AFTER Black Saturday when we had four walk-overs and no matches played, redemption came from a most unlikely source.
The Under-20 football championship was scheduled to start in Ballinakill on Sunday but for fixtures boss Mick Hagan it was a case of hoping for the best.
Four teams turned up which was disappointing but it turned out to be the ideal number for a sudden death competition.
It turned out to be a day in a million; two semi-finals and a final played in near perfect conditions. Blessington pick up another cup for an overloaded sideboard and everyone went home happy.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
An email this week from a long-time friend in Arklow, Pat Fitzgerald to fill us in on the names of the Arklow Geraldine’s team that on the Grenane Cup back some years ago.
Many of the team would have player on the team beaten by Baltinglass – 2-7 to 2-5 in the county SFC final of 1963. We are glad to get the names of the players, thanks to Pat – but that raised more questions – anyone know anything about the Grenane Cup or where it may be now?
‘I will hazard a guess at the Arklow Geraldine’s of 1964 as appeared in the Wicklow People of November 12
Back row, left to right: Sean McGrath, Tom Neill, Colm Byrne, Paddy Leonard, Matt Curran. Paddy Dennehy, Frank Travers, Tony Riley.
Middle row: left to right - Dan Weadick, Michael Brauders, Joe Mc Elheron, Seamus Bracken, ?, Tom Clandillon, Joe Donnelly, Paddy Garvey.
Front row: John McDonald, Gerry Byrne.
Pak Kinsella was peering in from the left. I could be wrong on one or two.
Many of the team have passed to their eternal reward over the intervening years. Regards Pat Fitzgerald’.
THE RATHNEW TEAM
Tommy Glynn was one of a number of people to name the team in last week’s paper and in this email he fills in the details -
‘Peter, your photo this week is a handy one for me to name, as I would have played with and against all the players in it, in either football or hurling.
‘It is a Rathnew Senior football team of the late 1960s. The year and occasion is a bit harder to call, but as you rarely got a photo in the paper then unless you got to a final am going for 1968, and the Rathnew team that was beaten by Kilbride in the Dunne Cup final.
‘I think Joe Jacob might have been captain, and it wasn’t a very happy occasion for Joe, because apart from losing I think he broke his arm while trying a Sean Doherty type tackle on Peter Clarke.
‘Sadly six of that team are no longer with us. Joe Duffy, Nick Marah, Murt Doyle, the Melia brothers, Charlie and Kevin, and Tommy Murphy.
‘The majority of these lads were on the Rathnew team that won the Seniorc-Championship in 1970. Pat Marah was captain.
‘Sadly Tommy Murphy who was only in his early 20s passed away early that year. Tommy who was a brother of Harrys was a fine footballer, and a great fielder of the high ball around the middle of the park.
‘He had played Minor for the county in 1965 against Kildare along with Andy Jameson, Kevin Melia and Johnny McDonald, and no doubt he would have had a long county career at Senior level.
‘Peter, I didn’t get to you about the Glenealy Minor teams of the early 1960s, with the few sad weeks we had in the village, but I will try and knock something together for next week. ‘Regards, ‘Tommy’.
You are spot on Tommy. It was the Dunne Cup final in which Kilbride beat Rathnew. Except that the date we got for that match was 1969.
THE MEN IN THE PICTURE
Back row: Mosey Coffey, Tom Kelly, Murt Doyle, Andy Jameson, Kevin Melia, John Dowling, Tommy Murphy, Nick Marah.
Front row: Anthony Doyle, Johnny McDonald, Joe Duffy, Joe Jacob, Peter Kearney, Mick Duffy, Charlie Melia, Pat Marah, Mick Lambert.
My old friend ‘Mitch’ was another to name all the players in the picture but like Tommy he was not quite sure of the year or the occasion
Another email from Denise (probably Kavanagh) simply said ‘Last week’s picture was of a Rathnew team’.
But later she came back with all the names except Tommy Kelly – second from the left – back.
That came as no surprise – Tommy was far better known for his skills as a hurler and won Leinster Junior hurling championships with Wicklow – but a good shot Denise.
A WEIRD STORY
(About a Wicklow VS team of yesteryear) - This is a story that no one tells about what County Vocational Football was like in the early days.
It happened before the official Vocational Schools committee was formed in 1968. There was a competition going on in Leinster at the time and Wicklow decided to put in a team in 1963.
A young curate from Carlow town, Fr Dermot McDermott, was in Baltinglass at the time and was the Chairman of the group involved.
Wicklow were drawn against Carlow and the venue was Baltinglass. No ref turned up so Fr. Mac was landed with his first problem.
It was mid-week and not many around but somehow he managed to locate a man known to his friends as ‘the Tiger’. He was a good enough ref and was doing a nice enough job up to half time – but then the fun and games started.
Some of his pals got to know
Can you identify the above team? If so contact Peter on 087 6907589 or email email@example.com what was going on and headed for Dan Kehoe’s field on the banks of the Slaney where the match was going on.
Carlow, it should be added, were leading by a couple of points at the time.
At half time they lambasted the poor ‘Tiger’. “What sort of Wicklow man are you?” – ‘The chaps trying their best and you giving them nothing – you should be ashamed of yourself’.
The second half was a different matter. The ‘Tiger’ was a full blooded Wicklow man; he almost got in and played with the teams.
He gave a free in a scorable position – for what no one could see. A Carlow supporter shouted ‘take it yourself, ref”.
Fr. Mac was spotted getting in to his car; someone asked where he was going – ‘I am needed back at the parochial house – it may be a sick call’.
If there was anyone sick it was surely the good ‘padre’ himself. Carlow mentors threatened to take their team off the field on a number of occasions but somehow the match did finish with Carlow hanging on to win be a point or two.
Neither Fr. Mac nor the ‘Tiger’ were ever seen at Vocational Schools matches again.
FIRST VS COMMITTEE
Just to give balance to that story we look back at the men that formed the first GAA Games Committee in the schools and lifted Vocational Schools football to new and undreamt of heights in Wicklow.
The founding members were Gerry McIntyre (Blessington), Fr Tormey (Dunlavin), Dave Halloran (Baltinglass), Kevin Lee (Carnew), Hugh O’Brien (Rathdrum) and Des Rohan (Wicklow).
Gerry McIntyre was the first secretary but Hugh O’Brien became the first long-serving secretary and remained in that post for 15 years.
They were later joined by other great promoters of Gaelic games like Gerry O’Donoghue, and Arklow man Jim Murphy, who even in retirement is still an active worker on the football front.
And of course they were followers by big hitters like Frank Campbell, Ken Browne and Fergal Boyle all of whom led Wicklow to All-Ireland glory.
Of course there many others who gave freely of their time and resources to promote the games at second level in the Garden County.
However, that is a story that we hope will be penned by people better equipped for the task.
FAREWELL TO MITCH
The sad moment at the county juvenile convention, held in the county buildings in Aughrim on Thursday was when one of the long serving officers Pat Mitchell bade everyone good bye. Pat had served this board and indeed the county adult board for many years in several roles.
He was Eddie Leonard’s sidekick as fixtures maker on the Juvenile front in recent times as well as serving at county PRO for the last five years.
Outside of his official duties Pat always found time to help out everyone else involved in every way possible.
His cheery voice and smiling face will be sadly missed by all who knew him.
Enjoy a well-earned rest Pat, old friend.
BACK ONCE MORE TO 64
We went through the inter-county happenings in other additions and they certainly did not make pleasant reading. Losing on the double to neighbours Carlow does not leave many pleasant memories (Even now I can hear voices pleading ‘would you ever stop reminding us’).
However 50 years ago it was, as nearly always, the club front that brought the big excitement.
I964 was another year when the Chairman of the day Hugh Byrne of Rathdangan handed over the coveted cup to new, first time champions Newtown.
In many ways the little village with the long name (which it was at the time) pulled off the biggest shock in a final since Kilcoole beat the might men of St. Pat’s in a final 10 years earlier.
The ‘Magpies’ first appeared in a winner’s enclosure in 1946 when they won a Junior football championship.
They won another title in that grade in 1951 and it took then another ten years before stepping up another grade be winning the IFC in 1961.
So it came as no surprise that outside their own parish few gave them a chance of stopping the reigning champions Baltinglass. But stop them they did – and in somewhat dramatic fashion.
Baltinglass had chalked up their first goal before the newcomers realised the game was on. That sort of start can sometimes damage hot favourites more than upset outsiders who were expecting to have to deal with that sort of situation and that is exactly whet happened.
By half time Newtown were in front by 2-1 to 2-0 and even Baltinglass knew they had a fight on their hands. With eight minutes to go Baltinglass were two points up and all set to retain their title.
Then Tommy Green struck for his third goal and the fat was in the fire again.
Baltinglass levelled once more and a draw looked on the cards when Eamonn Doyle went on a solo through the defence and drew a foul.
It was a difficult free but Doyle earned his place in history by sending it straight and true between the posts.
The great ‘Fitz’ Moules blew his final whistle shortly after the kick out and the Chairman of the day, Hugh Byrne, presented the cup to the new champions.
The team that made history 50 years ago lined out like this: Sean Greene; Eddie Farrell, Johnny Cooper, Jack Martin; Tommy Moody, Anthony Doyle John Moody, Paddy Pefman, John Carthy, Seamus Power, Bob Dwyer, Peter Heffernan, Eamonn Doyle, Tommy Green and Ollie Ellis. Sub: Pat Doyle.
Others to play a part included – Sean Doyle, Paddy Heffernan, Seamus Farrell, Mick Carroll, Noel Doyle, Pat Davis and Jim Sinnott.
Like most village clubs the really big day only comes around once in a while.
When Newtown’s came again it was in 1976 when they beat Rathnew in the final.
So when a Newtown man tells you that his club only won the SFC on two occasions he is likely to add – but we picked the two greatest clubs in the county to beat on the day.
TOMMY KEOGH R.I.P.
The sudden death of Barndarrig and St. Patrick’s hurler Thomas Keogh shocked east Wicklow last week.
Tommy was a dedicated GAA man and his favourite game was hurling.
The big moment in a long playing career came in 1983 when he captained St. Patrick’s of Wicklow town to victory in the Intermediate hurling championship final.
One of the gifts brought to the altar in Barndarrig Church on Thursday was a photo of Tommy receiving the cup from the then Chairman Peter Keogh.
Tommy’s remains were entered in his local cemetery after requiem Mass on Thursday. Our sympathy
The Newtown team mentioned in the ‘Back Once More to 64’ section.