A sea­son to re­mem­ber

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - SPORT -

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.

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