Well done Ref

Gooch the sec­ond

The Mon­day Morn­ing 'Blues

THE GAP be­tween the end of the na­tional leagues and the start of the cham­pi­onships is al­ways a quite time on the GAA front. Short as it may be it still gives time to re­flect on what the leagues re­vealed and what the cham­pi­onships may have in store.

Casey's hurlers grabbed the head­lines by win­ning the league and that was all we could ask of them.

How­ever, there is work to be done be­fore they take on the real test of cham­pi­onship hurl­ing in the Christy Ring Cup. If Ea­monn Kearns is back he will be a wel­come ad­di­tion. But can we re­ally ex­pect to see him reach cham­pi­onship stan­dards in such a short time?

Harry's foot­ballers made a cou­ple of slips in the league but fin­ished well; their two late wins will surely boost con­fi­dence as they pre­pare to take on Laois in Aughrim on May 18.

The emer­gence of some new play­ers near the end is very wel­come; Paul Cunningham def­i­nitely im­proves the op­tions up front and could in time prove to be the an­swer to a long stand­ing cen­tre for­ward prob­lem. Surely we are cry­ing out for cover in de­fence and an­other Bray Em­mets lad, Aaron Mur­phy, could be a big help.

Casey O'Brien's hurl­ing panel has some promis­ing young play­ers in the pipe­line but how many will make the cham­pi­onship grade at this stage is an­other mat­ter.

A hec­tic month ahead for both Harry and Casey.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to out two leading ref­er­ees who are mak­ing steady progress up the na­tional lad­der.Anthony Nolan was the man in the mid­dle for the semi­fi­nal of the U-21 All-Ire­land Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship and did a great job.

John Keenan was the lines­man at the NHL semi-fi­nal be­tween Clare and Tip­per­ary in Lim­er­ick and to re­ally make the day for both - the matches were live on TV.

Gar­rett Whelan is also mak­ing progress with the whis­tle which prompts the ques­tion - do we have more young whistlers out there who could make the grade in this most de­mand­ing job?

Did you read that stuff the sports edi­tor dished up last week?

He gets one run at cor­ner for­ward on the team and ex­pects us to be­lieve he is an­other 'Gooch' on the way to star­dom.

When he gets back in goal (that should read if) then he will be telling us he will soon be an­other 'Clux­ton'. All right he is not point­ing the 45s yet but no doubt he will put that down to worn out boots.

A lit­tle bird tells us he is sav­ing up for a new pair but that could be a slow process - un­less he gets a rise. Mean­while I have an old pair of 'hob­nail­ers' with steel toe caps - they might fit the bill. Hold on tight to that num­ber one jersey Robert Lam­bert. “Dear Peter, I re­fer to yes­ter­day's sec­ond half per­for­mance by Dublin. I re­fer also to my ex­pres­sion, in the Cor­ner, last year, of grow­ing con­cerns about the state of foot­ball. This morn­ing, for me, the alarm bells have be­come deaf­en­ing.

What we saw yes­ter­day can­not be main­tained or con­tested.

What we saw was a power driven field bas­ket­ball game of pro­fes­sional club in­ten­sity.Thiswas­not­in­ter-coun­tyGaelic foot­ball played by am­a­teurs.

In the Cor­ner last sum­mer, I re­peat­edly ques­tioned whether we are com­mit­ted to at­tract­ing in­di­vid­u­als from all so­cio-eco­nomic back­grounds; I asked this be­cause I un­der­stand this is a core value of the As­so­ci­a­tion. We can­not have what was on dis­play yes­ter­day and still say we pro­mote this in­clu­sive­ness.

Some ques­tions. How do we de­fine foot­ball? Do we un­der­stand that 'so­cioe­co­nomic' in­clu­sive­ness de­fines cer­tain pa­ram­e­ters within which we must op­er­ate? Mise le meas, Ger­ald Any other com­ments on that sub­ject?

Where are they now?

Some calls on the 'Ire­land' hurl­ing team of two weeks ago that came just late for last week's edi­tion.

One was from Joe Nolan, for­merly from Killincar­rig, Grey­stones but now liv­ing in Bray.

He was an­other that re­mem­bered the days when an ' Ire­land' team in both codes was selected an­nu­ally but while their matches against teams like the Com­bined Uni­ver­si­ties was never a big crowd puller the over­all in­ter­est in the se­lec­tion of the teams was on a par with that of any other na­tional team.

He could name most if not all of the play­ers or men­tors in the pic­ture.

An­other call came from Tul­low res­i­dent and for­mer Rathvilly foot­baller, Ned Fo­ley, and he too could name most of the play­ers on the team.

The miss­ing man

At last we got some­one to name the miss­ing player on that Ire­land team and to fill in other de­tails.

Ai­dan Don­nolly, a Galway man liv­ing in Dublin, who, for some rea­son, reads the Wick­low People and the Cor­ner, rang in to name the player in the front row as Sea­mus McDon­ald of Antrim. He played at full for­ward and scored two goals, he tells us.

He was in good com­pany - two of the all time greats of the game - Christy Ring and Jimmy Smith of Clare were play­ing in the cor­ner po­si­tions.

Other de­tails he sup­plied were - the year was 1956; the fi­nal score was Ire­land 4-12; Com­bined Uni­ver­si­ties 3-5; Nicky Rackard was play­ing for the Uni­ver­si­ties and the Ire­land team lined out as fol­lows - Tony Red­dan (Tipp), Billy Rackard, Nick O'Don­nell, Bobby Rachard; Jim English, Pat Stakelum, Wil­lie Walsh; Jim Mor­ris­sey, 'Job­ber' McGrath (West­meath); Jimmy Dug­gan, Der­mot Kelly, Tim Flood; Jimmy Smith, Sea­mus McDon­ald, Christy Ring.

We still have not got a name for the of­fi­cial with the cap and glasses first from the left in the back row.

The Paddy O'Rear­don story

Some weeks back we had a pic­ture of a Bray VS team with their teacher and coach Paddy O'Rear­don. Since he ap­peared to have Rathvilly/Tul­low con­nec­tions we sent out an SOS for more in­for­ma­tion.

Johnny Kenny, the great Balt­in­glass and Wick­low foot­baller has come to the res­cue.

Paddy O'Rear­don's fa­ther, he tells us, was sta­tion mas­ter in Balt­in­glass for a time and later moved to Tul­low.

He mar­ried Bri­die Flynn from Donard so that would leave his son with a num­ber of first cousins in and around west Wick­low. Johnny Kenny's wife Mag­gie is one of them, Hat­tie Doyle, Rath­dan­gan and all the Flynn, Kenny and Doyles would also be re­lated.

I am not sure where the Rathvilly con­nec­tions comes in.

So, as they say - a small world.

Ea­monn D'Arcy on Stakelum

The best story of them all on Pat Stakelum came from Ea­monn D'Arcy.

He re­calls a school in Tip­per­ary run­ning a com­pe­ti­tion for the best es­say on a hurl­ing player.

The win­ner was a boy from mid Tipp who wrote in praise of Stakelum and Ea­monn was so im­pressed that he is still able to re­cite it word for word. This is how it went:

“I feel sure that ev­ery­one will agree with me when I say that Pat Stakelum must­beo­ne­ofthe­most­pop­u­larhurlers ev­er­to­have­treadahurling­pitch.Le­tus not for­get his sports­man­ship and scru­ples fair­ness on the field of play.

Al­lIre­land­know­shi­masPat,al­lIre­land knows him too as a hurler truly mag­nif­i­cent in the true tra­di­tions of his na­tive county, a gen­uine warm hearted, quite spo­ken­player,as­gen­er­ous­in­vic­to­ryas he is glo­ri­ous in de­feat.

For a num­ber of years now Pat has been play­ing fields of Gael­dom and whereever he played his gen­tle­manly con­duct, no less than his great­ness

as a hurler, has won him the hearts and the re­spect of spec­ta­tors and play­ers alike.

As­aplayerof­style­and­pol­ish­he­hasI would say no peers and when at his best, the ease and ef­fec­tive­ness with which he out­wits his op­po­nent makes hurl­ing look as sim­ple as the prover­bial A.B.C.

Pat's usual po­si­tion is cen­tre half back and those of us who have seen this great Holy­cross stal­wart in ac­tion will never for­get his won­der­ful zeal, his su­perb cool­ness and of course his sports­man­ship which af­ter all is the main thing in a hurlers prayer”.

While the his­tory books may not be as flat­ter­ing to Stakelum as Ea­mon's boy; any­way he was one of the last great ex­perts of the now long for­got­ten drop

shot or drop puck.

The Boys fron Scoil Changlais

Last week's pic­ture came from the other end of the scale but still brought some replies from the boys in­volved. It was a team from Scoil Chonglais that had just won the first years' cham­pi­onship and went on to win the ju­nior cham­pi­onship the fol­low­ing year. A num­ber of them were on the last Wick­low Mi­nor team to reach a Le­in­ster fi­nal. They in­cluded Keith Fur­long, Gavin Wynne (not in pic­ture), Anthony Nolan, Eoin McMa­hon.

First in with the cor­rect an­swer was Anthony Nolan, the great new ref­eree and now prob­a­bly the best known man in that pic­ture. “Hi Peter That's Scoil Chonglais first year team. Was on that team my­self and could name them all on it. Anthony Nolan” “Hi Peter Is that a Scoil Chonglais team maybe, first year maybe, around 1991/1992. Eoin McMa­hon hold­ing the ball in the front.

Plen­ty­of­fa­mil­iar­facesinit!ThinkKeith Fur­long is in it, Niall fo­ley, Thomas Cas­sells, Johnny Kinsella, Paul Cole­man, Padraig McGrath, Anto Nolan, Kieran Byrne.

ThinkJamesByrne­fromGrange­co­nis at the back as well but not 100% sure if it's him. Can't pick out Gavin Wynne but he should be in it we think?? Aoife O'Neill” The rea­son that Gavin Wynne is not in the pic­ture is that he did his first year in Kilkenny Col­lege. He was on the same Scoil Chonglais that won the ju­nior cham­pi­onship the fol­low­ing year. Thanks Aoife

The Boys in the pic­ture as named by Anthony were -

Back Row - l to r - Paul Cole­man; John Ed­wards, Noel Phe­lan, James Byrne (R.I.P), Mark Wal­she, Alan Howard, Keith Fur­long, Stephen Donoghue, Ray­mond Lawler.

Mid­dle Row - Barry John O'Toole, Paul Kelly, Tom Cas­sells, Ed­ward White, Sea­mus O'Reilly, Stephen Jones, Padraig McGrath, Richard Dal­ton.

Front Row - Anthony Nolan, Ciaran Byrne, Niall Fo­ley, J.P. Kinsella, Eoin McMa­hon, Wayne Moore, Paul Fos­ter, Ray Nolan, Clif­ford Stynes.

More on Foot­ball re­form

“Dear Peter, My­lat­est­copy­ofTheE­conomist,April 12, 2014 has just been de­liv­ered. And there on page 62 is more ev­i­dence for those of us who main­tain that Gaelic foot­ball can be­come a world game if only the op­por­tu­nity is recog­nised and taken in a struc­tured way. De­spite the ar­ti­cle's neg­a­tive con­text, it should not be dis­missed.

The­main­head­ing:'The­hitskeep­com­ing' in con­junc­tion with Brain in­juries in sport, fo­cus on rugby and soc­cer. Men­tion is also made to Amer­i­can foot­ball. I men­tionedadra­mati­car­ti­cleinTheIr­ish Mail­re­centlyalso.But­workneed­stobe done, I would ar­gue. What will not ap­peal is a “field bas­ket­ball game” or a wina­tall­cost­slevel­of­fit­nes­s­ap­proach.

You may have no­ticed that my ques­tions ap­proach in the sub­mis­sions of last sum­mer and early au­tumn were de­signed,par­tially,totry­ing­toelic­it­con­trasts -such as this med­i­cal mat­ter. To have gone straight into a com­par­a­tive ex­er­cise would prob­a­bly have de­vel­oped more heat than ra­tio­nal in­quiry. Com­par­isons can be odi­ous.

Fur­ther ev­i­dence -if more were re­quired-ofneg­a­tive­fac­torssup­port­ing my ar­gu­ment came last weekend in a con­ver­sa­tionIhad­with­a­full-time­s­ports teacher/med­i­cal per­son. The star­tling fact in this rugby school is that three head in­juries oc­cur ev­ery week.

How­ever, our rules need fur­ther and ur­gent mod­i­fi­ca­tion. Keep up the good work!” Ger­ard Tal­lon. More food for thought.

Get Well

Our get well wished this week goes to Gerry Gib­bons, A Kilkenny man who played a lot of Hurl­ing for Wick­low and in Wick­low.

He was on a Wick­low team that won a Le­in­ster Ju­nior ti­tle in 1965 and won Le­in­ster and All-Ire­land medals again in 1971

He played Hurl­ing for three dif­fer­ent clubs in Wick­low, Bray Em­mets, Kil­coole and New­cas­tle.

All the many friends he made dur­ing his stay in the Gar­den County wish Gerry a speedy re­cov­ery.


The death oc­curred of Essie Gam­mell of Main St., Kil­coole at the weekend. Essie was a sis­ter of great ref­eree, Jimmy Hat­ton, and was a ded­i­cated sup­porter of foot­ball and hurl­ing all her life.

Her two sons both played un­der age hurl­ing for Wick­low - Deric was on the All-Ire­land

un­der-21 team in 1967 while John played Mi­nor for the county.

Her fu­neral and burial took place in Kilquade on Good Fri­day.

Our sym­pa­thy to her broth­ers Jimmy and Danny, her sis­ters, sons, daugh­ter An­toinette and ex­tended fam­ily.

May she rest in peace.

We’re go­ing back a few years here but we’re in fa­mil­iar sur­rounds. If you can iden­tify any or all of the men above and what com­pe­ti­tion they were about to take part in then con­tact Peter on 087 6907589 or email pe­terkeogh­

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