CON­VEN­TION done and dusted, the last ball in all Cham­pi­onships pucked of kicked, no won­der there was a happy smile on the face of County Chair­man Martin as he left the county GAA build­ings in Aughrim on Satur­day night.

There is some out­stand­ing business to be looked after but it is mostly of a pleas­ant na­ture. Pre­sent­ing awards to the big per­form­ers of the past year; the long-de­layed pre­sen­ta­tion of hurl­ing medals. Ev­ery­thing inside the four walls of the gar­den is lovely. It is when we are ex­posed to the harsh re­al­ity of the out­side world that the trou­ble starts.

How­ever things are look­ing up on that front and be­fore long we may be able to take on all com­ers again.

Where are they now?

Bless­ing­ton’s well known groundskeeper Mick Cur­ran was first in to name the team in last weeks Cor­ner. He was able to give us day, date and the event and of course name the play­ers in the pic­ture.

It was the Donard team that won the Ju­nior foot­ball Cham­pi­onship in 1972, 42 years ago. They beat Bal­ly­manus in the fi­nal in Aughrim with Tom O’Neill giv­ing a man of the match dis­play.

Foot­ball was played in and around Donard from the very early days of the As­so­ci­a­tion. The St Lau­rence O’Toole’s in Imaal were prob­a­bly the first af­fil­i­ated club in the parish and played in the first cham­pi­onships in 1887 but Donard were in there soon after.

Tim Moyni­han was one of the men that set up the first West Board in 2010 and was its first trea­surer. It was another adopted son of the Vil­lage Andy Toomey that re­ally put that board on its feet when he took over as Sec­re­tary in the late 1920’s but that is a story for another day. We have learned from his­tory that the glory days in the small vil­lage club any­where lasts on av­er­age around 20 years.

Donard was to prove one of the re­ally great vil­lage clubs in the his­tory of Wick­low foot­ball. They won the first of six cham­pi­onships in 1937 and the last in 1957 but that golden era started back in the early 1930’s when the Ju­nior and In­ter­me­di­ate cham­pi­onships were won.

Win­ning cham­pi­onships was not easy at the time. A great Rath­dan­gan team was there at the start and beat them in their first bid for glory in 1936. Then along came Rath­new to win a three in a row in the early 1940’s. No sooner had Donard over­come that ob­sta­cle than a new power sprung up in the East – Bal­li­na­cor and that set up one of the great ri­val­ries of the late 1940’s

Then it was St Pa­tricks, one of the great­est club teams of that time. So to get six ti­tles in such an era was noth­ing short of mighty.

How­ever it was the deeds of their three Rail­way Cup play­ers – Paddy Len­non, Jim Rogers and Gerry O’Reilly that re­ally shot Donard into the na­tional head­lines. The golden voice of Michael O’He­hir on St Pa­tricks Day as he de­scribed he the deeds of Rogers or Reilly – the ‘Rub­ber ball from Donard’ he called the lat­ter – and with that spe­cial ro­man­tic ring it was cer­tainly mu­sic to the ears of all Wick­low lis­ten­ers.

The crash came after the ’57 win and men­tors had a fight on their hands. The Ju­nior teams tried as hard as any oth­ers, but got lit­tle recog­ni­tion. Sup­port­ers used to a diet of sir­loin steak were re­luc­tant to ac­cept two fried eggs.

That win in 1972 was to prove a life­line and a turn­ing point in the his­tory of the club and ended a15 year long drought.

The glory days may have been in the past but Donard were learn­ing to live as a good sound vil­lage club, con­cen­trat­ing on im­prov­ing fa­cil­i­ties and pro­vid­ing games for the youth of the area. And we got plenty of ev­i­dence on the health of the club over the past year.

Men in the pic­ture

Back row, from left: Tom Humphries (Trainer); Sean Flynn, Pat O’Neill, Paddy Toomey, John Doyle, Vincent Ka­vanagh, Martin Donoghue, Richard Lynch, John Wal­she, An­thony Wal­she, Don Fen­ton, Fr V Dempsey C.C.

Front: Tom O’Neill (Man of the match), Sean Byrne, Frank Malone, Frank Flynn, (Capt), N. Murphy, Peter Daly, Billy Doyle, Bill Walsh, and Patsy O’Reilly.

Tommy Glynn email

“Peter, I would like to clear up the year of that Kil­bride Dunne cup win and con­firm it was the 1968 com­pe­ti­tion. I have a rec­ol­lec­tion that Tommy Clarke didn’t play in the fi­nal against Rath­new, I think he was in­jured. Maybe some of the Kil­bride boys could con­firm that. Kil­bride won the dou­ble that year as they also beat Balt­in­glass in the Se­nior Cham­pi­onship fi­nal by a point 1-4 to 1-3”.

All I can say about that Tommy is that any year you beat Balt­in­glass and Rath­new, as Kil­bride did, you cer­tainly de­serve to be crowned real Cham­pi­ons.

“In relation to your piece on Mi­nor hurl­ing in the early 1960s. Gle­nealy won the Cham­pi­onship in 1964 when we de­feated St. Kevin’s in Ash­ford 5-3 to 2-1. This was Gle­nealys 3rd ti­tle in 5 years, as we also had won 1960 and 1961 (Jackie Napier should re­mem­ber the 1960 fi­nal as he was on the Bray team Gle­nealy de­feated that year). In those years we had the Dis­tricts and knock out com­pe­ti­tion at un­der­age level, and if you won your Dis­trict you qual­i­fied for the county semi-fi­nal. Gle­nealy won the East Dis­trict Mi­nor cham­pi­onship6 years in a row 1960/1965. Rath­new were our big­gest ri­vals in the East, and we al­ways seemed to meet them in ei­ther the semi or fi­nal and it was al­ways a tough game, but we al­ways seemed to have the edge in tight en­coun­ters. In the 1964 East fi­nal played at Ash­ford we won 5-6 to 4-5. The Gle­nealy team and scor­ers that day were Ray Donoghue, Liam Hamil­ton, Brian Carthy, Gene An­der­son, Pat Doyle, James Ward, Sean O’Brien, Tommy Glynn (1-0), Frankie Fitzpatrick, John Doyle (1-2), Dick Byrne (0-1), Micky O’Neill (2-2), Ken Quinn, Kevin Byrne (1-1), Tony Be­han.

Gle­nealy made two changes for the county fi­nal against St.Kevin’s, Joe Kelly and Noel Staunton came in for F Fitzpatrick and D Byrne. A lot of those play­ers went on the play for the county at Mi­nor, Un­der-21 and Se­nior level, but un­for­tu­nately emi­gra­tion took its toll as well.

Peter that’s an in­ter­est­ing camogie photo you had last week. I will leave it for some­one else to give you the de­tails, suf­fice to say there is a strong Gle­nealy con­nec­tion on the dou­ble”.

No doubt Tommy you are re­fer­ring, quite rightly to the O’Gor­man sis­ters. If Gle­nealy had no team at the time then the girls were free to play for another club and ap­par­ently the O’Gor­mans chose An­nacurra.

All-Ire­land glory

Last week I broke bread with a man who told me that he had played in13 All-Ire­land hurl­ing fi­nals. It wasn’t Henry She­flin, or Tommy Walsh or J.J or any of the all-con­quer­ing Cats. This was a Wick­low man, born and bred and could give me days and dates, re­sults and ev­ery­thing else to back up his story. He showed me the six All-Ire­land medals he had won and even let me look at the rest of his im­pres­sive trea­sure trove. No names at this stage but you will find the full story else­where in this sports sec­tion.

The big break­through

In 1989 a great Balt­in­glass team made the big­gest break­through in Wick­low club foot­ball his­tory when they be­came the first ever Wick­low win­ners of the Le­in­ster Club Cham­pi­onship.

On Sun­day that team and their men­tors trav­elled to Na­van to where the Club Cham­pi­onship fi­nal of 2014 was be­ing played to cel­e­brate their achieve­ment. And to make things even bet­ter, if that were pos­si­ble, the ref­eree for Sun­day’s fi­nal was Balt­in­glass club­man An­thony Nolan. Read more about it else­where.

Fi­nal score from ’64

It’s time we brought the cur­tain down on 1964, a year that brought great joy to some and bit­ter dis­ap­point­ment to oth­ers. It was a year when the Wick­low hurlers lifted a Le­in­ster crown for a sec­ond time and was to prove to be a launch­ing pad for what was ar­guably the best decade in our hurl­ing his­tory. It was a year of bit­ter dis­ap­point­ment for our foot­ballers and that dou­ble de­feat to neigh­bours Car­low in the Cham­pi­onships in Athy took some time to live down.

On the home front it was a year that will linger for ever in the an­nals of foot­ball his­tory in New­town who made the big break­through in Se­nior foot­ball. Avon­dale also have fond mem­o­ries of that year while Val­ley­mount had one of their best foot­ball teams in a long time On the other hand there was heart­break for Balt­in­glass; the Slaneysiders had a great team at the time, they had won the Se­nior foot­ball cham­pi­onship in 1963 and got their first three in a row in ’65,’66 and ’67. Had they landed the big fish in ’64 it would have set them up for a his­tory mak­ing five in a row. If any­one wants to know how dif­fi­cult it is to crack that five-in-a-row just ask Mick O’Dwyer or Brian Cody. Now you can make that a trio by adding Johnny Kenny.

The Ju­nior foot­ball fi­nal of 1964 – St Pa­trick 7-5, Bless­ing­ton 3-4:

Even if they had slipped a bit a bit from the all time high of the 1950’s St Pa­tricks were still a force to be reck­oned with and had a great Ju­nior team that year. They swept all be­fore them in the East and came up against a promis­ing Bless­ing­ton team in the county fi­nal. The Wick­low town boys rat­tled in five goals in the first half and there was no way that a shell­shocked Bless­ing­ton side could stage a come­back. They did try hard and pulled back a cou­ple of goals but a good St Pat’s de­fence an­chored by George Wall proved far too strong. ‘Pats had two other out­stand­ing play­ers on that team. Fran O’Neill and Sean McGauley and both made the se­nior team the next year.

St Pat’s: John Quinn; Mick. Dunne, Jim Flynn, Shy.Byrne; Sean McGauley, George Wall, Jack Boyco; Teddy Dunne, Tom Dunne; Paddy(Dig­ger) O’Brien, Sean Cof­fey (Capt), Pat White; Fran O’Neill, Noel Fur­long, JoeyKelly. Sub: A Earls.

Bless­ing­ton: Tony Bird; M.Reid, J.McGee, Dave Byrne; Ai­dan Cruise, Wil­lie Hen­drick, John Coogan, Gerry McIn­tee; W.Sheer­dan , A Do­ran, D. Coogan, Sea­mus Breen, John Murphy, O. Gil­heany, M.Lyons, M. Do­ran. Ref­eree: Tom Clandil­lon.

• That St Pats team were pro­moted to the In­ter­me­di­ate grade but there was only three teams. Carnew and Dunlavin were the other two. The Cham­pi­onship was played on a League sys­tem – home and away. St Pats won their first two games but then col­lapsed and were slaugh­tered by Carnew in the fi­nal match in Carnew.

The losers group

Be­lieve it or not there was a losers group in the Se­nior foot­ball cham­pi­onship in 1964; we came across a re­port on the fi­nal in the Wick­low Peo­ple of the time. And again you may find it hard to be­lieve but Rath­new were in that fi­nal. They pipped neigh­bours Ash­ford in that low scor­ing game - 2-3 to 1-4 - fi­nal.

An­thony Doyle was the cap­tain and other prom­i­nent names to get a men­tion were John Dowling, Shay Cof­fey, Nicky Marah and Peter Kear­ney.

Prom­i­nent on the Ash­ford team were – Noel and Brian Carthy, Pat Law­less and Charlie Kelly

*In the Ju­nior foot­ball cham­pi­onship fi­nal of 1964 St Pa­tricks beat Bless­ing­ton by 7-5 to 3-4 but that story will have to wait un­til next week.

Get well wishes

Great Dunlavin and Wick­low ac­tivist Jimmy Whit­tle is un­well and de­tained in hos­pi­tal. Jimmy was one of Mick O’Dwyer’s men but long be­fore that he was well known as a hurler, foot­baller and club and county men­tor. A lit­tle rest won’t do you any harm Jimmy. You can take time to pol­ish up the hurl­ing medals you won with Val­ley­mount and your Dunlavin foot­ball medals – but con­cen­tra­teon get­ting well.

Pat Gam­mell RIP

Our Sym­pa­thy to the Gam­mell fam­ily of Kil­coole on the death of Pat. Pat was in­terred in Kilquade new cemetary after mass in Kil­coole on Mon­day morn­ing. To his wife Kath­leen, sons, daugh­ters and ex­tended fam­ily we of­fer out con­do­lences.

Bren­dan Tumulty RIP

One of Wick­low’s great foot­ballers from the 1950’s Bren­dan Tumulty died in New York.

More de­tails later.

Can you iden­tify the men inthe photo above? If so con­tact Peter on 087 6907589 or email Peter Keogh on pe­terkeogh­

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