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.
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 email@example.com.