Wednesday 24 April 2019

Wicklow's star men

Henderson and Kavanagh pick up Christy Ring awards

Wicklow hurlers, from left, Warren Kavanagh and John Henderson, with their Christy Ring Champion 15 Awards during the PwC All Stars 2018 at the Convention Centre in Dublin
Wicklow hurlers, from left, Warren Kavanagh and John Henderson, with their Christy Ring Champion 15 Awards during the PwC All Stars 2018 at the Convention Centre in Dublin

Daniel Gorman

There are now two all-star awards in the Henderson household but Warren Kavanagh wants to see four on the Wicklow panel in 2019.

Bray Emmets ace John Henderson followed in his father John Sr's - an All-Star winner for Kilkenny in 1983 - footsteps and he was joined on the evening by Wicklow captain Warren Kavanagh who was also collecting the prestigious honour.

While Kavanagh's champagne remained on ice with a Leinster championship match to fulfil the following day, Henderson was able to enjoy the evening but he wishes that it was not the highlights of a disappointing overall season for him.

'It would usually be the icing on the cake if you had won something but it definitely makes up for my part with the way the year went; I'd a good few injuries and a few breaks', Henderson levelled.

'With the county, we're disappointed we didn't get over the semi-final.

'We felt that there was definitely a Christy Ring in the team and it's just unfortunate that we didn't really perform in the semi-final. From the club point of view then, it was obviously massively disappointing the way that went so it was kind of a nice pick-me-up to get the award.'

Henderson was not expecting to be nominated but was delighted to see his county team-mate share the stage with him and Henderson holds the Glenealy man in very high regard.

'I was a bit shocked. I missed the semi-final through injury when I broke the wrist but I did put a huge effort in this year because I felt we had a big chance of winning the Christy Ring but it's unfortunate that we came up short in all the competitions that we were in. We definitely think there's a Christy Ring in this team if we can get everyone together and there's a few lads in the county that didn't play this year who'd really add to the whole thing.

'I was delighted to get the award though.

'It's a great honour for myself and the family and the club.

'I get on very well with Warren and he's a brilliant hurler. He's coming on ever year and he's a brilliant leader and was a very good captain.

'You can see with his club that he's really driving them on and I think he's an exceptional hurler and he can play full-back or centre-back or further out the field if he had to.

'He's an exceptional talent and he'll be part of the backbone of the county team for many years to come.'

For Kavanagh, he had another county title to celebrate in 2018 but was delighted to add to his ever-growing trophy cabinet again on Friday and admits that as a Garden County man, he never thought he'd get to grace such a stage.

'Over the moon! I worked so hard over a number of years and it was just brilliant to (be recognised). It was a brilliant achievement and something that my mother and father can enjoy as well.

'It never crosses your mind when you're from Wicklow that you might win an All-Star one day so I was very proud to get the award.'

While he thoroughly enjoyed the experience, it has lit a fire under him for 2019 when he hopes that he, Henderson and co. will bring glory back to Wicklow.

'I was sitting beside the London captain and they got to the final and then you have four Kildare boys there as well because when you win it, you get four lads picked so I want to see four Wicklow lads at the table next year.

'John is one of the best hurlers I've ever played with. Growing up, I played with him and against him so it was nice to win it alongside him.

'I'd have a lot of admiration for John so I was delighted for him.'

Bray People