Sunday 21 January 2018

A lot of WW cars and buses heading north this weekend

Harry's footballers take on Armagh at the Morgan Athletic grounds in Armagh City on Sunday but before that three clubs, Blessington, Tinahely and St Patrick's travel to Derry to represent Wicklow at Feile 2013.

Taking on any Ulster club at the present time is a mighty task. They have 'Sam' up there now and we are told they intend to make him a prisoner.

However memories of our last trip to Armagh two years ago should fill us with hope. That day we got a draw after extra time and in fact it was Armagh that had to come from behind.

We also had a fair bit of support on that occasion and if we get the same this time it could be half the battle. Reports from the training camp are good; spirits are high so we have every reason to hope for a good result.


The picture of a hurling team of two weeks back brought little response but a few people did suggest that it was not a Wicklow team.

How right they were so do we just throw in the towel? How wrong we were to even think that way! That picture got in partly by mistake but it did teach us one lesson - there is nothing that the readers cannot solve - talk about Google.

This email arrived a week late for reasons that the sender Alan Lawlor from Wicklow was able to explain. It read - Hi Peter -

I think that's a Laois Minor team that reached a Leinster final in the mid 90s. Christy Jones the former Laois half back is the manager and the team includes David and Paul Cuddy. Alan Lawlor.

That was followed by a second email which gave us the reason why Alan and others in Wicklow would remember the team. It read -

Hi Peter, Further to our chat last week, Laois reached two Leinster minor hurling finals in 1990 and 91 the photo is the 91 team. In 1990 we beat Laois in Arklow in the Leinster league Division 1B and ended up playing them in the final in Ashford where we lost by four or five points - they reached the Leinster final and were very competitive against a Kilkenny team that went on to win the All-Ireland with players including Andy Comerford and PJ Delaney.

Alan of course is correct they were the Laois team that beat Dublin in the Leinster Minor semi-final - 3-11 to 1- 12 and ran Kilkenny close enough in the final, losing by 3-15 to 0-15.

Last week's team was from the Arklow Rock Parnells club and what was a bit unusual about them was they were footballers.

As we all know the 'Rocks are far better known for their powers with the hurley stick and very few now would associate them with football.

First one in with the correct answer was Joe Ryan from Arklow.

And he is one of the men in the picture. Now Joe was better known as a champion at handball which left me thinking that perhaps this was a collection of hurlers and handballers playing football in their spare time.

Joe believes that the year was 1958 or around that time. He was also able to name all the players.

Pat Reilly, a son of a very famous father, the man that captained Wicklow to that great victory in the All-Ireland Junior hurling final in 1971 was next in.

He believed that Mick Farrell, a man who was on most of the Senior and Junior championship winning team with the 'Rocks was also on the team.

That is something we will have to pass over the jury (the readers) to decide.


Back row (left to right) - Hughie Farrell; Kevin Walker, John Gilbert, Danny McDonald, Stephen Morrissey, Seamus Barnes, Colm Byrne and Joe Ryan.

Front - Jim McDonald, Joe Wolohan, Pat Power, Joe Walker, John McDonald, Alan Byrne and Con Cutland.

The man that gave me the picture was John Kelly, a man that has devoted the major part of his life to promoting hurling in Arklow, as a player with club and county and later as a mentor.

He is at present one of Michael Neary's selectors with the Wicklow U-21 hurling team. While he was not sure he put a possible date of 1955/'56 on the picture.

Any more information on that one?


With Junior football, and county Junior teams back in the news this week we thought we would look back and see who Wicklow were fairing in the grade 40 years ago.

The Junior football championship at intercounty level was discontinued after the final of 1973 and was not played again until 1983 but Wicklow started off with a good win over Louth, even though they had to make the long journey to Ardee. They beat Louth by 1-11 to 2-04 with the following team -

Brain Finnegan (St Patrick's); Tony Walsh (Donard), Phillip Behan (Ashford), Tom Scott (Baltinglass); Charley Daynes (Dunlavin), Brian Carthy (Ashford), Sean Keogh (Kiltegan), Owen Doyle (Avondale); Jim (Butch) Darcy (Tinahely) Pat O'Connor (Ashford), John Heaphy (A Kerry man playing for Kilbride), Peter Clarke (Kilbride), Tim O'Connor (St Kevins), Tony Norton (Baltinglass), and Mick Behan (Ashford). Subs used - Pat Hedderman (Tinahely) and Don Fenton (Donard).

Hopes were high as we headed back for the Wicklow hills that evening; could this be the start of another successful voyage in a grade that had been good to Wicklow? It was not to be. As often happens the Senior selectors came raiding and it was a team greatly reduced in strength that went out to take on Meath in the next round and we were well beaten.

In fact no less than 10 of the team were promoted for the SFC match against Laois.

They were goalkeeper Finnegan, Phillip and Mickey Behan, Tom Scott, Tony Norton, Peter Clarke, Brian Carthy, Jim Darcy, Sean Keogh and Owen Doyle.

They were replaced on the Junior team by Mick Mellon (ARP), Seamus McDonald (Rathnew), Patsy O'Brien (Valleymount), Frank Bryne (St Kevins), Billy Alexander (Newtown), Gerry Farrell (St Pats), J.J. Conway (Laragh), Peadar Daly (Kiltegan), and P. Doyle (Rathnew).


Back to the second part of Gerald Tallon's letter in last week's paper where he was comparing core values.

He went on -

Nowhere is this alternative value more obvious that in the top clubs and in particular with respect to the clubs which feature in the European Champions League. Allow me to expand a little on this.

I understand that one of the founders of Liverpool FC was from New Ross. (I think that the name Anfield originated there). I suspect that when he (or they) started the club they meant it as a club -not as some business with contracted employees.

I am sure that they never envisaged such a club becoming the private fiefdom or plaything of some foreign multi-millionaire. I gather that some Liverpudlians are not overjoyed about these 'developments'.

It's all very well for these valuable businesses to be trading at the highest levels i.e. the Champions League but achieving these market positions and maintaining them is extremely demanding. Very few native Liverpudlian footballers will have any hope of taking part at this high level in their own club.

A question: will all those players, often from many thousands of miles from their native country be expected to have the same allegiance to the city?

Or in some cases, even to the club? Not so the GAA players, supporter, mentor and administrator.

This sense of, and allegiance to, place is a precious value that our Association must preserve. Allow me to develop this thought a little further.

The idea of value is already introduced above -albeit by contrast. The GAA value of which I speak is about success -but with a much wider definition.

It is about whether the club and county organisation had been successful in their preparations for that crucial match -perhaps preparations going back 10 or 20 years beforehand.

This is the success of which I speak.

But Mr Neary's definition of the term appears to be much narrower. Then the question may arise, "What effect will there be if there is relatively little success on the Provincial -or All-Ireland- Championship fields?"

Effect upon whom?

There will be disappointment for everyone involved of course; this is only natural. Include here supporters and even casual spectators. But will it last or impact negatively on the whole county organisation?

I don't think so; indeed it may have the opposite effect: that of steeling everyone to try harder next year.

And, of course, there are the secondary competitions to embrace and perhaps win.

But, and this is important, they will have had their day in the sun; they will have had their dream of that year; they will go back with renewed determination to reduce the gap next year.

And the young people will be the winners in all this: developing the virtues of patience, acceptance, hope, sharing disappointment and so on. And then there is the question of "entertainment"; will we be deprived?

We must not confuse our match experiences with 'entertainment'. Entertaining, many games may well be. But this effect ranks well down the scale of objectives of our Association.

In the days of the Roman Empire there was the entertainment of the circus (long gone!).

Or, in our own time, as in the USA "would you like to take in a ball-game tonight?".

And, speaking of the US, if a supporter of the New York Yankees, living in Queens, wants to attend a match after work he'll need to travel by Concorde - about 3,000 miles away (to where they've moved). It's all a question of values. They have theirs (and must be respected) and we have ours.

In this regard, Prof. Gabriel Byrne, with deep Wicklow roots, produced a PhD thesis in 2001 on International Marketing; his unique anthropological approach has brought about very significant changes in the way firms all over the world go about marketing their product in different countries.

A one size fits all approach is very inefficient. And the modern key to success? Human values.

Having said all this, I still maintain that we have much to do in Wicklow before we can say we are successful.

And to the Provincial Council and to Congress: more needs to be done so as to complement the work of the counties and clubs.

So I say, well done Mr O'Neill. You are to be commended for upholding our values -many of them unique. I for one am not laughing at you.

But I shall certainly laugh with you as our Association goes from strength to strength.

FEILE 2013

The annual festival of Juvenile football (boys and girls takes place this coming weekend. The host county this year is Derry and what better place to be in the year that Derry had been nominated the City of Culture for the UK.

We have already had a few opportunities to sample the atmosphere up there during Congress weekend and the visit of our hurlers.

Our representives this year are Blessington in boys football and the girls from St Patrick's of Wicklow. Tinahely also travel as the second boys team.

The Blessington team heading to Feile Doire 2013 to represent Wicklow will be playing in Division 3 and the action starts this Friday 28 June.

The host club is St Joseph's in Craigbane and also in the group are St Broughan's (Offaly), Banagher (Derry) and Craigbane (Derry).

The first game against the hosts will take place on Friday 28 and the team will take part in the big parade in Derry City that evening at 7pm.

On Saturday June 29 they play St Broughan's and Banagher in Banagher who were also host club when Blessington were representing Wicklow in 2010. Should they progress the quarters and semi final will take place in Craigbane on Saturday afternoon. The finals will be held in Celtic Park on Sunday June 30.

The girls from St Patrick's stay with the club in Limavady and they play in Division 3C. The other teams in their group are Steelstown from Derry and New York who won Division 3 last year

Tinahely also travel as the second boys team and they stay with a club called Drum, outside of Limavady. All the travelers are hoping to be able to take in a visit to the Wicklow match in Armagh on the way home.

We wish all three teams the best of luck


Jack Neill, one of the last remaining link s with a Knockananna team, dating back as far as 1943 passed away at Naas Hospital over the weekend.

'Jack of the forties' as he was known locally was a good footballer and in his school days an all round athlete. He was 92 years old and was cared for over recent months by the nurses and staff in Baltinglass Hospital.

His burial takes place in Knockananna today(Wednesday) after Mass in the local church. Our sympathy to his relatives and many friends. May he rest in peace.

Wicklow People

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