the near future we thought this a good time to look back at how the grade did in the past.
We all remember the good days, the great matches and, in particular, great finals involving Baltinglass, Tinahely, An Tochar and others.
But there was also the down side and that was what caused the grade to be abandoned in the end.
We borrowed the above headline from a 'Wicklow People' of 21 years ago. It was a February edition so clearly they were commenting on the U-21 championship of 1992. It read like this - “History is about to repeat itself with the U-21 Football Championship. This excellent competition to date is about to go into mothballs like many before it - and all because of one match. The match is a second round match between Blessington and Carnew - the difficulty arises because on the one side you have a county hurler involved and on the other a county footballer.
An agreement arrived at between the activities committee and the county team managers was that local league or championship matches involving county players could go ahead on the Saturday provided the relevant county team was not involved in a key league of championship match on the Sunday.
Very good you may well say except that all league matches are key matches for the hurlers and the footballers at the moment.
The Carnew v Blessington match can not go ahead this weekend because Darren Behan is needed by the footballers for the match against Tyrone on Sunday - a match which could decide whether Wicklow play in Div.1 or Div 11 next year. On the following weekend, hurling manager, John Henderson, is unlikely to release Don Hyland, not to mention the Mulroe brothers from duty in a match v Meath. And so it goes on.”
That is part of the history of a good competition and should be remembered as Mick Hagan and his committee prepare to launch the new U-20 championship later this year. As little as two players can, under the old rules, stall the competition at any stage.
Where were thee in '93
21 years ago, believe it or not Annacurra had a Senior hurling team but luck was not on their side. They drew the reigning champions St. Patrick's in the first round of the championship and had to go all the way to Kilcoole to play the match.
Little surprise than that they were not able to match a team led from centrefield by Casey O'Brien with his father Sean in goal behind him.
The teams - St Pats: Sean O'Brien; Willie Redmond, Stephen (Sap) Kennedy, John Casey; Brien Gleeson, Thomas Byrne, Noel Corcoran; Casey O'Brien (0-6), David Heffernan; Eddie King, Patrick Lawlor (0-1), George Johnson (0-3); Johnny Kavanagh, Colin Byrne (1-1), David Bury (The Wicklow Man) (1-4). Sub: Willie Carey.
Annacurra: Colm Doyle; Michael Doyle, Declan Byrne, Pat O'Neill; Phillip Doyle, Syl Ivers (0-2), Marcus Graham; Ger Murphy, Brendan Doyle (0-2) ; Sean O'Neill (0-1), Pat Murphy, Eugene Graham; Timmy Howard, Michal (Lofty) Doyle (1-1), Tony Doyle.
(That Annacurra team, as you can see was backboned by players from the Avoca Club).
A Garda Sergeant, Joe O'Rourke, from Tipperary had taken on the task of rebuilding the old hurling club the moment he set foot on Wicklow soil.
He started with U-12 and won every championship from that up to Senior in as many years as it took him to climb from one grade to the next.
The last championship he won before he was transferred back to Tipperary was Senior B but before the train taking him back to his native county had reached Thurles the rot has set in and the structures he had built up hat began to crumble. The club crumbled for a time and the players joined neighbouring clubs but the drive, love and the passion that Joe brought to the game went with him.
Some of the players he groomed to stardom and were wearing the blue and gold of Wicklow included Mick Doyle. Michael (Lofty) Doyle, Syl Ivers, John and Willie Moules, Tony Doyle, The Delany's, The Devereuxs and many others that will not come to mind.).
Get Well Wishes
Get well wishes this week to well known Tinahely handballer and footballer, Pat Quale, who is in hospital awaiting a big operation.
You will make it Pat as you always did on the playing field or in the alley and we will all be rooting for you.
Can you identify the people in the above photo? Contact Peter on 087 6907589 or email email@example.com.