RE­MEM­BER­ING THE LEG­ENDS OF 1969

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

‘YES, 1969 was one year we’ll re­mem­ber’. With these words Jim Bro­phy fin­ishes his ar­ti­cle in the Leathers Echo de­voted to the ex­ploits of the Wick­low Ju­nior Foot­ball team which beat Kerry in the 1969 Home fi­nal played at Croke Park.

1969 was also a great year at un­der-21 foot­ball level with the Gar­den County un­lucky to lose the Le­in­ster fi­nal by a point to a Bobby Mil­lar pow­ered Laois. In fact, Mick O’Toole scored the equal­is­ing point but was ad­judged to have picked the ball from the ground.

There was a huge over­lap of 12 of the un­der-21 play­ers on the ju­nior panel which meant that when the Ju­nior team came to­gether in Mur­phy’s Ho­tel on Satur­day night last, Oc­to­ber 5, to cel­e­brate the 50th an­niver­sary of that great All-Ire­land win, it turned out to be prac­ti­cally a re­union of both sides. With Liam O’Lough­lin do­ing M.C. for the night, it brought the un­der-21 rep­re­sen­ta­tion to 13.

Iar Uachtaran Liam O’Neill and his wife were guests as was Wick­low Uachtaran Fr. Liam Dunne. Thank­fully prac­ti­cally all of the 1969 Ju­nior team were present and en­joyed a great night of rem­i­nisc­ing and nostal­gia.

Full-back Chris Keogh and for­ward Murt Doyle have passed to their eter­nal re­ward but were rep­re­sented on the night. In all, the panel rep­re­sented 11 clubs but the heavy lifting was done by Ash­ford, Ti­na­hely, Strat­ford and Dunlavin with four play­ers each. Rath­new had three while there were lone rangers from Balt­in­glass, Bal­li­nas­toe, Donard, Ark­low Gers, Carnew Em­mets and St. Pa­trick’s.

The Ash­ford brigade was led by cap­tain Noel Carthy, there along with his brother Pat, Mickey Be­han and Gle­nealy hurler/foot­baller Tommy Glynn, Strat­ford’s Pat Cronin, Jim Bol­lard, Joe Cullen and Tom Humphries were there in force as were Dunlavin with Tom Fo­ley, Wil­lie Whe­lan and Liam Keogh.

Mary Sul­li­van, who was there with her hus­band Michael, rep­re­sented her late fa­ther Chris Keogh. The Ti­na­hely crew was rep­re­sented by Jimmy Ho­gan, John Simp­son and Gerry Mo­ran. It was a spe­cial oc­ca­sion for John Simp­son with the Shile­lagh hurler/ foot­baller also cel­e­brat­ing his 70th birth­day.

Gerry trav­eled from New­bridge, Co. Kil­dare where he has resided for many years. He got in­volved in Bord na nÓg ac­tiv­i­ties with the Li­ly­whites and con­tin­ues to fly the flag at un­der­age level.

Rath­new’s Johnny McDon­ald was there while his club col­league Mosie Cof­fey was un­avoid­ably ab­sent but will be in at­ten­dance on Sun­day next when the team comes to­gether at the County fi­nal in Aughrim.

The Bal­li­nas­toe man, John Davis, still re­grets greatly the hand in­jury he re­ceived at work in the week prior to the fi­nal which kept him out.

The great Carnew man, Wil­lie Hil­liard, was un­able to be present but the ex­ploits of the ciotóg hurler/foot­baller were fondly re­called on the night.

Wil­lie Wall of Balt­in­glass and John Doyle of Donard were also present. The Balt­in­glass man was re­turn­ing from a se­ri­ous leg in­jury which had kept him out of the game for al­most two years and came into the panel at the later stages of the cam­paign.

Like a num­ber of the play­ers on that team, John Doyle was also an ac­com­plished hurler and went on to score the win­ner against Hert­ford­shire two years later in the 1971 three-game saga. Sin sceal eile.

An­other player who trav­eled from Kil­dare was Mick O’Toole, the great St. Pa­trick’s club man. Mick spent more than 30 years teach­ing in Kil­dare town, lived in New­bridge and lined out in the Sars­field’s colours for a long time. He now lives in re­tire­ment in Clane.

John Power from Ark­low was sub goal­keeper with the squad and had al­most faded from re­call as he had ‘em­i­grated’ to Tip­per­ary al­most im­me­di­ately af­ter the cam­paign. He played foot­ball in Clon­mel for some years and moved to Gal­way. He even­tu­ally moved to rugby and was one of the lead­ing cam­paign­ers to save Con­nacht Rugby when the IRFU had dif­fer­ent plans for it.

John re­mains heav­ily in­volved but was heartily de­lighted that AGB had got trough to the County foot­ball fi­nal ear­lier in the day when they over­came Bless­ing­ton in their semi-fi­nal re­play in Balt­in­glass.

Ev­ery­one present was de­lighted to see the great Jimmy Hat­ton from Kil­coole present. Jimmy had trav­eled with his son Colm and is hale and hearty in his 80s. Jimmy is the sole sur­vivor of the man­age­ment team of Co. Chair­man Pat Mur­phy, Jim Byrne, Ge­orge Ni­chols, Jimmy Hat­ton and team trainer and cap­tain Mick Far­rell from the Cur­ragh. Mick Far­rell’s ce­ment block regime came in for re­call.

How­ever, the name on most peo­ple’s lips was Pat Mur­phy, who sadly died a cou­ple of years ago and now lies in his fi­nal rest­ing place on the Beara Penin­sula in West Cork. If 1969 is a year to re­mem­ber, Pat Mur­phy is a man who should not be for­got­ten.

Play­ers and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Wick­low Ju­nior foot­ball team who won the All-Ire­land ‘Home’ ti­tle in 1969 who gath­ered in Mur­phy’s Ho­tel last week­end for a cel­e­bra­tion.

John and Lily Davis en­joy­ing the evening in Ti­na­hely.

For­mer GAA Pres­i­dent Liam O’Neill and Martin Cole­man.

Tom and Louise Humphries.

Michael Be­han with Noel and Pat Carthy.

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