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St Patrick's GAA Night of Celebration
Saturday 23rd of February St Patrick's GAA Football Club held its Annual Dinner Dance. There was a lot to celebrate this year with the Ladies winning the County Intermediate Championship and League double and the Men Senior Team winning the Wicklow Senior Football Championship and bringing back the Miley to Wicklow Town. Over 180 club members, guests and players attended the night of celebration in the Grand Hotel, which did an amazing job, in Wicklow Town.
The first order of the evening by club Chairperson John Smith, was to induct into the St Patrick's Hall of Fame a true legend of Wicklow Football, Pat 'Rasher' Roche. With many a wonderful story to tell Pat was part of what many in this county believe to be the greatest St Patrick's football team ever. During the 50's and early 60's the record of this team would certainly back up that opinion. The three in a row Senior Championships in '59, '60 and '61 are obviously the highlight, but in 12 years this team contested 10 Co Finals and won 8 of them. At full back, Pat Roche was instrumental in many of these victories and captained the team in 1960 when St Patrick's defeated Laragh 1-14 to 0-4 in Aughrim. Nine years later Rasher was still manning the number 3 jersey when the men from the town beat Ashford 3-4 to 1-7 to claim his eighth Senior Football Championship medal. Add these to his three Minor Championships, a Junior Hurling medal picked up in 1952 and many more, Pat Roche is one of the most decorated players ever to wear the blue and white of St Patrick's GAA. His County record includes an O'Byrne Cup win in 1957 and in the same year reaching the semi-final in Leinster beating Laois and Meath along the way until falling to Dublin. He went on to play with his county until 1963. A true legend and worthy inductee into the Hall of Fame. He was presented with his prize by a true family friend and footballer of note himself, current captain of St Patrick's Senior team and county team member Daragh O'Sullivan.
Next up was the ladies and following Ladies Chairperson Georgina Cruise's reflection on the success of the ladies section of the club with the Juvenile section winning U12, U14 and U16 County Championships and the ladies winning the Intermediate Championship and ending the year with the Intermediate League double, the players were introduced one by one. The presentation was made by Tom Sherlock, Chairperson of Wicklow Ladies County Board. Team manager Robert Hollingsworth had the job of announcing Young Player of the year which went to Laura Leonard and Senior Player of the year which went to Sorcha Doyle.
The hurlers were next with many unfortunately missing due to County commitments, the Young Hurler of the year was presented by Alan Lawlor and picked up by Andrew Conway, Senior Hurler of the Year was presented to Gerry Connors. The contribution of many St Patrick's players and members to the Wicklow County Hurling Team was recognised by the club with awards presented to players Andy O'Brien, Jim Connors, John Connors and Mark Sexton and Management Casey O'Brien, Gary Jameson, Brian Gleeson and Liam Keogh.
Finally, the Senior men, following their success in the County Championship were presented with their Senior County Championship medals by Mick Murphy, Wicklow County Board. The players were introduced by John Smith. The Young Footballer of the year award presented by Gary Jameson went to county footballer Dean Healy, the Junior Footballer of the year was Keith Jameson, the Intermediate Footballer of the Year was Lorcan Smullen and a very popular winner of the Senior Footballer of the Year award was Padraig Higgins, he was presented his award by Gail Dunne. The contribution made by St Patrick's players to the NFL Division 4 winning County team was recognised and awards were presented to Austin O'Malley, Daragh O'Sullivan, Paul Earls and Dean Healy.
The Club Person of the Year award was reintroduced and an extremely popular winner was Alan Smullen who has dedicated a lot of years to the club in various roles, he also had a unique double this year, being on the management team of both the Ladies and Mens Senior teams.
The night of celebrations continued into the early hours with local band Breakaway providing the live music and DJ which kept many dancing, including Pat 'Rasher' Roche, long into the night.