All set for another rollercoaster ride
WICKLOW Senior football manager John Evans was the only speaker to address the assembled gathering of players, sponsors, club mentors, officials and County Board officers in the County GAA Building in Aughrim on Wednesday, June 19.
The occasion was the launch of the 2019 championship and presented an opportunity for clubs, players, managers to mingle in a relaxed setting before ‘hostilities’ begin.
In a brief few words, the Kerry man honed in on how important the championship is to all club players.
‘It doesn’t matter what the grade, the dream is always to win the county championship. It’s all about that dream,’ he said.
Among the sponsors is Fergal O’Donoghue who knows all about that dream.
The former Kilbride and Wicklow footballer will sponsor the Senior Football Championship with his company Boom & Platform Hire.
John Reidy is a Hurling Man. He grew up in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, where he learned his hurling craft.
When he moved to Clane in Co Kildare he threw in his lot with the local club.
He played with Kildare for a few years and fondly remembers some great battles with Wicklow back in the day.
John still wears his Tipperary hurling heart on his sleeve and speaks of the recent injury to the Premier County’s ‘Bonner Maher’ almost like a death in the family. His son Paudie plays his hurling in Wexford with the Buffers Alley club.
Together they run Lightening Protection Ireland, the new sponsors of the Senior Hurling championship.
John intends to renew his acquaintance with the hurling scene in Wicklow, this time in a more relaxed fashion.
Philip Doyle continues to sponsor the Junior ‘B’ football championship.
When questioned he was unable to say when he began to support this grade. He was unable to recall exactly the beginning but felt it could well be twenty years. The late Paddy Murphy from Tinahely was County Development Officer at the time and he cajoled the financial support from the Aughrim man.
Jimmy Dunne from AGB has seen all this before and was along to support the Arklow contingent.
Having had a hospital stay in recent times, Jimmy is now back to health and looking forward to AGB delivering on the promise of recent years.
Certainly former county footballer Ciaran Hyland would like to see that promise realised as he clings to the hope of seeing his dream of the Miley Cup coming to the seaside town.
Jamie Cullen of Fitzgerald Kitchens was there representing the sponsors of the Junior ‘A’ football championship.
Martin Cullen, Cathaoirleach of Barndarrig club, was present with his son Martin who will be lining out in that Junior championship.
The once powerhouse club in hurling will also be contenders in the Intermediate hurling grade.
Martin Senior is happy that things are progressing nicely. It is good to see another hurling club back in the fold again this year with the entry of Aughrim in the junior competition.
Sean Doyle was on hand representing his colleagues.
A great effort has been put in at juvenile level and now appears to be paying off.
Sean’s clubman Conor Phelan was there in the dual capacity as club treasurer and as a player in the Junior football championship. Another player doubling up was John O’Neill, secretary of the Annacurra club.
All the County Board officials present have only one desire now – Let the games begin, For all clubs and players the only wish is that the dream can come true.
With the hurling championship now well underway the anticipation is directed more towards the football section with the opening game of the 2019 Intermediate Football Championship Group 1 campaign getting underway on Saturday evening in Baltinglass when Ballymanus take on Coolkenno in what promises to be a freneticx encounter as both clubs will be dearly hoping for a positive start.
Coolkenno’s loftier finish in the Division 2 league suggests something of an advantage but their recent defeat to Donard-The glen
in the Liam Cullen Cup semi-final where they only managed three points in 60 minutes will be something of a concern. With games against Annacurra, Laragh, Likmacanogue and Ballinacor on the horizon, a good start is incredibly important.
That game is the only football championship encounter of the weekend but there are some cracking hurling games up for decision.
On Friday evening, St Pat’s will look to bounce back from their defeat to Bray by getting the better of a Carnew side who will welcome back Jack Doyle and Conall McCrea into the panel and who will look for a stronger performance than the one that was suffificent to see them overcome Éire Óg last Sunday.
In Aughrim at the same time the reigning champions Glenealy will line out agianst Paul Carley’s Bray who looked very impressive against St Pat’s at times.
Glenealy endured a bit of trouble against a fully fired up Avondale in Pearse’s Park on Saturday before finishing very strongly and they still have the luxury of being able to welcome back a number of high-profile players such as Leighton Glynn, Warren Kavanagh and others.
Sunday morning sees Kiltegan take on Éire Óg in Blessington at 11am in the SHC.
There will be a full preview of the football championships next week.
Wicklow GAA officials, club players and managers at the launch of the 2019 championships in Aughrim last week.
Senior football players Shane Lohan (Bray Emmets), Ciaran Penn (Avondale), Patrick O’Connor (Blessington), Ciaran Hyland (AGB), Jamie Snell (Rathnew), County Chairman Martin Fitzgerald, Feargal Donohoe ( Boom Platform Hire), Stephen Duffy (St. Pats), Darren Hayden (Éire Óg Greystones), Shane Mooney (Newtown), Matthew Kelly (Hollywood), Brian Walsh (Tinahely) and Peadar Burke (Baltinglass)
Junior ‘C’ Football: John O’Neill (Annacurra), Richie Murray (Barndarrig), John Molloy (Kilmacanogue), Martin Fitzgerald, Thomas Dalton (Tinahely), Eoin Clarke (Hollywood), and Shay Geoghegan and Aidan Miley (Valleymount).
Minor football players Bradley Hickey (Tinahely), Conor Gallagher (Clann na Gael), County Chairman Martin Fitzgerald, and Daniel Hedderman (Tinahely).
Senior hurling representatives, Ciaran Penn (Avondale), John Doyle (Carnew Emmets), sponsor, John Reidy (Lighting Protection Ireland ), Martin Fitzgerald, Gary Byrne (Glenealy) and Mark Lennon (Bray Emmets).
Intermediate football: Colm Coogan (Ballymanus), Cormac Doyle (Carnew Emmets), Martin O’Brien, (Annacurra), Simon Doyle (Kilmacanogue), County Chairman Martin Fitzgerald, Shane O’Rourke (Dunlavin), Mark Murphy (Stratford-Grangecon), Glen Tighe (Kilcoole) and Gary Byrne (Rathnew).
Intermediate hurling: Martin Cullen (Barndarrig), Tony Kinsella (ARP), Martin Fitzgerald, sponsorJohn Reidy, Jody Byrne (Carnew Emmets), Gavin Byrne (Glenealy), and Chris Carroll (Kilcoole).
Junior ‘A’ football: Jamie Miley (Valleymount), Jack Cullen (Hollywood), Dan Nolan (Shillelagh/ Coolboy), James Kavanagh (St. Patricks), Jamie Cullen, Fitzgeralds Kitchens, Martin Fitzgerald, Martin Cullen (Barndarrig), Peter Byrne (An Tochar), Rob Clarkson (Ashford) and Conor Phelan (Aughrim).
Junior ‘B’ football: Shane Slattery (Bray Emmets), Robert Cullen (An Tochar), Raymond McGlynn (Tinahely), John Gethings (Dunlavin), Ciaran McGuirl (Newtown), Philip Doyle (sponsor), Moira Healy, Martin Fitzgerald, Jody Byrne (Carnew), Sean Canna (Knockananna), Gavin Byrne (Rathnew), Gavin Barton (Enniskerry), Brendan O’Sullivan (AGB), and Ciaran Penn (Avondale).
Junior hurling: Ciaran Penn (Avondale), Vincent O’Flaherty (Glenealy), Martin Fitzgerald, Michael Walsh (Bray), and Sean Doyle (Aughrim).