All set for another roller­coaster ride

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - LIAM O’LOUGH­LIN Sports Re­porter

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.

Pho­tos: Joe Byrne

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).

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