HEROES!

Ju­bi­la­tion for Rath­new as they de­feat Dublin king­pins

Wicklow People - - FRONT PAGE - By MYLES BUCHANAN

RATH­NEW GAA Club sent shock­waves through­out the foot­balling world af­ter stun­ning favourites St Vin­cent’s of Dublin in the Le­in­ster se­nior foot­ball club cham­pi­onship quar­ter-fi­nals on Sun­day.

Rath­new dis­patched the reign­ing Dublin and Le­in­ster club cham­pi­ons 1-13 to 1-9 at Joule Park in Aughrim, re­sult­ing in in­cred­i­ble scenes of ju­bi­la­tion.

Chair­man Robert Dig­nam said Rath­new’s vic­tory was a tes­ta­ment to the amount of prepa­ra­tion put in by the squad.

‘It was a brilliant per­for­mance. Most peo­ple didn’t give us much hope of beat­ing St Vin­cent’s but we knew they had it in them. The play­ers had great be­lief and are a good unit. They are a great bunch of lads and trained re­ally hard, as they al­ways do.’

The vic­tory was all the more re­mark­able given that Rath­new were with­out the in­jured Jody Mer­ri­gan and Nicky Mer­nagh.

RATH­NEW GAA Club caused one of the great­est foot­balling shocks in re­cent years with their Le­in­ster Cham­pi­onship vic­tory over St Vin­cent’s - not that any­one in the vil­lage ever doubted their chances.

Rath­new dis­patched the reign­ing Dublin and Le­in­ster club cham­pi­ons 1-13 to 1-9 at Joule Park in Aughrim, re­sult­ing in in­cred­i­ble scenes of ju­bi­la­tion.

Chair­man, Robert Dig­nam de­scribed the ex­pe­ri­ence as ‘the best since 2001’ when Rath­new were crowned Le­in­ster Foot­ball Cham­pi­ons.

‘It was a brilliant per­for­mance. Most peo­ple didn’t give us much of a hope of beat­ing St Vin­cent’s but we knew they had it in them. The play­ers had great be­lief and are a good unit. They are a great bunch of lads and trained re­ally hard, as they al­ways do.’

Rath­new were ranked 15/2 out­siders with St Vin­cent’s hav­ing won Le­in­ster in their pre­vi­ous four at­tempts. The Wick­low side also had to deal with the loss of Nicky Mer­nagh and Jody Mer­ri­gan through in­jury, with Nicky Mer­nagh hav­ing to pull out on Satur­day through an ap­pen­dici­tis

‘They are two real en­er­getic play­ers who cover a lot of ground, but we man­aged to re­cover from los­ing both of them. The re­ac­tion af­ter the win was one of pure eu­pho­ria. It’s the best day we have ex­pe­ri­enced since the Le­in­ster Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship win back in 2001,’ said Mr Dig­nam.

Vice-Chair­man Lau­rence Ellis said the level of sup­port the squad re­ceived helped to strengthen their re­solve.

‘There were scenes of com­plete ju­bi­la­tion. There were hun­dreds of fans there com­ing on to the pitch at the end of the game and wait­ing for the play­ers to come out of the dress­ing rooms. It’s brilliant to see all the flags fly­ing in the vil­lage.

‘The fans weren’t just from Rath­new as well. They were at the match from through­out the county to cheer us on. The level of sup­port we re­ceived was some­thing else. The play­ers are al­ready think­ing about the next match. They spent Mon­day in the gym and sauna at the Druid’s Glen.’

Rath­new’s Theo Smith, Leighton Glynn, War­ren Ka­vanagh, James Stafford, Damien Power, Gra­ham Mer­ri­gan and Enan Glynn cel­e­brate beat­ing St Vin­cent’s in the Le­in­ster Club Cham­pi­onship in Joule Park, Aughrim, on Sun­day.

Happy fans Jade Mer­ri­gan and Clara Earls at the fi­nal whis­tle.

Holly and Rob­bie Doyle cel­e­brat­ing Rath­new’s vic­tory.

Amanda Malone and Ayla Dig­nam cel­e­brat­ing the win.

Gil­lian Lacey was brav­ing the cold at the start of the match in Aughrim but had de­vel­oped a warm glow by the fi­nal whis­tle.

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