A season to remember
GAELIC football fans in Wicklow will never forget Laragh’s magical year of 2017.
Their memorable run through the Junior ‘A’ football championship was capped by their dramatic victory over Kilcoole in the decider.
The scenes when the final whistle sounded were magical as the Laragh men, under the managerial spell of Rathnew’s Decky Byrne, had finally reached the promised land after a long and difficult drought. The celebrations will never be forgotten, or is that remembered?
Following those heroics, a superb victory in Leinster followed, over Kilcavan of Laois and then they ran the eventual Leinster champions, Multyfarnham of Westmeath, close before bowing out.
Here is the 2017 Wicklow People JAFC team of the year
1. Paul Miley (Valleymount): A fine goalkeeper with a really good kick out. Pulled off a number of fine saves in their campaign. Could do little when exposed in the semi-final loss to Laragh.
2. Craig McCoy (Laragh): An essential ingredient in Laragh’s recipe for success in 2017. Plenty of experience to call on having won a Junior B championship as a sixteen-year-old.
3. Peter Merrigan (Laragh): The Laragh man was a real leader and his display in the closing stages of the final was memorable as Kilcoole sought desperately to save the game.
4. Gary Cullen (Laragh): A real cool customer and on field leader for Laragh. Was unlucky to have his final cut short but had a great season.
5. Steven Flanagan (Valleymount): the former Blessington man had a really great year and is a great addition to the Valleymount squad, clever and experienced.
6. Ronan Keddy (Kilcoole): Better known as a hurler he is a super athlete who has played football at county level. Leaves it all on the field every day.
7. Ciaran McGettigan (St Pat’s): The young St Pats man has bags of talent and was superb in the St Pats team’s run to the quarter final.
8. Damien Hanlon (Laragh): He was unplayable at times around the middle. He can kick long range frees off the ground which was an added bonus for the Laragh men.
9. Stephen Byrne (Valleymount): Probably was more influential closer to goal but has the skill to play anywhere he is asked.
10. John Nolan (Laragh): Laragh had a free taker of the highest calibre in their ranks when Nolan lined out. Cool, calm and deadly accurate you paid dearly for your fouls with him around.
11. Steve Olohan (Laragh): A clever player who dictated a lot of what Laragh were doing in play. The sweeper role was one he may not have played much before 2017 but his cleverness and positional awareness suited the job perfectly.
12. Matt Gilbert (Kilcoole): Another fine dead ball merchant. Can also score plenty from play and be as good as he wants to be. Part of a very good forward unit for Kilcoole.
13. Mark Miley (Laragh): Lethal when offered goal chances. Regularly found the net during their championship winning campaign, elusive and strong on the ball.
14. Danny Kavanagh (Kilcoole): Every now and again a player comes along that you feel could make a difference and Kavanagh fits this bill. If he is in the mood, then he is almost unplayable close to goal. Almost single handed put Baltinglass to the sword in the semi-final.
15. Derek Kavanagh (Knockananna): The Knockananna man posted some high tallies as the junior B champs of 2016 came agonisingly close to beating Laragh in a cracker. A real battler in the forward line, brave and gritty.