I sat beside a Baltinglass lady in Croke Park for the replay of the All Ireland – she was as stressed and as excited as any Dub. She has followed the Dubs for a number of years. we had a great chat, me doing a lot of boasting about my Wicklow relatives (both Lamberts and O’Loughlins) who had featured in Wicklow football over the years, one of them, Niamh Kelly, with a Wicklow All Ireland medal! Bumped into Liam from Aughrim as the Sam was being presented and had a great chat about all the family stalwarts who played in the blue and gold!
Back to Baltinglass! Baltinglass featured in our lives as a stop-off point on the journey to Wexford. I loved the view of the ruins across the Slaney as you entered the town.
Germaine’s was a particular favourite for lunch for Mam and Dad when in later years they journeyed without the clan. (The Wicklow Heather was the pit-stop if they went over the mountains.) Germaine’s is also where I met up with Jim on the run up to Christmas to collect my turkey (his welcome donation to the Paddocks Dinner).
So when I sat up in bed on Monday morning to read the epaper, as usual turning to the sports pages, I was delighted to read the following article about the Baltinglass win in Wicklow Club Competition. I’ll certainly keep an eye on their progress through Leinster. They will have Home (Aughrim) advantage for all matches through to the Final and as Dad used to say Aughrim is a pitch for the bold and brave. My neighbour at the All Ireland had much the same comment to make to supporters around us who were baying for “soft” penalties and cards. a Laois friend often talks about “the battle of Aughrim”.
Dad was an ardent follower of Wicklow football. He had great stories about the hurling and football days of Ballymanus and Annacurra. So the Baltinglass club victory in 1990, one of the last matches he was able to watch, was a great thrill for him.
Baltinglass are back where they belong
Thursday, October 27, 2016 By John Harrington
The Leinster Senior Football Club Championship will welcome back a long-lost prodigal son on Sunday when Wicklow champions Baltinglass make their first appearance in the competition for 22 years.
The Wicklow side were once one of the most familiar faces of the provincial club campaign in the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, a period that saw them win 15 county titles in 24 years.
That glorious era for Baltinglass GAA club was gilded with gold when they won the ’89 Leinster title and went on to win the All-Ireland too, the only Wicklow club ever to do so.
They’re back now though thanks to a County Final win over St. Patrick’s, and team-captain Jason Kennedy admits it’s hugely satisfying that the current generation have added their own chapter to the club’s illustrious history. Winning a first county title in nine years meant a lot to everyone in a town now festooned with green and white banners, but their tradition demands that they now have a good cut off the Leinster Championship which starts with a clash against Louth Champions, Sean O’Mahony’s, on Sunday.
We’ll be going into the game on Sunday looking to do ourselves justice. If that’s enough to get us into the quarter-final, then well and good. We’ll be taking this game very seriously. It’s not like we have the championship in the bag and we’re just going into this to see how we go. We’ll be hoping to definitely be competitive. “It is a bit of a journey into the unknown, but it’s one that we’re very excited about.”