Red wave of delight
The Glenealy hurling club were celebrating that great three-in-a-row in the Senior hurling championship at the weekend.
Over 200 supporters, players and guests packed into the Grand Hotel in Wicklow, all hell bent on making this a night to remember. Glenealy had won a three-in-a-row before but that was back in the 1950's and survivors from that era were also present on the night.
Hurling's all time great Henry Shefflin had intended to be present but he was struck down with flu. However one the young Kilkenny stars Paul Murphy took his place and proved a very able deputy and another flu victim and absentee from the guest list was county secretary Michael Murphy.
A very long guest list included Pat Casey, Chairman of Wicklow County Council and new Chairman of Wicklow County Board of the GAA, Martin Coleman and his wife Pattie. Martin, who was one of the main speakers on the night, was attending his first dinner dance since his election.
Other guests included County President Peter Keogh, new County Treasurer Colm Finnegan, PRO Pat Mitchell, Development Officer Andy O'Brien and his wife Anna, Victor O'Shaughnessy and his wife Kathleen, Mick Hagan, Don O'Gorman, Seamus and Margaret Murphy, Paddy O'Toole and Dave Murray.
Niall Geraghty was the very effective MC for the night while his wife Meg was the organiser-in-chief. New club chairman Niall McLoughlin led off with a brilliant speech which set the tone for the night.
Guest of honour Paul Murphy then took the floor and proved that swinging a hurley is not the only thing at which he is accomplished. For him it was a long night as he presented medals and trophies to three winning teams plus a number of other awards.
Team trainer and man of the moment Seamus Murphy then took over and introduced each of his players one by one. Seamus finished his very interesting speech by promising the club that if he got the same commitment from his players that he had received in the past he would be there to lead them in their bid for a four-in-a-row this year.
Players of the Year Awards
It hardly came as any surprise that the Senior player of the year award went to Bosco O'Neill. The Intermediate player of the year went to Wesley Manning while Robbie Driver got the Junior player of the year award. A very popular winner of the Minor player of the year was Jamie Byrne while the young player of the year award went to Gavin Weir.
Special awards went to Meg Geraghty for all her hard work for the club, Ian O'Neill, Intermediate manager and a dozen more things as well and of course Seamus Murphy himself.
Probably the most important item of all on the night was the announcement that the club had purchased land to develop their own facilities.
Martin Coleman highlighted that in his speech and said "this was a most important leap forward by the club. To have your own property and be able to do as you please with it, come and go when you like and develop it one huge step or little by little as you choose is most important. The fact that the sight is right in the centre of the village just across the road from the national school is very important and means that it can become the new centre of the community in Glenealy and the parish in general".
The 21-acre site of level land in Ballyfree is certainly going to guarantee the club's progress into the future.
Overall a night that will go down in the history of the club. Even a number of the men who figured in the first three-in-a-row in 1957, '58, '59 were in attendance. Paul Kelly, Paudge Byrne, Charlie Byrne, Billy Barrett and the secretary of the day Gerry Byrne were some of the veterans that we met.
The Men who got the Medals
Senior - Joey Driver, Colm O'Neill, Trevor McGrath, Michael Anthony O'Neill, Bosco O'Neill, Ger Devlin, Niall Keogh, Gary Byrne, Philip Dunne, Michael John O'Neill, Thomas Doyle, Nigel Driver, Robert Byrne, Wayne O'Gorman, Eoghan Dunne, Gavin Byrne, Enan Glynn, Wesley Manning, Leighton Glynn, Gavin Weir, Alan Driver, Ruaidhri O'Neill, John Manley, Alan Conyard, Joseph Driver Jnr, Aaron Nugent, Keith Snell, Danny Staunton, David Nolan, Jack Kavanagh, Glen O'Gorman, Cian Kelly, Jamie Byrne, Emmet Byrne, Lee Kavanagh, Shane Keogh, Eoin O'Neill, Anto Driver, Barry O'Neill, Warren Kavanagh, Stefan O'Brien, Stephen Cody, Vinnie O'Flaherty, James Manley.
Intermediate - Niall Keogh, Keith Snell, Warren Kavanagh, Wesley Manning, Ruaidhri O'Neill, Joe Driver Jnr, David Nolan, Eoin O'Neill, Jack Kavanagh, Glen O'Gorman, Cian Kelly, Danny Staunton, Vinny Flaherty, Lee Kavanagh, Barry O'Neill, Stephen Coady, Aaron Nugent, Anto Driver, M.J. O'Neill, Gavin Byrne, Jamie Byrne, Alan Conyard, Gavin Weir, John Manley, James Manley, Emmet Byrne, Stefan O'Brien, Shane Keogh.
Junior - Ciaran Manley, Stefan O'Brien, Ian O'Neill, Robert Driver, Cian Kelly, Declan Doyle, Shane Keogh, Jack Kavanagh, Emmett Byrne, Daniel Staunton, Glen O'Gorman, Vincent Flaherty, Jamie Byrne, Anthony Doyle, James Manley, Alan Kearns, James Mernagh, Conor Linnane, Ross O'Brien, Wesley Manning, John Manley, Robin Farrelly, Eoin O'Neill.