A bad day at the office for hurlers
A bad day at the office for Casey and the hurlers; the growing list of injuries is finally catching up but that hopefully will improve shortly.
Just like the footballers we are finding the going tough in this higher grade.
Mick Hagan's gamble of starting the SFL a month earlier than usual appeared to be paying off although the snow on Saturday evening did threaten to spoil the party. The one thing that came across very clearly at the venues that I attended was the hunger to get back into the action plus no cribbing about having to do without county players.
Where are they now?
A fair bit of interest in last week's picture which was a Wicklow team from the early 1960's.
First man in to name nearly all the players was my old friend Eamon Darcy from Crossbridge.
The player that caught his eye was Tommy Carr from Annacurra, a great footballer with club and county but was sadly taken from us at a young age. Two players in the front threw him.
Ned Foley, a Rathvilly man who played Minor for Carlow but played most of his adult football in London, could also name most of the men in the picture.
Joe McGrath from Arklow was delighted to see Joe Moss's picture in the paper. He told me that Joe was a Donegal lad, studying in Forestry College at the time, and a flying corner forward.
Joe McGrath's brother John was on the Arklow Geraldines team beaten by Baltinglass in the 1963 SFC final. I knew Joe's cousin Fr Matt McGrath well. He was the first Wicklow man to join the Kiltegan Fathers, then known as St Patricks Missionary Society.
Michael Skelly from Newtown was stumped on the second player from the left at the back who is Frank O'Toole from Blessington. However he named all the others except the two Forestry College students Moss and John O'Callaghan; incidentally O'Callaghan's son Jimmy is the new trainer of the Senior football team in Blessington this year.
Michael Skelly was himself a fine footballer back in those days and would have rubbed shoulders with a number of the players in the picture. He played Minor for Wicklow for two years, in 1954 when they were beaten by Kildare in the Championship and 1955 when they won two matches to reach the Leinster semi-final only to be beaten by Meath 3-7 to 3-2 in Croke Park.
Other well known names on both Minor teams of that time included Ken Browne, Harry Fay, Lar Scallan, George Deering, Tommy Leigh and Edmund Nolan.
Dunlavin player and former chairman Tony Allen was another to have a go at naming the men in the picture.
He had no trouble in spotting the Dunlavin man Harry Fay in the front row, and Reilly and Rogers in the back.
And like everyone else he named a very young looking Ken Browne and great veteran goalie, even then, Andy Phillips. Tony saw the name of his one time neighbour and friend Michael Doyle of Glenealy in the 'Corner' last week and would like to send him a good luck message in his retirement.
As Tommy Glynn pointed out last week Michael, a Glenealy player, brought his hurley stick with him when he went to live in Dunlavin, got the lads playing the game and won a JHC in 1982.
In the end we had to ring Johnny Kenny to get the full list of players in the picture which, according to Johnny, reads:
Back Row – l to r: Dick Melia (Ashford); Frank O'Toole (Blessington), Tom McGee, (St Pats), John O'Brien (Bray Emmets), Ken Browne (Baltinglass), Jim Rogers (Donard), Tom Carr (Annacurra), Gerry O'Reilly (Donard).
Front: Tommy Cooney (Ashford), George Carroll (St Pats), John O'Callaghan (Forestry College), Joe Carroll (St Pats), Joe Moss (Forestry College), Harry Fay (Dunlavin), Andy Phillips (St Pats).
Calling the Emmets from Bray
The email below came to us via the scenic route, stopping off first with the Bray Emmets club who passed it on to Jackie Napier but it finally arrived on our desk.
The sender was Trevor Hicks who is trying to trace his grandfather John Ashford.
You will note that he is going back over 100 years so that makes our chances of successfully helping him all the more difficult. One never knows however.
A book called "By the Banks of the Dargle", written by the late Jim Brophy, is a very accurate history of the Bray Emmets Club and also has bits on other GAA activities in the seaside town.
Trevor may find what he wants in that book which can be obtained in the Wicklow County Library in Ballywaltrim, Bray and most likely also in Bray Library.
Anyway we pass the query back to Jackie Napier and our friend in Bray. The email reads: "I have been researching my family history and believe my grandfather John Ashford, also known as Jack, was involved or played for Bray Emmets circa 1900 to 1905? Have you a list of members or players I could have to assist me with my research? Or provide details of a club historian?
John Ashford married Kathleen Behan in 1936 (I believe) and worked as a railway guard in the 1930's but I have been unable to find out much more information. His daughter Anna Maria Ashford was born in 1939 and moved to England circa 1955. Sadly my mother died in 1989 but little is known of her childhood or family."
Over to you Jackie!
The fixture list for the Leinster Club Hurling League has just arrived and straight away it must be said it makes pleasant reading. A record 11 Wicklow teams have been entered and should all fulfil their fixtures it would give hurling in the county another shot in the arm.
It will be recalled that last year two Wicklow clubs – Bray Emmets and Carnew Emmets - qualified for the final in Division 3, the Bray men came out on top after a cracking final at Dr Cullen Park.
However there is a fair bit of travelling involved and getting a team to places like Westmeath on the banks of the Shannon on a Saturday evening is not easy.
Bray Emmets proved last year that there could be gold at the end of the rainbow for anyone prepared to put in the effort and go the extra mile. The seasiders had a great season and reached the semi-final of the Wicklow SHC for the first time in years.
In all 60 teams drawn from all 12 counties in Leinster will take part and the action starts on Saturday March 9.
In Division 1B county champions Glenealy have a stiff start when they travel to Kilkenny to take on Dunnamiggin.
Bray Emmets are also away to Erin's Own Carlow in Division 1D but Carlow have home comforts when they play host to Borris-in-Ossory/Kilcotton of Laois.
In 2A Kiltegan also head for the O'Moore County to take on Colt/St Fintan's.
In 3A ARP also have home advantage when they host Lucan Sarsfields. In 3B St Patrick's travel to Delvin in Westmeath while in 3C Carnew are away to Ringtown HC.
In 3E Avondale are at home to Wexford side Boolavogue. In 3F Glenealy's second team are at home to Ballyboden/St Endas.
Division 4A sees Kilcoole get a bye in the first round which means they will not play their first match until Monday the 18th at home to Clonguish Gaels. In 4B Eire Og also get a bye but play Broadford on the 18th at Greystones.
Happy Hurling to everyone!
Times long past
This week we came across a cutting from a 'Wicklow People' dated December 1905.
That's a long time ago and we don't generally bother with stuff that far back. However we thought this might be of some interest to followers of the games, in particular from Avondale or around Wicklow town.
It was a report on a Wicklow SFC match, played of all places in Bellefield, Enniscorthy.
It was in fact the third meeting of the sides and the report said, politely, 'that it was impossible to bring the match to a definite conclusion on two previous occasions in Arklow'. Nowadays we would just report 'Match abandoned' – much simpler I would say.
Anyway that was what drew the crowds at the time and they certainly gave it the full treatment. The fans arrived in large numbers and the Wicklow Fiffe and Drum Band led them to the field.
No match report mark you but they did give us the teams and tell us that Avondale team were the stronger but still had a tough fight on their hands before winning by eight points.
Avondale: J. Brennan (Capt); J. Kennedy, J. Jordan, P. McDonald, C. Byrne, B. Doyle, L. Murphy, P. McDonald, R. Murphy, W. Rafferty, T. Byrne, T. Smith, H. Byrne, J.Byrner (corner), J. Byrne, Thomas Byrne, T. Butler.
Wicklow Dark Blues: J. Dunne (Capt), G.H. Byrne M. Malson, J. Nicholson, R. Gregory, J. Walker, D. Finlay, P. Redmond, M. Hanlon, J. McGahan, R. Roche, W. Rooney, J. Kavanagh, T. Murphy, E. Bunn, J. Doyle, M.T urner.
I wonder was Roche any relation to 'the Rasher' – perhaps the 'R' stood for rasher.
Could Turner have been the man that later made his name with Ashford, the old East Board and the County Board?
Kilcoole strike Gold
From another old paper dated 1955 I picked out the above heading – just another reminder of how things have changed.
Tournaments for gold medals; gold watches and so forth were common place at that time.
Like the Celtic Tiger they are now a thing of the past. I doubt if gold is used in any medals any more. Anyway gold medals in the house now would be more that your life would be worth.
The match in question was a North District seven-a-side tournament run in Emmet Park, another land mark now gone with the wind.
The match was between Kilcoole and Kilmac and the first sentence in the report read – "The great ball control of goalie Danny Hatton was a feature as well as a factor in Kilcoole's victory".
A year earlier Danny had carved out a place for himself in the history books as Kilcoole's goal keeper in their victory over St Pat's in the SFC final in Aughrim.
At 16 years of age he was the youngest player ever to win a SFC medal.
Kilcoole won that gold medal match by 3-4 to 3-1 and the team was – Danny Hatton, Jimmy Hatton, S. Atkinson, E. Keegan, T. White, George Delaney and S. Kelly.
Kilmac – P. Kelly, N. Stephens, Tony, Paddy and Ben Mulligan, J. Devlin, P. Henry.
Congratulations to our two players Robert Lambert and John McGrath who won Sigerson Cup medals with DIT. Dessie Burton, who sent in this request for good wishes to his Aughrim neighbour Robert Lambert, claims the goalie kept a clean sheet throughout the competition and is the first Wicklow man to win a Sigerson Cup medal since the great Tommy Murphy of Baltinglass.
Congratulations also to James Stafford on getting the chance to play for Leinster in the Inter-Provincial final – even if he did not get a medal.
Get well wishes this week to Treasa Doyle, wife of Michael Doyle of Kilcavan, who is ill in St Vincent's Hospital. This comes from everyone in Carnew but in particular the GAA club.
They are all hoping to see you out and about soon Treasa.