Wednesday 18 September 2019

Dignam aiming to make the most of suspension escape

Peter Dignam. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Peter Dignam. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

It was, he admits, the biggest game of his career but for much of the week beforehand Rathnew goalkeeper Peter Dignam looked like he wouldn't be involved in Rathnew's giant-killing act against St Vincent's in Aughrim 10 days ago.

Dignam faced a proposed one-match ban after a Leinster Competition Controls Committee (CCC) probed into a melee in the previous round against Louth champions Newtown Blues in Drogheda.

However, he avoided serving the ban on a technicality and was free to play his part in one of the biggest shocks in Leinster club championship history as the reigning champions lost their grip.

Dignam also serves as club secretary, so notice of his proposed ban came his way first.

"It was a bit of a roller-coaster week. As club secretary I got word, so I went down to the hearings and they cleared it up. They withdrew it. I missed a week of the build-up, missed the Tuesday and Thursday, got word on Friday (that he was cleared to play).

"Of course I was delighted then. At 37, this was the biggest game of my career.

"Moorefield will be another massive game, but to play against the Dublin champions - Vincent's, the best team in the country - I'd have been gutted if I missed that, because you want to play against the best."

Dignam was replacement goalkeeper when they won their previous Leinster title in 2001, beating Na Fianna just a few days short of Christmas.

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In the 16 years since they've won nine more Wicklow titles but further provincial success has evaded them.

"At times we thought we had better teams better equipped to get a run in Leinster but the timing seems to be right now for us," said the goalkeeper ahead of their semi-final against news competition favourites Moorefield.

"We made comparisons to the 2001 team where there are a few of the senior lads who were involved then, chaps then, senior members now.

"We make comparisons with the team to see is it realistic? Can we go and do something?

"We haven't done anything, we didn't win any medals, we put in a really good performance and won a match. We didn't win anything.

"It's nice to be definitely in the hunt. Everybody is in the hunt and it gets tougher now. We've played Moorefield and Loman's before. I'm sure they think they can win it, too."

Five of the Rathnew squad face busy schedules with Glenealy hurlers as they push into a Leinster intermediate final where they will play Ballyragget on Saturday week.


"Leighton (Glynn), Danny Staunton, the captain, John Manley, Warren Kavanagh and Leighton's brother Ennan, they're all hurling. Ennan is 38 or 39. It's tough on the body but they look after themselves and please God it's worth the sacrifice," said Dignam, bar manager at the Terenure Inn in Dublin.

In their dressing-room they have a motto that 'finals are played in Aughrim but are won here', as in the Rathnew training-ground.

Dignam believes the idea of Aughrim being a Wicklow fortress is an "urban myth".

"We have lost a few games there, too, even at county level yet you always hear about the Aughrim factor.

"It is a myth and it will be built on because we beat Vincent's, but we lost to Moorefield there and lost to Loman's there, well beaten.

"It is great when we win and they build on it but we have to win again."

Irish Independent

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