Secretary's Report 2009

CrestSecretary’s Report for Convention 2009

Tá fáilte romhaibh go léir go dtí an Chomhdháil Bhliantúil anocht. Tá sé de phribhléid agam an tuarascáil seo a chur faoi bhráid teachtaí Chill Mhantáin i Eachdruim Uí Bhroin. Ba mhaith liom buíochas a thabhairt do gach Chumann agus do Choiste Bainistí a chabhraigh liom i rith na mbliana.

Once again another year is over and it is time to present a detailed report to the delegates of all clubs for our games and activities during the past year. I will endeavour to be as comprehensive and detailed in the coverage of events as in reports of previous years.

I have to begin the report by mentioning our great run in the All Ireland Football Championship. We started with a win against Longford and then lost after extra time against Westmeath. However it was in the Qualifiers that we really raised the expectations of the County. Three great wins against Ulster Teams (Fermanagh, Cavan and Down) at Aughrim with huge crowds made our year. I have to thank all the Clubs for their wonderful support in every way and of course the supporters who gave “Standing Ovations” to the team for their displays. Our luck deserted us in Portlaoise against Kildare when once again after a tremendous display we lost by a small margin. I would like to express our thanks to the Senior Football Squad and Micko and all the backroom staff for the outstanding memories we will always retain for the year 2009. Hopefully they will be the first of many from this team.

Our year began with the Senior Squads being unable to train in the months of November and December causing problems for our preparation in Football and Hurling. Our U21 Football Squad was also affected by these new regulations giving them just four weeks to prepare for the Leinster Championship.

We were hopeful of a good run in the National Football League and maybe succeed in eventually getting promotion out of Division 4. The economic situation in the country did not help us either and we lost a few of our players to immigration. However once again we had Mick O’Dwyer and his backroom staff full of enthusiasm for the year ahead.

In Hurling we started the year in Division 3A but we were hopeful that we could look forward to a better level of success in the League this year. We had a new Manager – Michael Phelan of Kilkenny and we were hopeful that he could generate the extra effort required to get some success at this level and also in the Christy Ring Cup and make progress at least as far as the semi – finals. Unfortunately we had our worse year for some time and we did not win any game in the League or Championship.

We had tried to initiate a First Aid course for Clubs following on from an incident which took place at a game in 2008 but unfortunately due to a lack of response from Clubs the event had to be cancelled. We do encourage all clubs to ensure that a number of their members are adequately trained in First Aid.

I would like to congratulate Peter Keogh who received the President’s Award and celebrated his 80th Birthday in 2009. Tom Byrne was also honoured and received a National Award for his service to Hurling Coaching in Leinster over the years. Kevin O’Brien who was also honoured on the Leinster Team picked over the last 25 years and Leighton Glynn and Ciaran Hyland for being selected as possible All Stars even though they were not successful on the night. Tony Hannon who received a Vodafone Player of the Month Award and Mick O’Dwyer who received a Phillips Manager of the Month Award.

County Championships

It is with great pleasure that I can report that all our championships under the stewardship of the C.C.C. will once again be completed on schedule despite our Senior Football Championship not beginning until August due to our success at Senior County level. We ran the Senior Football Championship in what is now accepted as the norm with four groups of four on a league basis. The top two qualify for the knockout stages and the bottom two, playoff for the Keating Trophy. The league was once again played for without status. However as last year it did not appear to lessen the competitive edge to the games. It also allows the county teams play without any effect on clashing with club fixtures. The league section of the Hurling did not run smoothly and games were being postponed without just cause and once again caused a delay in finishing the Championship. With the Christy Ring Championship in Hurling and with Wicklow having access to the qualifiers we will now have to start both the Hurling and Football Championships between the league finishing and the start of the Provincial Championships.

On the field of play there were no real surprises with the qualifying teams for the knockout stages of the S.F.C. Baltinglass, St Patrick’s, Newtown, Rathnew, Tinahely, Blessington, Kiltegan, Coolkenno. Baltinglass found it difficult against Coolkenno and had to rely on a two 2nd half penalty’s to come from behind for their win. Rathnew had an easy win over a Blessington side that unfortunately did not perform on the day. St Patrick’s started in whirlwind fashion against Newtown but it was brought back to a few points midway through the 2nd half but a strong finish from St Patrick’s gave then an easy win. Kiltegan were led by Tinahely at half time but a few timely substitutions and they eased to a win in the last 10 minutes. The semi – finals paired Kiltegan and St Pat’s last year’s finalists. This was a close game with never more than 2 point between the teams at any stage. St Pat’s eventually won with 2 late points. Rathnew played Baltinglass in the other game and held the upper hand throughout. However it was midway through the 2nd half before they finally pulled away and finished easy winners. The final was eagerly awaited with St Pat’s and Rathnew being in the same Parish and close neighbours. Rathnew started the better with 2 quick points but St Pat’s drew level within a few minutes. However Rathnew playing the better football pushed on and led by 9pts to 3 at half time. St Pat’s came more into the game at the start of the 2nd half and following an error in the defence St Pat’s scored a goal to bring the sides within 2 points  1 – 5 to 10pts. However once more Rathnew pushed on adding 4 more points and despite St Pat’s best efforts they could not close the gap to less than 2 points and eventually Rathnew ran out worthy winners on the scoreline 0 – 14 to 1 – 8.

At Intermediate level Annacurra once again reached the semi – final following a playoff with Kilcoole to face their neighbours Aughrim. Dunlavin and Avondale faced each other in the other semi – final. Annacurra and Aughrim was a close game with each team scoring point for point. At half time a point separated the sides. Aughrim upped their game in the 2nd half and scored a goal following Annacurra’s failure to pick up an inside forward that was left on his own and finished well. Annacurra raised their game and replied with some fine points to leave a single point between the teams. However another error following a free out for Annacurra ended with the goalie being disposed and Aughrim scoring a 2nd goal. This put 4 pts between the sides and despite Annacurra’s best efforts they failed to close the gap. The other game between Dunlavin and Avondale turned out to be very one sided with Dunlavin never being tested by Avondale. They led by   point at half time and ran out easy winners on a scoreline of 2 – 13 to 0 – 8. The final looked as if it was going to be a close affair with both Clubs striving for Senior Status. On the day a strong wind blew towards the town end in Aughrim making it difficult to play against. Aughrim playing against the breeze got an early point but struggled against Dunlavin who had the advantage of the wind and made good use of it scoring 3 early points. Dunlavin scored an additional 3 points with Aughrim adding 2 to leave the half time score 6 points to 3. Dunlavin started the better with a great score from Stephen Miley in the second half even though playing against the breeze and added another point to leave the score 8 points to Aughrim’s 3. Dunlavin still enjoyed the better of things and after about 50 minutes led 11 points to 4. Eventually Aughrim started using the breeze and kicked in long quick balls to their forwards putting pressure on Dunlavin. They added 4 additional points but Aughrim had left their effort too late and Dunlavin ran out worthy winners 11 points to 8 to once again attain Senior status.

The Junior “A” championship had a very attractive pairing of Coolboy and Knockananna contesting the final. These were two genuine Junior Clubs facing each other following comebacks by both Clubs in the semi – finals. Coolboy elected to play against the breeze and it proved a good decision with Knockananna failing to settle and only managing to score 2 points. Coolboy replied with 3 of their own towards half time and led by a single point and having a breeze in their favour for the second half. However the wind died considerably and Knockananna known for their comebacks were hoping to get back in the game. Coolboy began by adding another 3 points stretching their lead but Knockananna slowly got back in the game. However it was the 29th minute before only the minimum was between the sides. This was due to some poor misses and some good defending by Coolboy. It was 4 minutes into injury time before Knockananna tied up the scores and gave both teams another day in the sun. The replay surpassed the drawn game with wet and windy conditions not taking away from the excitement. Knockananna started the better and had the ball in the net early in the game and missed a few other chances. However then they went a long spell without scoring and Coolboy slowly brought the margin back with only a point between the sides at half time – 1 – 3 to 0 – 5. Coolboy started the 2nd half with a goal inside 2 minutes. Knockananna responded with a few points but Coolboy remained in front until half way through the 2nd half when Knockananna gained parity. Once again Coolboy managed to up their game and led by 3 points but Knockananna once more replied and as we entered injury time scored another point to once more leave the minimum between the sides. However time ran out and Coolboy held out for a great victory.

The Junior “B” championship was contested by An Tochar and Éire Óg following good wins at semi – final stage. An Tochar were hoping for better luck this year following a one point defeat last year. After a tremendous game with the advantage going from one side and then to the other Éire Óg scored in injury time to level the game forcing a replay. The replay though played in wet conditions did not take from the excitement of the game. Éire Óg started well and took the lead from early in the game and led 6pts to 2pts after 20 minutes. Then Éire Óg struck for a goal and An Tochar only replied with a point to leave the score line 1 – 6 to 0 – 3. However An Tochar started the 2nd half in determined fashion and had scored a goal and a point within a few minutes to bring then right back into the game. With 10 minutes left the margin was only a single point in favour of Éire Óg 1 – 7 to 1 – 6. Points were exchanged still leaving the minimum between the sides. Once again Éire Óg stretched their lead with 2 points but with injury time approaching An Tochar had once again brought the margin back to the minimum 1 – 9 to 1 – 8. However try as they might they failed to equalise and Éire Óg had another victory in 2009.

The Junior “C” championship was contested by Avoca and Rathnew and a close encounter was expected. Avoca were quickly off the mark and led by 1 – 4 to nil after 15 minutes playing with the breeze. Rathnew scored a point after 17 minutes and added another before half time with Avoca also adding a further point to lead by 1 – 5 to 0 – 2. Rathnew playing with the breeze found scores hard to come by and as we approached the last quarter were still a goal down. Avoca lifted the pressure when they had a player pulled down in the box and were awarded a penalty. The penalty was converted and they led by 2 goals. They added a point to leave a score line of

2 – 6 to 0 – 5. With a few minutes left Rathnew had only managed a point when Robert Byrne was fouled in the box and they were awarded a penalty which was converted leaving a goal between the sides. We were now in injury time when Rathnew scored a point to leave 2 pts between the sides. A long ball pumped into the box seemed to fool the Avoca goalie and defenders and it hit the angle of the bar and upright and ended in the net. Rathnew had gone in front for the first time in the game just as the final whistle sounded. I had to feel sorry for Avoca but once again Rathnew proved that you had to play right to the final whistle and one could not fault them for their efforts.

In Hurling people were looking no further than Carnew and Glenealy again for who would win the Senior Hurling Championship. The format was changed back to the top 4 teams would qualify for the semi – finals. The losing semi – finalists would play for the Dessie Murphy Cup. The remaining teams would play for the Billy Byrne Cup. Once again when the league section began the only discussion was what teams would be likely to join Carnew and Glenealy for the knockout stage. The deciding game for the league was Carnew v Glenealy. It was a closely contested game with Carnew eventually winning by a single point. This left the Kiltegan v Bray Emmets game to decide who was going to join Arklow Rocks for the last semi – final spot. After a close game Kiltegan got the last place. Kiltegan played Carnew and Glenealy played Arklow Rocks. However it was as expected with Carnew and Glenealy winning easily to book their place in the final. Carnew and Glenealy knew each other so well that everyone expected a close final. Glenealy opened with an early point but Carnew replied with 2 points. Then Leighton Glynn got free of his marker and made good use by cracking the ball to the back of the Carnew net. However Carnew met the challenge head on and replied with 8 points, five from Don Hyland to lead 10 points to 1 – 1 after 26 minutes. Both sides traded further scores to leave Carnew leading at the half way by 13 pts to 1 – 5. The second half began with Glenealy coming more into the game and after 10 minutes the deficit was down to 3pts. Carnew while under some pressure were not yielding many scores and after trading some more scores there was still 2 pts between them with about 8 minutes left to play. Despite a lot of Glenealy pressure in the last 10minutes Carnew held out to win by 2 pts on a scoreline of 18pts to 1 – 13. Carnew deserved their win and Glenealy failed in their attempt at getting their 3 in a row.

In the Intermediate Hurling Carnew once again showed their pedigree by reaching the final. Their opponents this year were Newcastle who had come up from Junior grade and had not won this competition since the early nineties. Newcastle started in whirlwind fashion and had scored 2 – 1 to no score after about 5 minutes. However Carnew were not going to give in easily and by the half time break had narrowed the score line to 3 pts 2 – 5 to 0 – 8. A point from Newcastle was quickly replied to by Carnews Tom Darcy, with a goal leaving the minimum between the sides. A point still separated the sides as we entered the last quarter. However Newcastle finished the stronger with 4 pts giving a winning margin of 5 and making their return to the Senior Hurling grade.

In the Junior “A” championship we had a new contender this year. Fergal Óg from Bray were back again hoping for better luck and Éire Óg from Greystones were hoping also that their young side would prevail. This was a great game of Hurling and Fergal Óg began quickly with Andy O’Brien scoring 1 – 1 inside four minutes. However Éire Óg responded quickly and were leading inside 20 minutes. They traded further points and led by 1 – 8 to 1 – 5 at the break. The second half gave us more good hurling and the sides could not be separated trading score for score leaving them tied at 1 – 9 apiece at 52 minutes. Peter Keane gave Éire Óg the lead from a free and the following a long ball out of defence Paul Sutton once again scored a great goal to put some daylight between the sides. Once again Fergal Óg were beaten by late scores and Éire Óg celebrated a great win and hope for the future.

The Junior “B” final was contested by old rivals Carnew and Glenealy. The first half was very evenly contested with the score 4 pts apiece. However Carnew made a few astute substitutions at half time with John Joe Myers scoring 1 – 1 within minutes of the restart. After another 10 minutes the score line was 1 – 7 to 0 – 7 for Carnew. However it was Carnew who pushed on and finished the stronger adding 4 pts to Glenealys 2 pts giving a final score of 1 – 11 to 0 – 9.

This year we had a Junior C Championship for the first time. Barndarrig and Kilman/Enniskerry contested the final. A hundred per cent effort was given by both sides but Barndarrig had the edge and led by 2 – 2 to  0 – 2  at half time. Enniskerry narrowed the gap after pointing 3 frees early in the 2nd half but Barndarrig pulled away again thanks to Jim O’Briens free taking and a few good saves from their goalie Michael Murphy. The final score was 4 – 8 to 0 – 7.  

Inter County – Football

The Senior Footballers began their season with a visit to Blessington and their fine facilities in the O’Byrne Cup against Carlow. Following a good display they ran out easy winners over Carlow. Next up were the Dubs in Parnell Park and Wicklow continued their good form with a good win in wet and windy conditions. Next up was Louth in Drogheda. After a good 1st half the sides were tied 1 – 6 a piece at half time. However with Louth playing with the breeze in the second half we were unable to match their scoring and they ran out easy winners 2 – 19 to 1 – 10.

The National Football League began with an away game against Antrim and a new set of Rules to be implemented. Also with injuries and players away we were not at full strength. The first half was not great and Antrim led by 8pts to 3pts at the break. The second half however was a lively affair and Wicklow played with great determination. However we had 2 players sent off and scored 3 goals to eventually give us a draw in our first game. Next up was Waterford at home and after a very close game we survived a strong finish from Waterford to share the spoils. Mervyn Travers made a few crucial saves during the game to keep us in the game. Kilkenny away gave Wicklow a chance to get back on track in our next game and it was an easy victory on a score line of 7 – 23 to 0 – 3. Our next opponents Leitrim away proved a much sterner test. On the day we played reasonably ok as a unit but failed to take our chances. With a few minutes left and only a point separating the sides John McGrath had a great shot come back off the crossbar and that was how things went on the day. We lost on a score line of 13 pts to 11pts. We had Clare at home in our next game and after a bright start led 3pts to 2pts after 15 minutes. However we faded away and Clare led at the break by 1 – 8 to 0 – 4. We again began the second half brightly and we were level after 15 minutes 1 – 9 a piece. Clare got another goal and once again we had to come from behind and to the teams credit they did holding Clare scoreless and scoring 6 pts to win on a score line of 1 – 15 to 2 – 9.  We were home to London for our next game and had an easy win 1 – 20 to 0 – 9. It was also good to see James Stafford back in a Wicklow jersey after returning from Australia. Next up was Carlow at Dr. Cullen Park. This was a make or break game for promotion. This was a strange game scoring 2 goals in the first 5 minutes. At half time we led 3 – 3 to 9pts. In the second half Wicklow just faded away and despite Carlow being reduced to 14 men we lost by 5 pts – 2 – 15 to 3 – 7. This ended our promotion hopes. Our last game was at home to Sligo and despite missing several regulars through injury we played very well. The sides were level at the break on 6 pts each. Sligo started the second half well and led 0 –10 to 0 – 6 by the 3rd quarter. Wicklow finished strongly and with only a point between the sides Leighton Glynn hit the cross bar with a great shot with time nearly up. Sligo won promotion on a score line of 11pts to 10pts.

Leinster

On May 24th all roads led to Portlaoise where we took on Longford. Wicklow put in a great display and led though playing against the breeze with Tony Hannon converting four frees. Longford played their best football in the last ten minutes of the first half to lead by 7 pts to 6 at the break. However as the second half began Wicklow started brightly once more with Rory Nolan scoring a great goal and then we added 5 more pts to lead 1 – 11 to 0 – 7 by the 57th minute. Longford then hit a purple patch scoring 1 – 4 in a 6 minute spell and tying up the scores. Wicklow pressed on and following a good move by the forwards Paul Earls struck a great goal to ease Wicklow into the next round on a score line of 2 – 12 to 1 – 13. This was a day where Wicklow showed belief in themselves and gave our supporters great memories. Next up was Westmeath in Tullamore. We started the game very nervously spilling a lot of possession. However in our first attack we won a penalty when Paul Earls was brought down but Tony Hannon failed to convert. Westmeath went 3 pts ahead before Tony Hannon scored our first free. Leighton Glynn got another and Tony scored a second to bring us back into the game. On the stroke of half time a long range effort by Thomas Walsh resulted in Paul Earls jumping with the goalie and the ball broke to Dean Odlum who stroked it home. We led by 1 – 3 to 4 pts at the break. Dean Odlum scored another point but then in a 5 minute spell we lost 3 defenders – Paddy Dalton Alan Byrne and Damian Power. The situation was made worse by the fact that while Damian was getting medical attention by 2 doctors the referee decided to leave play go on and Westmeath scored a point. Westmeath tagged on a further 5 pts before Wickow got back into the game and held Westmeath scoreless for 20 minutes. By the 30th minute Wicklow had pulled them back level. Leighton Glynn then put us ahead before Westmeath equalised in injury time. We had one chance of going ahead but missed a 45 metre free. Extra time began with little change to the scoreline. Westmeath led by a point at the break. Westmeath were the fresher team and added 3 pts to Wicklow’s 1 and ran out winners 16pts to 1 – 10. We now had to look ahead to the qualifiers but with at least three long term injuries.

Qualifiers

On Saturday July 4th we began the 1st Round of the qualifiers at home to Fermanagh. This was an outstanding game for Wicklow where we really showed determination and grit to get an outstanding win. The game began with Fermanagh first to score and we traded scores leading by a point at 25 minutes when Tony Hannon was sent off on a 2nd Yellow Card. Fermanagh took advantage and scored a goal to lead by 1 – 5 to

0 – 7 at the break. The 2nd half begins with Wicklow playing well with 14 men and leading by 4pts coming up to the hour mark. However by the 69th minute Fermanagh had brought it back to the minimum. Disaster strikes for Wicklow again and Tom Walsh receives a 2nd Yellow Card to leave us with 13 men. Wicklow really show their stuff and add 3 pts in a matter of 3 minutes. Fermanagh add a point but Wicklow run out winners 0 – 17 to 1 – 11. Wicklow face Cavan in the 2nd round of qualifiers on July 11th. The game is played in atrocious weather conditions of wind and rain. After trading scores the sides are level at 4 pts each after 20 minute. Then in a 5 minute spell Wicklow score a goal and a point to take the lead. Cavan reply with a point to leave the half time score 1 – 6 to 0 – 5. Wicklow continued their good play adding

4 pts to Cavan’s 1 in the first 20 minutes of the 2nd half. Cavan add a further 2 pts but Wicklow reply with 2 pts also and we have another win under our belts 1 – 12 to

0 – 8. Once again we face an Ulster Team. This time it is Down who are the opponents and unlike last week the weather is good if a bit windy and another great crowd. Down started well and were 2 pts up inside 2 minutes. However Wicklow playing with the wind replied quickly and Leighton Glynn scored a goal and a point inside the next few minutes to get the crowd in full flow. The scores are traded back and forth but Wicklow lead at the break by 1 – 9 to 0 – 9 after a good save by Mervyn Travers. The 2nd half began with Mervyn once again making a good save and after both sides traded points it was Wicklow led 1 – 14 to 0 – 15 after 25 minutes. Down still came forward aided by the breeze and added 2 pts to leave the sides level as we approached 35 minutes. Down then kicked 3 wides one an easy free. As we entered the 38 minute Wicklow attached and James Stafford shot for goal when he probably should have taken the point. It was blocked and ran out for a 45 metre free. The Referee informed Tony Hannon it was to be the last kick of the game as he stepped up to take the free but despite all the pressure he stroked the ball over the bar and against a strong wind to have the “Aughrim Roar” heard all the way West of the hills as we hailed another famous victory. Micko was especially delighted as he had beaten his “bogey” team at last. The 4th Round of the Qualifiers brought our old enemy out of the hat as we were drawn against Kildare. This time it was a neutral venue and the Wicklow supporters turned out in there thousands for the trip to Portlaoise. Kildare started well and had a few points on the board inside 8 minutes. Wicklow however did not panic and a goal and a point from Seanie Furlong gave us the lead 1 – 2 to 0 – 4. After half an hour we still led 1 – 4 to 6 pts but then Kildare struck a purple patch and kicked 5 pts without reply to lead at the break 11pts to 1 – 4. Wickow started the 2nd half well but two great saves by the Kildare goalie and then a shot coming back off the post and into the hands of the goalie showed you need some luck also. Kildare added 2 points to stretch their lead. However Wicklow did not give up and at 48 minutes Tony Hannon struck for an outstanding goal which was followed by 2 pts to tie the scores 2 – 7 to 0 – 13. Kildare brought on 2 substitutes at this stage and their fresh legs gave them a slight edge where they aided in setting up a goal and a point. We traded further scores but Kildare ran out winners by 1 – 16 to 2 – 9. Our exploits finished for another year.

Junior

This year once again Leinster ran a league for the Junior teams. Wicklow beat Meath on a score line of 3 – 9 to 1 – 11 and then got a walk over from Kilkenny. Once again they faced Kildare this time in the final. Kildare led by 7pts to 2 at the break.   Wickow had levelled the game with 4 minutes left but Kildare added 2 pts and while a last minute attack by Wicklow nearly resulted in a goal Kildare held on to win 0 – 13 to 1 – 8. Wicklow manager Kevin O’Brien was pleased with the players who played but was still missing some players. We drew Kilkenny again in the Championship and ran out winners 13pts to 1 – 6. Next up was Longford and we left it behind losing by the narrowest of margins in a midweek game after missing a penalty and several other good chances towards the end of the game on a score line 8 pts to 7pts.

Under 21

Wicklow U21 were once again managed by Philip McGillacuddy. This maintained a link with the Senior Squad. They had put in a lot of effort at training for their first championship game against Longford. On February 14th they travelled away to play Longford. Wicklow started slowly and 2 goals from Longford midway through the half gave them a lead of 2 – 3 to 1 – 3 at the break. Wicklow played a little better in the 2nd half but it was the 60th minute before they drew level with a great point from Anthony McLoughlin. Three minutes into injury time following a great interception we went and scored the lead point and following a 45 in the 5th minute of injury time we added the final score for a 2 pt win. Our next game was in Aughrim against Laois. We started well and led 1 – 1 to a point after 10 minutes. However we missed a few easy scores and Laois led by 0 – 6 to 1 – 1 at the break. Once again we missed a few easy scores as the 2nd half began and Laois added a pt but then Wicklow added 2 to leave the margin at the minimum. John O’Loughlin (Laois Snr Team) then came on as a substitute and began to deliver great ball from centre field to his forward line. Laois stretched their lead and won easily 1 – 18 to 1 – 4 after a bad display from Wicklow.

Minor

On April the 18th the Minor Footballers began their championship campaign against Kildare in Aughrim. Wicklow did not perform against a good Kildare team. The game was over after 15 minutes as Kildare lead 2 – 5 to 1 pt. At the break this was 3 – 10 to

0 – 3 after playing against the breeze. The 2nd half was one way traffic and the final score was 4 – 19 to 0 – 5. Wicklow faced Carlow in the losers section and redeemed themselves with a good display. Carlow led by a point at the break but Wicklow were ahead 2 –5 to 1 – 5 after 5 minutes of the 2nd half. They ran out winners on a score line of 2 – 12 to 1 – 8. Next up was Kilkenny again at home in Aughrim. This was a one sided affair and apart from giving Wicklow a work out was of little use as we won on a score line of 8 – 15 to 1 – 1.  We then had to face Offaly away in Tullamore. This was a very good game, and despite a slow start we only trailed by a few points at half time. Tommy Kelly was having an outstanding game and despite being double marked continued to torment the Offaly defence. However we lacked some addition scoring power up front and eventually failed by four points despite giving our best display todate. It was good to see the team recover following their display against Kildare in the first round.

Hurling

Wicklow began the season with a new Manager Michael “Titch” Phelan of Kilkenny, a double All Ireland winner being appointed. He also brought a new trainer with him from Waterford Frank Ryan as his assistant. This had taken some time to organise following late minute withdraws from other interested parties. In their opening game in the Kehoe Cup Mick Hagan acted as interim Manager versus Trinity College. It was a dreadful day with wet and windy conditions but Wicklow elected to play against the conditions knowing it would take time to settle in. Trinity started the brighter with a few early points but Wicklow had levelled with 10 minutes. Trinity however showed good touches and added 2 goals prior to the break to leave the score

2 – 4 to 0 – 5. Wicklow took over in the 2nd half with Trinity only managing to add a point. Wicklow scored freely and ran out easy winners 1 – 19 to 2 – 5. Wicklow met Westmeath in the 2nd Round and they knew they had stepped up a class. The new manager was in attendance but decided just to watch the game. They started ok for the 1st quarter but between the 15 and 20 minutes Westmeath had scored 3 goals. It did not get any better and the final score was 4 – 21 to 1 – 5.

National League

Wicklow were away to Kildare in their first game following the postponement of the Armagh game the previous week. Wicklow started well and raced into a lead of 6 pts to 2 after 20 minutes. However Kildare struck back before the break to leave the half time score with Wicklow leading 7 pts to 6. Kildare started the 2nd half well and led after 10 minutes 9 pts to 8. Wicklow continued to work hard and were level after 20 minutes 12 pts each. Wicklow then had a bit of luck with a Jonathan O’Neill long range free going all the way to the net. Kildare struck back and levelled the game and then they exchanged points before Kildare got the winning point in injury time. Wicklow’s next game was against Mayo in Arklow. We started well and led on 4 occasions during the half before Mayo surged ahead 8pts to 5 at the break. Ten minutes into the 2nd half and Mayo had stretched their lead to 1 – 11 to 7pts. Wicklow struck back and inside 10 minutes now had the score line back to the minimum 14pts to 1 –12. A few minutes later Mayo struck for another goal and then pushed on to win by 2 – 15 to 0 – 16. Next up was our postponed game against Armagh where it was felt we could at last get a win. Wicklow started well with a few early points but as Armagh settled they took over and it was only a well taken goal by Anthony Driver allowed us to be level with Armagh 1 – 4 to 7 pts. Armagh started the better on the resumption scoring 3 pts without reply. Midway through the half Wicklow once again hit a purple patch scoring 3 pts to level the scores. Armagh however struck back with a goal and a point to lead 1 – 13 to 1 – 8 with 7 minutes left. Joe Murphy managed a goal from a free and then added another pt but we failed to score again leaving Armagh with a 1 pt win 1 – 15 to 2 – 11. Next up was Meath away in Navan. Wicklow started smartly and scored 1 – 3 inside 7 minutes. Wicklow continued to play well but let Meath in for 2 goals to leave the half time score 1 – 11 to 2 – 4. Wicklow added 2 pts but then Meath hit 5 pts to leave just a pt between the sides. Meath then added a few points to lead but Wicklow hit back to level the scores after 30 minutes. Wicklow added a point in injury time which looked like a winner but once more following an easy free Meath levelled the scores for full time. Wicklow played Derry away in their last game knowing they needed a win at least to stay in Div 3A. Following their good display against Meath we hoped it was a good omen. However it was not to be as Derry went into the lead 2 – 5 to 3 pts after 15 minutes. Things did not improve and Derry led 3 – 8 to 1 – 4 at the break. The 2nd half did not improve and Derry ran out easy winners 3 – 18 to 1 – 6. All we could now look forward to was the Christy Ring Cup and hope for an improvement.     

Christy Ring Cup

The 1st Round game was against Carlow in Arklow. Wicklow were in this game right up to the final 10 minutes. They led 4 pts to 3 after 15 minutes. Carlow then scored 2 goals to leave Wicklow with an uphill struggle but they managed it by the break and led by 2 – 7 to 2 – 6. Carlow struck again early in the 2nd half and led by 3 – 13 to

2 – 9. With ten minutes left Wicklow got a goal to leave just 4 pts between the sides. However Carlow finished the stronger and ran out winners 4 – 16 to 3 – 9. We now had another chance if we could beat Derry once again away in Derry. Wicklow played reasonably well in the 1st half trailing by 1 – 7 to 6 pts. The 2nd half proved a journey too far for Wicklow as we managed to add only 3 pts. Derry ran out easy winners

2 – 15 to 0 – 9. We faced Westmeath in a playoff for relegation and like earlier in the year we lost heavily once more. However following decisions taken later in the year we will now remain in the Christy Ring Cup.

Under 21

Martin Barnes and his backroom staff tried very hard with this panel but more commitment is needed from the players. They had only lost 3 players from last year and were fancied to beat Louth. However Louth had other ideas and playing with the breeze in the 1st half had run up a good lead of 1 – 11 to 0 – 4 at the break. The 2nd half did not improve matters and Louth continued to dominate running out winners on a score line of 2 – 14 to 0 – 9. Wicklow lack of commitment in training etc was shown up on the day.

Junior Hurling

Once again Wicklow entered a second team in the Leinster Junior Hurling Shield in 2009. This competition is run on a league basis and we faced Leitrim away in our 1st game but we had to concede a walkover due to not being able to field 15 players and travel to the game. Our 2nd game was at home to Warickshire and while we fielded a team we lost narrowly after a competitive match. We will really have to review entering a team in this competition for 2010.

Minor

The Minor Hurling began with an away game against Meath. They contested well in the 1st half and trailed on a score line of 1 – 8 to 1 – 4. However 2 quick goals at the start of the 2nd half killed their resolve and Meath ran out easy winners 7 – 21 to 1 –8. Wicklow played Louth in the Minor Shield in Drogheda and following a good start led by 1 – 8 to 1 – 1 at the break. They continued their good play in the 2nd half and ran out winners 2 – 12 to 2 – 5. They faced Carlow at home in the next round and despite a good display in the 1st half there was too much of a difference in class and Carlow proved too strong and ran out winners 4 – 22 to 2 – 6. We faced Westmeath away in the All Ireland B Championship. This was a strong Westmeath team who had already taken part in the Championship proper earlier in the year. They proved much too strong for a much weakened Wicklow Team short at least six players and ran out easy winners 4 – 21 to 3pts. Once again being unable to get out our best players was the main obstacle at this level. Clubs will have to give better support from players.

Leinster Club Championships

This year Rathnew represented Wicklow in the Senior Football Championship. There opponents were Ballyboden from Dublin. Rathnew started the game well and had a three point lead after about 20 minutes. Ballyboden came back strongly but with Tommy Gill in good form they held their lead at the break. Ballyboden started the 2nd half the better and had levelled the scores 7 pts each after about 10 minutes. Leighton Glynn struck back for Rathnew with a great goal chipping the keeper in the process. However Ballyboden struck back again and scored a goal followed by three points to take the lead. Rathnew had a few chances but eventually lost by 2 pts. In the Intermediate Football Dunlavin went down to Tubberclair. Following a bad start and trailing badly at the break they put in a good display in the 2nd half eventually losing  by a three point margin. In the Junior A Championship due to a draw in the Final we were unable to take part in the Leinster Championship. In Hurling Carnew took on the Kilkenny Champions St Lachtain’s and a very close contest developed. At the break Carnew were behind by a point 1 – 7 to 2 – 3. The 2nd half was very tight and there were no scores until the 17th minute. With only 10 minutes left only a single point separated the sides. St Lachtains pushed on at this time and added 1 – 1 without reply. The final score was 3 – 11 to 3 – 5. Newcastle beat Craanford in the 1st Round of the Leinster Junior Hurling. They led by a point 1 – 5 to 1 – 4 at the break. They continued their good play in the 2nd half and scored a 2nd goal to run out winners 2 – 10 to 2 – 6. In the 2nd Round they played Naomh Fionbarra (Dublin) in Arklow and following a hard close game they lost narrowly to complete a good year for the Club. Éire Óg have still to play in the Leinster Special Junior Hurling competition following a number of delays.

Competition Controls Committee

The C.C.C. should just have completed our programme of games for the 2009. Chairman Mick Hagan together with Secretary Tom Byrne and a hard working committee have done well to finish all competitions within the year. Competitions in general ran smoothly but the Senior Hurling despite the small number of teams still proved difficult once more. We will have to tighten our Match Regulations to avoid games being called off for little or no reason. It is also hoped to have definite days for each Div in the leagues to allow players know when games will take place. Croke Park are now looking seriously at Club Competitions and it is important that they are run to schedule for all concerned. I thank everyone for their commitment and time during the year.

Discipline

Discipline is an area where both Clubs and players do not give enough consideration in relation to games. Once again there was an increase in the number of disciplinary cases before the C.C.C. and once again it was very disappointing to see the increase in Juvenile Disciplinary cases.  Again a lot of the discipline issues related to abuse of referee’s especially from mentors and club people on the sideline. At the risk of repeating myself again I ask clubs to ensure that respect is shown to referees for the year ahead. Referees are not always right but without them we will not have any games. We should also acknowledge that referees are only human and mistakes will happen from time to time but hopefully they will learn from it given a chance. It is my belief that all Clubs should have to provide “Qualified Referee’s” at Juvenile level otherwise they do not get home games. I would like to thank the Hearings Committee members who once again were called on at short notice many times and who never failed to provide members to hear cases. It is not a job where people are waiting to serve on the committee and I especially thank the few for their commitment during the year.

Referees

Once again I will state the obvious that we still need additional referees especially in hurling as stated in my reports of previous years. Trevor Culbert has taken over the roll of Referee’s Administrator with assistance from Tom Byrne. I thank him for his commitment and look forward to his suggestions for 2010. We began a new system during the year for notifying referees and for results to be forwarded by text to update the Web site and League Tables. This was very successful but a few Referee’s did let us down from time to time. We are hoping for a better response for the year ahead. Hugh Kenny has continued with the “Young Whistlers” at 2nd Level schools and once again it has proved popular with the students and a high number of them attained the qualifying mark in the written exams for referees. It would be important that these students are given a chance at “Under Age” level and hopefully encourage them to continue to adult level. If these Referee’s receive abuse at this level the Teams concerned should be disqualified from the competition. The Clubs have to understand the need to encourage young people towards refereeing.

County Committee

The Coiste Condae held six meetings during the year. As can be seen from the records some clubs have failed to have delegates attend any or very few meetings. Clubs also need to ensure that delegates report back to their clubs relevant issues that are discussed. Proper discussion of matters affecting Clubs need to be discussed fully at Club level. I thank all the Clubs who attend and take part in items of interest to Clubs and hope that more Clubs will be encouraged to do so.

Committee Attendance Record

Andriú Ó Briain          6                                   Máirtín Ó Colmáin                  5

Micheál Ó hÁgain       5                                  Des de Burtúin                         6

Micheál Ó Murchú      6                                   Máirtín Ó Bearáin                   5

Éamann Ó Caoimh      5                                   Tómás Ó Broin                        6

Seán Napier                 6                                   Buach Ó Seachnasaigh            5

Seán Ó Tíomáin           5                                   Tómás Ó Gréacháin                6

Damian Ó Broinn        6

Clubs

15/12/2008

26/01/2009

23/03/2009

06/04/2009

02/06/2009

31/08/2009

Annacurra

2

2

2

1

2

An Tochar

2

1

1

1

1

1

A.G.B.

2

2

2

2

2

Arklow Rocks

2

2

2

2

1

Ashford

2

2

1

2

Aughrim

2

2

2

2

2

2

Avoca

2

1

Avondale

2

2

2

2

2

2

Ballinacor

2

1

1

Ballymanus

2

2

2

1

Baltinglass

2

2

2

2

2

2

Barndarrig

1

1

Blessington

2

2

2

2

2

Bray Emmets

2

2

1

1

2

1

Carnew

2

2

2

1

2

Coolkenno

2

2

Coolboy

2

2

2

1

1

Donard/Glen

2

2

2

2

2

Dunlavin

2

2

1

1

1

Eire Óg

2

2

1

1

1

1

Enniskerry

2

1

2

1

1

1

Fergal Óg

2

2

1

1

Glenealy

2

1

1

1

2

1

Hollywood

2

2

2

1

2

Kilbride

2

2

1

2

Kilcoole

2

2

1

1

1

1

Kilmacanogue

1

2

1

Kiltegan

2

1

2

1

1

2

Knockananna

2

2

1

1

Laragh

2

2

2

1

2

Lacken

1

2

Newcastle

1

Newtown

2

1

2

2

1

2

Rathnew

2

2

1

1

2

St Patrick’s

2

2

2

2

1

2

Shillelagh

2

1

2

2

1

1

Stratford

2

2

1

2

1

Tinahely

2

2

1

2

2

Valleymount

2

2

County Management Committee

The County Management Committee met on fourteen (14) occasions during the past year. A lot of work was dealt with and even though we do not always agree on every issue being discussed the democratic process was accepted by all.

Attendance Record

Andy O’Brien

14

Michael Murphy

14

Mick Hagan

12

Tom Byrne

13

Eamon O’Keeffe

13

Victor O’Shaughnessy

13

Martin Barnes

13

Martin Coleman

13

Des Burton

12

Damian Byrne

13

Jack Napier

12

Tom Gregan

12

John Timmins

11

Leinster Council & Central Council

Des Burton and Martin Coleman represent Wicklow at Leinster Council. Martin is on the Leinster Management and as always looks after any issue relating to Wicklow. Des is on the C.C.C. in Leinster and also looks out for issues relating to Wicklow. Trevor Culbert as Referee’s Administrator does a lot of work at this level also. Eamon O’Keeffe is secretary of the finance committee and assists all counties on financial matters. Mick Hagan is our Central Council representative and keeps us informed on all matters being discussed at National level that may affect Wicklow.

Media

The media plays a very important role in the G.A.A. It assists with the promotion and of course the reporting of our games for all our supporters. However the reporting at Juvenile level has experienced a set back this year following the loss of Pat Mitchel and Eddie Leonard. It is up to Clubs to assist in this aspect of games even if only the Result and Scorers are reported back to Coiste na nÓg. It would allow us to send these

Reports weekly to the Wicklow People or for inclusion on our Web Site where the children could access. The Wicklow People of course sponsor all of our Championship Competitions at underage and also the “Man of the Match” for each final. We thank them for organising this sponsorship especially Dave Deveraux who has taken over responsibility for Sports. At adult level Mark Kennedy is still reporting at most of our games and of course we always can rely on Peter Keogh who gets around the county to every game no matter the venue or time. Mick Hagan also ensures that reporting of our games are not forgotten and is now a regular contributor to the Wicklow People. The Wicklow News closed this year and it was a big loss in the reporting of our games. Jack Napier as usual collates all the results and ensures that they appear in our Sunday papers as well as the tele – text for all Wicklow people who live abroad and around the country. Nuala Kenny keeps us up to date on the Web Site with fixtures and results and in conjunction with Jack Napier and Jimmy Dunne ensures we have our year book ready every year. Thanks also to Mick and Garry for the photos each week. I also thank Dave Barrett for all his assistance especially for the Programmes and P. J. O’ Shaughnessy also for his help with all the photography. Michael Sargent is also to be thanked for his coverage of G.A.A. matters on East Coast Radio along with his many contributors. Last but by no means least I would like to thank Shane Kelly for keeping us up todate on all results on the Donard Web Site where many people check results and fixtures. As we move forward we are looking to see if we can expand our coverage of all G.A.A. matters on our new Website.

Scór

Seán Ó Tiomáin presents his report later in this booklet but I would like to thank himself and Tómás Breatnach and their hard working committee for their efforts during the year. Clubs now only have to enter one category to participate in Scór. We hope this will encourage more clubs to take part. 2009 was our 40th Anniversary for Scór and held in Newtown.

Sponsorship

Sponsorship is very important to our games whether it be Club or County level. Without it we could not provide the necessary back up to our teams at county level. Brennan Hotels have come on board this year to cover all our adult Football Teams for the next 3 years. Brian has been involved with the County over the last 10years and it is great to see him willing to invest even more with the county especially with the current economic times. Ballymore have finished their Sponsorship and we sincerely thank them for all their help and assistance over the last 3 Years. Cosgrave Builders continue to sponsor the adult County Hurling Teams and we are very grateful for their sponsorship. Internally within the county we also rely heavily on sponsorship of all our competitions and we thank all our local sponsors for their effort and committment. This year once again we ran a “Race Day” in April at Punchestown. Our committee under the guidance of Eamon O’Keeffee ensured it was a great success. We also thank our Golf Classic Committee for their fund raising efforts during the year. We began a County Development Draw and we thank all the Clubs who gave us their full support and who managed to make good sume of money themselves also. We would hope to continue it next year and we would ask all clubs to support it and make money for their own clubs also. We are very lucky to have so many people supporting us in so many ways and for that we offer our thanks. It is important that we as a county support these people in their business when we have the opportunity.

Coaching

This is probably the most important area of development of our games at all levels. This year we have agreed in conjunction with Leinster Council to introduce a new Coaching and Games structure. This has involved a large commitment of finance in a three year plan. We have employed additional staff – Michael O’Sullivan, Garret Doyle and Leighton Glynn to assist with Coaching both in Schools and Clubs. In conjunction with Colm Gaskin and Hugh Kenny the county is now broken up into areas with Michael, Garrett and Colm looking after an area with Hugh also assisting as well as having overall responsibility. Leighton has also had his role amended and he now assists a number of clubs together with Colm Gaskin look after the Schools 2nd Level Hurling. They have already achieved some success in 2009. The continued success of “Go Games” has helped to persuade a lot of the smaller clubs to begin teams under their own club name and with the smaller numbers required allows them participate on an equal footing with the larger clubs. These games have proved very successful and it is important that all clubs take part to ensure that all children get to play our games.

Strategic Review Report

Croke Park launched a Strategic Review of all aspects within the G.A.A. This is a 5 year plan and is to be undertaken by all layers within the G.A.A. We have begun our County Plan and it is hoped to have in place targets for 2010 to ensure we are continually improving in Games, Structures etc. Clubs will also have to take on board this plan and set out their own targets over the next few years to ensure we all go forward together.

Development Committee

Victor O’Shaughnessy will give a full report on this area later in the booklet but I would like to express my thanks to him and his committee for all their hard work in the year gone by. The “Training Facility” at Ballinakill is well on its way and in 2010 we are looking at continuing this work. They also look after the clubs with any help required in improving their facilities. This committee also recognises the efforts of players and clubs in the “Awards Night” in the New Year.

Schools and Youth

This is an area where Coiste na nÓg look after all our games from U10 to U18 and if we are successful at this area we will always have a ready supply of players for the future. This year we once again had a large number of games to play and it did not always run smoothly. However with the support of the Fixtures Committee, Martin Barnes had the show on the road and we have completed a full programme of games within our calendar year. The clubs are now partaking in more games but it is important that they build on this for the future. A new programme of fixtures is being put together with involvement from all areas to ensure that the games will run smoothly. I would like to thank the District Boards and all the Development Squad Managers/Selectors for all the work put in during the year in promoting our games. In the Football all the squads performed well in the Leinster Blitzes. In the Hurling there was success at U14 (Tony Forristal Trophy) and at U16 who won their section of the All Ireland “B”. We would also ask the clubs to assist these people whenever possible by providing players when asked or by helping out at this level. This year we had two representatives at the Hurling Féile, Carnew Emmets and Bray Emmets. St Patrick’s and Michael Dwyers  represented the county in the Football. However despite some good displays we were unsuccessful in the All Ireland Football and Hurling Féile.

In the schools our games are being promoted as always but they do need our support. In years gone by we relied on teachers but this is no longer possible. As stated previously the clubs need to support the schools and the Club/School link is ideal for Primary Schools. Hugh Kenny is ensuring that the right people are going into the schools from the clubs. This year the appointment of Jim Murphy as a Fixtures/Games liaison officer at Post Primary Schools level was of great help to the schools. At second level we may also need to provide our grounds for games or training or possibly a set of jerseys or equipment where necessary. We will reap the benefits at a later date. Thanks once more to the Cumann na mBunscoil and Second Level Schools for all their commitment during the year.

Handball, Camogie and Ladies Football

It was another successful year in handball Shauna Hilley, Daniel Curry who won World Titles. Further success was had at Leinster and Tom Walsh was a recipient of the Leinster Hall of Fame. The Ladies Football continues to grow and this year they lost to Roscommon in Div 3 Final by 2 pts. The Arklow Geraldines Team won the Senior Club Final, congratulations to all concerned. The Camogie continues to have a vibrant club scene which produces exciting games. In conjunction with Jenny Duffy Leinster they held some coaching seminars and a Leinster Tournament. It is good to see all three associations continuing to grow and prosper within the county.

125th Anniversary

The G.A.A. celebrated its 125th Anniversary this year and we ran a number of events to honour the occasion. We had a special Football and Hurling competition and Rathnew and Glenealy took the honours in these competitions. We also held a Lá na gClub where all Clubs celebrated on the 10th May at a local level by having an open day and having games and refreshments for the local community. We also ran competitions at Primary and 2nd Level Schools and had a Parade of all Clubs with their banners before the S.F.C. Final. We had a Special Dinner where we honoured three winning teams from 1974 along with the presentation of medals to the Tommy Murphy Cup winning team. I thank Jimmy Dunne and his Committee for all their hard work during the year in running these events.

Finance

The Financial Report has been prepared for delegates by our Treasurer Eamon O’Keeffe. As usual it is a detailed report and gives everyone a clear view of the cost of running our county in the past year and as usual it is getting more expensive every year. I would like to thank Eamon on behalf of myself and the County Board for his new ideas in assisting with the financial running of the county.

Críoch

As I finish my report of all our activities during the year I hope that nothing has been omitted. I would like to congratulate all the Clubs that won the various competitions but I especially would like to thank all clubs for their commitment during the year. I also thank the clubs for their assistance and consideration shown to me during the year and I hope I was of assistance to them when required.

I would also like to thank Fás who assist the County and Clubs in running employment schemes where we have people looking after the grounds.

I am grateful to my fellow officers and the various sub-committees for their help during the year. A special thanks to the Chairman Andy O’Brien who is always available for consultation and hopefully I was able to assist him when required. Thanks to the staff at Croke Park and Leinster Council who are always available when assistance is needed. Thanks to the grounds staff and all the stewards and gate men/women who assist on match days especially this year at Aughrim for our big games. I would also like to thank the many clubs who sent us volunteers for our big match days and not forgetting Eamon O’Keeffe and Victor O’Shaughnessy who are always in attendance.

To Margo, Nuala, Tom, Victor and Jimmy Dunne who work with me in the office on a daily basis and without whose assistance I could not survive especially in those hectic days of the summer when competitions are at their height. A special prayer for all those “Gaels” who have passed away during the year, and gone to their eternal reward.

I ask everyone to look ahead to 2010 and strive to make it a better year for their club and county.

Is mise le meas,

Micheál Ó Murchú

Rúnaí, Coiste Condae Chill Mhantáin.