The Stage is set for the sequel of one of the most intense rivalries in Wicklow GAA. Reigning champions Rathnew will seek to retain the Miley Cup for 2018 but next door neighbours St Pats will have other ideas after looking like they had what it takes to dethrone the champs for a large portion of the final. Despite their dominance on the scoreboard for large portions of the final they were left to rely on a last gasp Shane Murley point to rescue the game. With a whopping 46 County Titles between the sides neither side lacks for winning pedigree as Rathnew will look to make it title number 35 while 13 would be the lucky number for St Pats if they were to prevail on Saturday.
The geographical proximity of both these Middle Eastern clubs only adds to the spice of this Village versus Town Final pairing. Many households are now fiercely divided with some half-blood children even being decorated in blue & white only to be redecorated in the red & green all while being showered with bribes and affection to steer them towards supporting their Mammies or Daddy’s team.
We all know very well that there are many Rathnew & St Pats supporters who have their very own Romeo & Juliet stories and had been openly getting intimate with the enemy despite the severe punishments that the Village Elders & Town Council administer for such debauchery. But all intimacy has ceased since the 30th of September when St Pats booked their place in the Renault Wicklow Senior Football Final. All passion has drained from these illegal relationships as her bedtime headaches have mysteriously returned while he stays out in the shed looking at footage of the Villages 2001 Leinster Final win until all hours while hoping she has went to sleep by the time he goes to bed.
MANAGER: CASEY O BRIEN
Casey O Brien is a club legend in St Pats with an illustrious playing career in both codes as well as at Inter County Level putting him firmly in the legendary ranks in St Pats illustrious history. As a player Casey has won 3 National Hurling Leagues and an All Ireland B Hurling final in 2002. He has played Minor, Under 21 and Senior for Wicklow in both codes, 2 x Leinster Vocational School Winners Medals for Wicklow. Casey has won 2 Senior Hurling Championships with Saint Pats with the first coming in 1990 and Captained the winning side in 1992 made sweeter by the fact that his own father was playing in goal. His football career coincided with the rise of one of the greatest club teams this county has produced as he lost 3 county football finals to the great Baltinglass, one of which was in 1989 and Baltinglass went on to win All Ireland the following March. He won Leinster Minor and Under 21 Hurling medals with Wicklow and coming from a family steeped in the GAA it’s no suprise that he along with his father and brother Sean hold the incredible record of all having captained Wicklow to win Leinster Under 21 Hurling B titles.
No stranger to the management world, Casey has had many great victories most notably with the Wicklow Senior Hurlers. Casey took charge as the Wicklow Senior Hurling Manager from 2010 – 2015 and during that reign Wicklow got to successive Christy Ring Cup Finals in Croke Park in 2011 and 2012 where they lost to Kerry and a star studded London side respectively. He won 3 National Hurling Leagues as Manager in 2010, 2011, 2014 beating Louth, Derry and Down in 3 league finals and actually got to Division 1 but the league was revamped. This is Casey’s second stint in charge of Saint Patrick’s as football manager as in 2008 his side lost to Kiltegan by 1 point after a replay and in 2009 his charges lost to Rathnew by 2 points. Casey has also managed Carnew Emmets guiding them to a County Senior Hurling final in 2016 where they lost agonizingly after a replay against Bray Emmets. With his current side he has won Dunne Cup in 2017 and 2018 and leads them to battle for the second time in the Renault Wicklow Senior Football Final for 2018 on Saturday in Joule Park Aughrim at 3:00pm.
TRAINER: Garry Duffy
SELECTORS: Damien O Brien, Ronan Connolly
TEAM ADMINISTRATOR: Alan O Brien
KITMAN: Richie “Chico” Murphy
PHYSIO: Adam Quinn
St Pats started their campaign with an unbeaten group stage run which saw them top Group 1 of the Renault Senior Football Championship with 4 wins over Baltinglass, Annacurra, Newtown and Blessington and a draw with eventual Semi Finalists AGB. Topping the group saw them through to a semi final clash with Mick Murray’s Hollywood side who had been in great from throughout the championship but Casey O Brien’s charges surgically took a very good Hollywood side apart and set up a mouth-watering final clash with neighbours and reigning champions Rathnew where we witnessed a great performance from the Wicklow Town men who look the nailed on champions for large periods of the drawn final only to be reeled in and overtaken in injury time by the wily Villagers but Shane Murley stepped up to ensure that the Miley Cups next destination remains a mystery until Saturday.
This side contains a large number of past and present Inter County players in the shape of Dean Healy, John Crowe, Padge McWalter, Paul Earls, Tommy Kelly, Conor Ffrench and Padraig Higgins while in Stephen Duffy they have the current second placed Top Scorer in this years Championship. Casey O Brien has instilled a serious amount of steel into this talented St Pats side and young players like Paul O Brien and Ciaran McGettigan have been in tremendous form in this campaign and will pose a serious threat to the Rathnew rear guard. St Pats also have probably one of the most unheralded back 6 in the game and this unit have gone about their business without any fuss and the destination of the Miley Cup will once again hinge heavily on how this unit cope with the experienced and deadly Rathnew attack. They say behind every good man there’s a better woman but St Pats have a less female looking great of their own in goalkeeper Colly “Chimp” Byrne who is as good a keeper as you will find in County Wicklow. St Pats possess all the weapons to take the game to Rathnew and by Saturday evening we should know if their artillery was heavy enough to break the Rathnew grip on Wicklow Senior Football.
Legendary Manager Harry Murphy has led Rathnew to 8 Wicklow Senior Titles and eleven County Finals as Manager as well as that famous Leinster Final win in 2001 and was a Selector on the 1996, 97, 98 and 99 Championship winning sides. He takes charge in a final once again and is looking to win his 9th Senior Final as manager. He preceded another GAA legend Mick O Dwyer as Wicklow Senior Football Manager in 2011 in a tenure that saw him lead Wicklow until 2014. Harry is a master of the managerial craft and some of his best days have come at the expense of Dublin sides as he engineered the 2001 Leinster Final Defeat of Na Fianna along with a defeat of the Dublin Senior Football side in the O’Byrne Cup during his reign as Wicklow manager and the most recent being last years victory over the Star Studded reigning All Ireland Football Champions St Vincents who crashed out in Aughrim to his Rathnew side.
SELECTORS: PJ O Connor, Anthony Mernagh
KITMAN: Joe Kavanagh
STATS: Richard Kavanagh
PHYSIO: Clifford Murphy
Harry’s backroom team are made up of a wealth of experience in Anthony Mernagh who was on the 8 in a row winning side and also a key player on the Leinster winning team of 2001 and he was a county stalwart playing many a game for Wicklow.
PJ O Connor brings a wealth of experience having played in the 90’s and has many a championship medal and has been a long and proud servant to Rathnew GAA club for many many years.
Kitman Joe Kavanagh has been with Harry and his selectors for the last 2 years having been in involved with many Rathnew teams. Joe has everything organised from jerseys to footballs to water bottles, bibs, cone’s etc on the pitch for training so the management team can worry about the job at hand and this attention to detail is exactly the same on match day’s.
Statsman Richard Kavanagh has won Junior B honours in 2010, Junior A honours as captain in 2012 and an Intermediate in 2015 and has been on many a winning Senior panel. Richards football days were cut short due to injury but being a top club man he togged out to give the junior team a dig out this year when numbers were tight and he trained the Junior B team to win the championship last year. As stats man he keeps track of everything going on in the game and if needed through out the game the management might ask how the team is doing in certain departments of the game. Richard is also the man behind the score update’s on the Rathnew Twitter page.
Physio Clifford Murphy is well known to most players across County Wicklow as there’s a strong chance that if you’ve kicked ball in this County, Clifford has rubbed some part of your anatomy. Clifford is not just a great physio but he was also an accomplished footballer and was on the Rathnew team in the late 90’s and in the early 2000’s and has many a championship medal. Clifford’s exceptional talent as a Physio seen him hold the position of Wicklow’s County team Physio in the past.
Rathnew started their campaign with an unbeaten group stage run which saw them top Group 2 of the Renault Senior Football Championship with 4 wins over Avondale, Kiltegan, Bray Emmets and Eire Og and a draw with eventual Semi Finalists Hollywood. They would later defeat Hollywood in a table top playoff game that sent them straight through to a semi-final clash with AGB where they went on to secure a one point win over Damien Redmond’s high octane side in a game where they showed all the reasons why they have been such a successful side for the last two decades to set up a mouth-watering clash with St Pats where they used all their experience and composure to ride out the St Pats storm and looked to have captured the Miley Cup deep in injury time through great work from Ross O Brien and the boot of captain Eddie Doyle but St Pats came up with an answer late on to set up Saturdays replay.
You don’t need Bill to tell you of the sheer talent that makes up this side and the fighting spirit that flows through the veins of the Village men. In Leighton Glynn they have arguably one of the greatest footballers in the Country never mind the County and throw in the great Damien Power, James Stafford and Nicky Mernagh and you have more medals than a North Korean General and the most perfect set of football experience you’ll find throughout Ireland. If that’s not enough firepower then add Theo Smyth, Paul Merrigan, Jamie Snell, Ross O Brien all currently on the Wicklow Senior Football panel and that’s just the start of it. Eddie Doyle, Jody Merrigan and Mark Doyle are three of the best scoring forwards in Wicklow football and the steel of the Dual Stars John Manley and Danny Staunton only adds to the headaches facing the St Pats management. A special mention must go to the find of the Championship JT Moorehouse who is very much on course for young player of the year and speaking of young lads, how could we not mention the Rathnew Colossus Peter Dignam from the famous Dignam family who are steeped in Wicklow GAA who mans the posts for the Village men.
The Legend that is Pat Mitchell will unfortunately missed his first County Final in 50 years on County Final Sunday as he recovered from his operation and we would like to wish him a speedy recovery and we hope he knows that his presence was sorely missed on Sunday. All the Best Pat from all at Bill Hill.
PHILLY MURPHY – MOVIE EXTRA LEGEND
You may be unaware of the brilliant Movie Action Hero lurking in the shadows of many Blockbusters but Rathnew’s Philly Murphy spends his non footballing time as a Movie Extra in some of Hollywoods biggest flicks…..
CHAMPIONSHIP TOP SCORER CONTENDERS
Kiltegan’s Seanie Furlong sat on top of the Wicklow Senior Football Championship Scorers List with a whopping 1-30 (33) before St Pats and Rathnew met in the drawn Final where St Pats Stephen Duffy overhauled him to sit on 2-31 (37) going into Saturdays Replay where Rathnew’s Eddie Doyle with 3-21 (30) is the closest threat as he looks to retain his Senior Football Championship Top Scorer Title from 2017.
Tailteann Cup, Allianz National Football League Division 3, SFL DIV 1 Dunne Cup Final, Senior Football League Division 1, Senior Football Championship Group 2 2019, Renault Senior Football Championship Group 1, Renault Senior Football Championship, Leinster Senior Football Championship 2019, Leinster Senior Football Championship, Leinster Senior Club Football Championship, Leinster Junior Football Championship, Dunne Cup, Allianz National Football League Division 3 South, Allianz National Football League Division 3 (Relegation), Leinster Junior Football Championship 2019, O Byrne Cup, Wicklow Senior Football Championship, Allianz National Football League Division 4 2019, Senior Football League Division 1 2019, All Ireland Senior Football Qualifiers
Dunne Cup, Leinster Junior Football Championship, Renault Senior Football Championship, Renault Senior Football Championship Group 2 Playoff, Senior Football Championship Group 1 2019, Senior Football League Division 1, Senior Football League Division 1 (Knockout Stage), Leinster Junior Football Championship 2019, Renault Senior Football Championship Group 2, Wicklow Senior Football Championship, Senior Football League Division 1 2019
Senior Football League Division 1 (Knockout Stage)
THE TOP SCORERS WINNERS PRIZES:
A massive thank you to the Sponsors of the Wicklow Senior Football Championship Top Scorers, Katie Lowes, JJ Jewellers and Glam & Co who generously donated the prizes below for this years Top Scorers Prizes.
The passion, the moans and groans and the cries of sheer ecstasy will not be wasted in a bedroom, they will be stored up to be released on County Final Saturday and not wasted on some Muggle you married or are in a loving relationship with! A massive game awaits and you can follow the action Live here at our Live Update Centre