KEOGH’S COR­NER

Bray People - - SPORT - WITH PETER KEOGH

THE boys from the Post Pri­mary were the only ones in ac­tion over the week­end. A team man­aged by Hugh Kenny took on Wex­ford in the first round of the Le­in­ster Cham­pi­onship

at Bal­li­nakill on Satur­day to round off the year. You can read all about it else­where.

Our Christ­mas break is get­ting shorter and shorter each year. The ac­tion starts again on Jan­uary 4 when Johnny Magee’s newlook team take on Car­low IT in a re­peat of last year’s opener in the O’Byrne Cup.

In the mean­time we wish all read­ers of the Cor­ner an happy, peace­ful, and en­joy­able Christ­mas and we’re look­ing for­ward to hear­ing from all of you in the new year.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

The pic­ture in last week’s Cor­ner was of an event that hap­pened 25 years ago but the men in the pic­ture had earned their place in his­tory another quar­ter of a cen­tury back.

They were the Wick­low hurl­ing team that beat Kil­dare in the Le­in­ster Ju­nior Hurl­ing Cham­pi­onship in En­nis­cor­thy in 1964. That night they had as­sem­bled in Law­less’s ho­tel in Aughrim to cel­e­brate the sil­ver ju­bilee of the big day.

We gave you the names of that team a few weeks ago so there is no need to go back over that again. In both pic­tures the play­ers only are in­cluded but we can tell you that Jackie Napier is now the only sur­viv­ing men­tor.

Sean O’Far­rell was the driv­ing force be­hind that team and other se­lec­tors were Frank Kear­ney, who was also Chair­man of the Hurl­ing Board, Mick Lee, Sean Hal­la­han, and one from the Forestry Col­lege.

We are not giv­ing you the line out of the team again but play­ers that stand out in the pic­ture in­clude Tom Scott, George Delaney, Tommy Cole­man, Ni­cholas Scal­lon, John Thorpy and Tommy Kelly in the back row and Jack Kil­bride, Jimmy Hat­ton and Sean Doyle in the front.

AN ICON DEPARTS

Its that time of year when ev­ery­one is look­ing back on the hap­pen­ings of the last 12 months, the highs and the lows, the good days and the not so good.

For many of us it could be all about friends we lost in one way or another. One such man to de­part the big stage in 2014 was Michael Delaney, long time sec­re­tary of the Le­in­ster Coun­cil of the GAA.

When Michael de­cided to step a side Wick­low lost one great friend and bene­fac­tor. After over 40 years of ded­i­cated ser­vice Michael Delaney stepped down as sec­re­tary of the Provin­cial Coun­cil. To say that he will be missed is a gross un­der­state­ment.

He was a great friend to Wick­low and had many ad­mir­ers in this county. When he first took over the post of sec­re­tary from Ciaran O’Neill, one of the first func­tions he at­tended was in Wick­low, when we were pre­sent­ing Le­in­ster and All-Ire­land medals to hurl­ing and foot­ball teams – a rare enough hap­pen­ing in the Gar­den County.

From that day on­wards he was a great friend of our county and al­ways ready to lend a help­ing hand or give in­valu­able ad­vice in good times or bad.

In fact he ex­tended a con­nec­tion we had with Le­in­ster Coun­cil that dated back to 1927 when Martin O’Neill be­came sec­re­tary of the provin­cial body.

While Martin was a Ferns in Wex­ford man he lived and raised his fam­ily in No­vara Rd in Bray and be­came one of our favourite adopted sons. He led the Em­mets to Se­nior foot­ball cham­pi­onship suc­cess and cap­tained the Wick­low team that won a first ever All-Ire­land cham­pi­onship in Ju­nior foot­ball in 1936. When he re­tired in 1969 he was re­placed by his son Ciaran who held the post for six years.

How­ever, when Laois man Michael Delaney took over at the start of 1976 lit­tle was known about him other than he was a hurl­ing man, had won a Croke Cup medal with St Kieran’s Col­lege Kilkenny and was a reg­u­lar on his own Cam­ross Se­nior team in Laois and a school teacher. Michael’s term was long and fruit­ful.

He served un­der 13 dif­fer­ent Chair­men start­ing with Wex­ford man Jim Roche and end­ing with Dublin man John Horan. He had a great re­la­tion­ship with all of them.

Two Wick­low men that he had a par­tic­u­larly close re­la­tion­ship with were Hugh Byrne and Jack Booth­man. Hugh, who was Chair­man of Le­in­ster Coun­cil from 1957 to ’59, and later be­came Pres­i­dent of the As­so­ci­a­tion, was in the chair long be­fore the Delaney era but was also trea­surer of the coun­cil for many years and in that ca­pac­ity sat be­side the sec­re­tary at the top ta­ble.

Booth­man ar­rived in 1987 when Michael was at the high of his pow­ers and pop­u­lar­ity and served with him for six years as Chair­man elect and as Chair­man.

How­ever that re­la­tion­ship goes back fur­ther that that. It was as a re­sult of Delaney’s prompt­ings that Booth­man took over the man­age­ment of the Le­in­ster Rail­way Cup foot­ball team in 1985.

The Wick­low man was in the hot seat for four years and equalled the record set in the early 1950’s when the Rogers, Reilly, and Fitzpatrick team pulled of the first ever fourin-a-row for the prov­ince.

Booth­man brought in Wick­low born John O’Leary as goal­keeper and only a piece of bad luck pre­vented O’Leary from equalling the record set by Jim Rogers of play­ing in all four fi­nals. The date of the fi­nal was changed and clashed with O’Leary’s hol­i­day plans.

So it was another Dub, Ciaran Duff, that moved in to share that four-in-a-row record. And need­less to add that Booth­man’s record of man­ag­ing that four-in-a-row teams also still stands. The Re­tire­ment Party Need­less say that re­tire­ment party in the Her­itage Ho­tel in Port­laoise was one of the big so­cial events of the past year. Trib­utes poured in from all quarters.

The Pres­i­dent Liam O’Neill; Ard Stiurthoir Padraig Duffy and many of the chair­men he served un­der, in­clud­ing Jack Booth­man. You must have ei­ther a thick skin or a sense of hu­mour – or prefer­able both to ap­pre­ci­ate, or even tol­er­ate, a trib­ute from the big Bless­ing­ton vet. His trib­ute came close to be­ing un­print­able but we will give you a few snip­pets.

He starts off by say­ing – Ev­ery­one will ex­tol the ded­i­ca­tion and in­dus­try of Michael, and rightly so but I will take a dif­fer­ent ap­proach. I will tell of a se­ries of ‘firsts’ in my time as­so­ci­ated with Michael Delaney, all based on his abil­ity to take a chance on new ideas no mat­ter how far-fetched. I am still hor­ri­fied at the thought that if a five-year rule was in place at the time, all that wis­dom and ex­pe­ri­ence would have been lost to the Coun­cil.

‘Hous­ing the home­less’ must take pride of place. The credit was given to my­self, Jimmy Grey and Jim Berry but, in re­al­ity, the credit was due to the Coun­cil who backed a hare­brained idea to the hilt and, de­spite ris­ing costs, Aras Laugh­ean was born.

With a new of­fice in place another ‘first’ was a search for a com­puter. The fact that no-one knew any­thing about com­put­ers was not a de­ter­rent, once we dis­cov­ered a but­ton that would cor­rect spellings. We later dis­cov­ered that us­ing Ir­ish names would cause black to smoke to spew out.

The next ‘first’ was the pur­chase of walkie-talkies for crowd con­trol. After get­ting one unit we dis­cov­ered he had no one to talk to so another one had to be pur­chased. It gave us great sat­is­fac­tion when Le­in­ster fi­nal came round and we could demon­strate how ad­vanced we were.

250 words later he comes back to re­al­ity and says – the last 40 years has given Nuala and me a ded­i­cated and life-long friend.

Michael, we wish you and Ter­essa and your fam­ily many more years of good health to en­joy your re­tire­ment.

Martin Cole­man, Chair­man of Wick­low County Board of the GAA, who along with his wife, Pat­tie, were guests at a func­tion, held in the Her­itage Ho­tel, Port­laoise, paid this brief trib­ute to the re­tir­ing of­fi­cial – ‘Le­in­ster Coun­cil has had many no­table ad­min­is­tra­tors in its 114-year his­tory. This year we say goodbye to one of the great­est, Michael Delaney. Un­der his guid­ance we have wit­nessed amaz­ing changes in the Coun­cil both in ad­min­is­tra­tion and games de­vel­op­ment. Over those past 40 years Wick­low had a great re­la­tion­ship with Michael. One of his first du­ties way back in 1976 was to at­tend a pre­sen­ta­tion evening in the County.

‘On be­half of all the Gaels of the county I say thank you to Michael and wish him a very well de­served and happy re­tire­ment’.

Other Wick­low peo­ple that at­tended the func­tion along with Martin and Pa­tri­cia Cole­man were Mick Ha­gan, Mick Murphy, Vic­tor O’Shough­nessy, Jimmy Dunne and Tom Walsh, all men that had served un­der Michael dur­ing his years in of­fice.

And from the ‘Cor­ner’ we also say – a happy and well-earned re­tire­ment Michael and may you have many years to en­joy the sort of free­dom your hon­ours job robbed you of.

TOUR­NA­MENTS

A snip­pet I came across in a ‘Wick­low Peo­ple’ of 1964 brought back mem­o­ries of a GAA fea­ture no longer with us. It was the lo­cal tour­na­ments and they were very much part and par­cel of the ac­tion in days now long gone.

The match in ques­tion was the fi­nal of the Moone Tour­na­ment be­tween Balt­in­glass and Kil­cullen of Kil­dare. I was quite fa­mil­iar with that par­tic­u­lar one, mainly be­cause a lot of the matches were played in Bill Hendy’s field at the back of a house in Mul­lagh­mast where my sis­ter lived.

They used furs bushes or branches off trees to mark out the pitch and the only con­ces­sion to civil­i­sa­tion was a bucket of lime used to mark the square.

But the matches were played with a pas­sion that would match or even sur­pass the cham­pi­onship. One thing that stood out was that the or­gan­is­ers al­ways ap­peared to be able to dig up a fairly de­cent ref­eree.

Balt­in­glass, the pa­per told us, won that match by a cou­ple of points. The fi­nal score was Balt­in­glass 1-10; Kil­cullen 3-2. Some of the Balt­in­glass names men­tioned in­cluded John Con­nell, Ken Browne, Tony Nor­ton, Lar Nor­ton, Pat Rogers, An­drew Buchan­non, Tommy Leigh, Noel Scott, Bobby Nolan and P. Nolan. While the re­port did not name a goal­keeper in was almost cer­tain to be the ever-re­li­able John Rogers who never missed a match.

Other tour­na­ments that stand out in the mem­ory in­cluded the Quinn Cup in Balt­in­glass which at­tracted top teams from all the neigh­bour­ing coun­ties. I can re­mem­ber fi­nals be­tween Donard and The East­ern Com­mand from the Curragh, or St. Mary’s Sag­gart and Balt­in­glass.

Dan Ke­hoe’s field on the banks of the Slaney would be packed to ca­pac­ity on Quinn Cup fi­nal day.

On the hurl­ing front the Ferns tour­na­ment stood out and a fi­nal be­tween the Carnew team of the time and Buf­fers Al­ley would also be a sell out.

One of my out­stand­ing mem­ory of one such a fi­nal was a tremen­dous bat­tle be­tween Martin Do­ran at full-back for Carnew and Tony Do­ran, the great Wex­ford full-for­ward. Carnew could hold their own with any team at the time.

ANDY Ket­tle R.I.P.

The death of Andy Ket­tle, Chair­man of the Dublin County Board of the GAA shocked and sad­dened all who knew him. Andy’s short enough term in the hot seat was a very fruit­ful one.

He was part of a great up­surge in the for­tunes of the Dublin foot­ballers and hurlers.

He saw the Se­nior foot­ballers lift two All-Ire­land ti­tles and the Mi­nors also taste All-Ire­land glory. The hurl­ing up­surge dur­ing his stew­ard­ship was equally im­pres­sive. They won the Le­in­ster SHC for the first time since Noel Drum­goole lifted the cup in 1961 and also win a NHL ti­tle.

County Chair­man Martin Cole­man and new Cen­tral Coun­cil Rep. Andy O’Brien led a large con­tin­gent of sym­pa­this­ers from Wick­low at the fu­neral.

In­ter­ment took place in Rolestown Cemetary after Re­quiem Mass in St. Brid­get’s Church on Fri­day.

Our sym­pa­thy to his wife Phyl­lis, sons Pa­trick, Peter and Eoin, daugh­ters, Ni­amh, Orla and Cinta and ex­tended fam­ily.

May he rest in peace..

Can you iden­tify the team and oc­ca­sion above? If so con­tact Peter on 087 6907589 or email pe­terkeogh­gaa@gmail.com.

Jack Booth­man.

Hugh Byrne.

Michael Delaney.

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