The long awaited return of GAA action in 2021 will see the divisive issue of the Group teams back in the fold as North District, Shamrocks and Tomacork will be entering the 2021 Wicklow Senior Football Championship.
With three group teams entered the format for the Senior Football Championship will have to have some form of alteration with an uneven number of teams vying to be the Miley Cup Champions. A source on the Wicklow CCC has said the addition of the group teams will only benefit Wicklow GAA as a whole with more players getting exposure to Senior football standard who may never get the opportunity to play anything higher than pub football standard.
The request from the three group teams was warmly received and the group teams are a welcome boost to club football in this county. Counties like Kerry have a proven track record of success from group teams and it should be no different up here
The Group teams entered have a large cohort of individual clubs represented and we reached out to the group teams to get an insight into their structures and how likely they are to impact on this years Championship race.
Clubs involved: (Enniskerry, Kilmacanogue, An Tochar, Kilcoole, Newcastle)
Manager: Brendan Barton
Key Players: Kiki Mulligan (Newcastle), Matthew Gilbert (Kilcoole)
The power couple of Wicklow GAA will be finally united as Matty Gilbert gets to line out alongside the man who thought he was his Only Fan, Kiki Mulligan.
Given the star names at the disposal of this side the last time North District fielded in Senior Championship, the performance they produced didn’t live up to the level they should be capable of but with a huge fan base behind Matty and match ticket subscriptions at a premium due to the pandemic, the hype around this team will be huge and the fans will be able to pay good money for the match stream to see Matty and the lads ball handling skills in all their glory.
Championship Odds: 8/1
Prediction: 1/4 Finalists
Clubs involved: (Ballymanus, Knockananna, Annacurra, Aughrim)
Player Manager: Brendan Lawrence
Key Players: Mark Kenny (Ballymanus), Gearoid Murphy (Annacurra), Brendan Lawrence (Knockananna)
Featuring three of the current Wicklow Senior Football team in their ranks the Shamrocks are back but with a few new weapons in their arsenal. Annacurra now back in Intermediate ranks are eligible to join the Shamrocks side they defeated when this outfit last took the field and will add considerable clout to the Shamrocks credentials but the real ace in this pack is their playmaking keeper, manager and all round messiah Brendan Lawrence who will select himself between the sticks ahead of Wicklow Senior Sub Goalkeeper Robert Lambert who is a capable outfield player where he plys his trade with Aughrim. Expect flamboyant football from this team.
Championship Odds: 6/1
Prediction: Semi Finalists
St Marys Tomacork
Clubs involved: (Coolkenno, Shillelagh/Coolboy, Carnew Emmets)
Manager: Ned Rossiter
Key Players: Anyone With A Byrne Surname (Shillelagh/Coolboy)
You can’t beat experience and the older the fiddle the sweeter the tune are terms you will hear when you’re on the pull at the bingo but also when talking about the great St Marys group team of 2011. It may be a decade since St Marys lifted the Miley Cup but the sunny climate of the Deep South has aged these lads like a fine wine and they are back on the 10th Anniversary of their last Miley Cup but this time they’ve brought a few other mobsters in the form of Coolboy and Carnew who would be the first two you would look for if a row broke out at the Bingo. The knowhow is there, the players are there and all that’s missing is a Miley! Expect a boom of Miley Byrne baby names in Shillelagh if St Marys Tomacork lift the Miley Cup this year…
Championship Odds: 2/1