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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.