HOW TO KEEP SMILING WHEN YOU JUST CAN’T STOP LOSING!!

A GAA stalwart in Kilkenny warned me that I should not turn up to watch a training session of his county football squad this week. If I did put in an appearance and lurked in the muck on the sidelines, there was a clear and present danger that I would be picked for the team.
Kilkenny may have reigned supreme in hurling during the first decade of this century. But their football manager, the ever-resilient Dick Mullins, readily admits that he is in charge of the worst county GAA team in the country.
“We are at the bottom of the barrel at the moment,” says the permanently-embattled coach with admirable candour.
“I’d say we are about 15 or 20 points behind any other team. That is the long and short of it.”
Last Sunday, the Kilkenny footballers, well-intentioned to a man, seemed to plumb new depths of ineptitude when they failed to register a single point against lowly Leitrim on a rain-lashed, windswept pitch at Ballyragget. The more negative accounts of the encounter suggested that they were “slaughtered”.
Those who were trying to put a more positive spin on matters said they were merely “annihilated”. The score was 3-19 to 0-0.
GAA historians and statisticians were left scratching their heads about when was the last time a county team had failed to notch up a single point by the final whistle.

Every county player dreams of playing at Croke Park in an All-Ireland final, with a crowd of 80,000 cheering them on.

In the world of inter-county football, Sunday’s scene at the St Patrick’s GAA ground in Ballyraggett was as far removed from the glamour of an All-Ireland final as it is possible to be.
On a cold, rainy February afternoon, the number of players easily outnumbered the spectators.
No more than a dozen people turned up on the dismal afternoon to watch the Allianz League Division 4 fixture.
One or two onlookers had travelled from Leitrim to be there, while the other spectators were mostly hardy and curious locals, possibly out walking their dogs.
Richie Stone lives across the wall from the GAA Club in Ballyragget, and was one of an elite group to witness the historic scene of sporting carnage.
Richie is full of admiration for the Kilkenny goalkeeper, JJ O’Sullivan, who fought valiantly as he faced an aerial bombardment in the goalmouth. “He was extremely busy,” he said.
“It is very difficult for footballers in this county because hurling is the hugely glamorous sport,” says Richie, who is PRO of the local GAA club.
“The trouble is that some of the best footballers in the county are also hurlers, and they find that they can’t play both.”
Kilkenny have traditionally been so hopeless at football that for many years they did not compete in the national league at all.
The stories of the occasionally farcical struggles of football on the stony ground of this hurling stronghold are legendary.
The tongue-in-cheek warning issued to me that if I became a spectator at the team’s training I might be picked for the team was not entirely without foundation.
According to local GAA lore, back in the mists of time a local bus driver once travelled with the Kilkenny team to a match, only to find himself being asked to tog out in the county colours, because they were one man short.
Kilkenny returned to the league with hope in their hearts after a long absence in 2008. This was to be a new era, when defeats would no longer resemble cricket scores.

Sadly, the new dawn proved to be false. In four seasons of hard graft and toil at the bottom of Division 4, they have managed just one win, and that was against London three years ago.

The English capital may be remarkable for many things, but it is not considered a Gaelic football stronghold.
Sadly, in the low-level world of Kilkenny football, lightning does not strike twice. The remarkable triumph against London has not been repeated: the Exiles beat Kilkenny 0-16 to 0-2 this year. In their only other league match this season, Kilkenny suffered a 28 point drubbing against Clare (5-17 to 1-1).

Bemused by their latest defeat, Mullins could be forgiven for borrowing the philosophy of the Dolly Parton song One Day at a Time as he looked forward to a difficult journey to Longford for tomorrow’s match. But he is not going to give up now.

“We’ll take each game at a time. We’ve got the bus organised, and I hope that we’ll get 15 players and five subs. There are a few lads who are sick at the moment, so it’s difficult.
“They have done their best, but unfortunately their best has not been good enough.”
Richie Stone says the poor performance of the football team attracts a lot of attention. It is possibly a way of getting back at Kilkenny. “I think a lot of it is down to the fact that our hurling team does so well,” he says.
On one occasion in the middle of the last decade, when Kilkenny met Offaly in a football match, a local reporter remarked that nothing short of a meteorite shower would enable the Noresiders to win.
And so it proved to be. Kilkenny went down by 23 points, not bad by their standards.
That game is principally remembered for a touching act of sportsmanship by the Offaly manager, Kevin Kilmurray.
Towards the end of the game, when a Kilkenny defender had been sent off and the Cats were down to 14 men, the Offaly coach inexplicably took off one of his players, even though he had used all his subs.
The move was seen as a simple act of compassion, almost unheard of in top-level sport.
The routine massacres have led some to question whether Kilkenny should continue in the league at all.
“There’s no point in being silly here,” the former GAA president, Nickey Brennan, said in an interview after Sunday’s match.
“When you send out a team and they’re not capable of a score it has to bring the process into question,” he said.
For the moment anyway, the hapless Mullins plans to fight on — and will send his charges into battle against Longford tomorrow with the aim of “keeping the goals down”.
“We’ll just have to go up there on Sunday and see how it goes,” says the manager of Ireland’s least successful county team..

 

Kilcock ladies v Skryne-challenge 25/2/11 stats only


Kilcock v Skryne: Stats

Result: Kilcock 3:13 (22)
           Skryne  5:09 (24)
Kilcock Scorers:                 
Grace White 2:03                             
E.Robinson 0:04                                                                                                            
Noelle Conlon 1:00
Emma Rochford 0:03
Joanne Mulligan 0:01
Sheena Byrne 0:01
Aoife Divilly 0:01
Frees Scored/Missed: 3/3
Wides: 15         
                
Possession Given Away: 1st half (21) 2nd half (12)
Throw ins: 1st Half (Won)  2nd Half (Won)
Kick Outs Won:(ours) 8 
Kick Outs Won:(skrynes) 8       
FreesWon:15   FreesConceded:18                                                                                                                                    
Blocks:  N.Conlon (1)
             A.O’Connor (1)
             M.Tighe (1)
             J.Mulligan (1)
             E.Rochford (1)
             C.King (1)
             S.Byrne (1)
Goalie Saves: 4
Players Of The Game: Grace White + Ashling O’Connor

Team:
1.Eimear Kelly

2.Mary Tighe
3.Fiona Campion
4.Ciara Leonard                          
5.Emma Maguire
6.Linda Byrne                                             
7.Ashling O’Connor
8.Sheena Byrne
9.Shona Cagney
10.Emma Rochford
11.Joanne Mulligan
12.Grace White
13.Andrea McGrath
14.Noelle Conlon
15.Louise Keane

Subs:
Emma Robinson
Shannon Farrell
Claire King
Emma Jane O’Shea
Laura O’Neill
Niamh Kelly
Shannon Byrne
Aoife Divily
Deirbhle Mulvihill
Avril Mulligan

Total Players: 25
             

Kilcock Ladies Gaelic Football Club Annual Report 2010

                                    
 
2010 was a year of mixed emotions for the Kilcock Senior Ladies team and their manager John Mulligan and a year in which they experienced many highs and lows throughout! The Pre-season training was its usual tough self with the Ladies showing up in high numbers to put in the required effort for the year ahead. However when the first round of league games got underway, the girls lined out in their new jersey’s thanks to the generous sponsorship from Macari’s Café and Restaurant, Results did not go their way with defeats to Kilcullen, Carbury and Ballykelly, before they finally broke their duck with an away win at Athgarvan and a home one to Suncroft. So at they half way stage of the league campaign Mulligan and his two selectors Garvan Cagney and Seamus Kane were left with a lot to ponder and much work to do. They did duly and this paid off with second round wins over Athgarvan, Suncroft and eventually a fourteen point defeat over Carbury. Gaining them a top four place finish needed to reach the semi-finals. Where eventually the girls lost out to a strong Ballykelly side.



Kilcock Ladies V. Kilcullen, championship semi-final 2010



If the league seemed exciting it only served as an appetite for what would be a rollercoaster ride through the Junior B championship. The work was done the girls ran the canal banks, ran up and down the hills of Newtown and did 10K runs around Donadea Forrest in between many challenge games which included battles against Enfield’s Na Fianna, Moynalvey and Walterstown of Meath. In this time they also hosted, took part in and won the ladies section of the “Michael Byrne Memorial Tournament.” In the seven a side style competition they defeated Robert Emmett’s and Walterstown, and lost to Moynalvey in the group stages but got their revenge on the latter when beating them in an exciting penalty shootout due to a level scoreboard after the extra time whistle, with Grace White the hero by slotting home the winning kick. The ladies would like to thank all in the organisation and helping of this event and all the proceeds went to a great cause, suicide awareness.
County final here we come!



So with a trophy in the bag it was back down to the serious business of the championship, which again, like the league, didn’t start to brightly with a loss in Allenwood to Na Fianna but as per usual they bounced back with wins over Kilcullen, Suncroft and Athgarvan, before another setback defeat verses Carbury. But with a third place finish secured the semi-finals once again beckoned and this time they weren’t going to miss out on a final, with a superb team effort in the second half to beat Kilcullen on their home patch, with goalie Eimer Kelly, Grace White and Emma Rochford to the fore………. So it was to Sallins the final leg of their journey would take this team and their many supporters on the 10th of October where local rivals Carbury awaited them. Reaching this final had not only been through the hard endeavour of 2010 infact this journey started way back in 2004 when the underage section of the Kilcock Ladies was started up by members of the senior panel and it is clear to see that the fruits of their labour had richly paid off with no less than seven minors on their senior panel.
Team talk before championship final
A slow starting first half was to be the ladies downfall on the day, with nerves getting the better of the Kilcock side, Carbury on the other hand showed none, they had already won the league title in 2010 and won the 2009 Junior C Championship. Allowing Carbury a 10 point to 3 point half-time advantage. But when they returned out after the break Kilcock were a completely different team and with Orla Cagney and Sheena Byrne doing all the hard work around the middle, and White, Rochford and Katie Devine pointing over from all angles they slowly crept back into contention. The Kilcock defence, being led by team Captain Shona Cagney, kept their team in the game, Carbury only scoring two points in the second half and were rendered scoreless for the last twenty minutes. But it wasn’t to be and with a bit of luck and had some refereeing decisions gone their way they could have completed the perfect comeback, instead a 11pt – 10pt loss was the outcome. The girls may regret this loss but they can hold their head high and look to the future and with such a young team the future can only be bright. 2011 is a whole new year………….
Kilcock senior ladies would like to take this opportunity to thank manager Johnny Mulligan for the dedication he has shown them over the past two years. Also thank you to selector’s Seamus Kane and Garvan Cagney. There work and sacrifices didn’t go un-noticed and there time was greatly appreciated by all. The ladies would also like to thank the many people who help out behind the scenes and their many dedicated supporters.
Underage
The spring championship campaign for the underage girls in Kilcock proved to be just as exciting as the senior’s championship efforts. The U16 ladies kicked off in March and this division two side got off the a flying start in their championship campaign with easy wins over Ellistown, who had previously beaten them in the 2009 championship final, and Maynooth. Their next draw was away to Clane, who proved to be a thorn in the Kilcock side but a last minute goal from Aisling O’ Connor, saw her side victorious. The ladies then went on to defeat Ballykelly and Suncroft thanks to the scoring mid-field combo of Caoimhe Fagan Hynes and Grace White who seem to be unstoppable for any defence. Kilcock topped the table, were unbeaten in the group stages and they were drawn against Maynooth in the semi-final. Things looked good but Maynooth turned up to Kilcock in May a different side than previously remembered. The girls dug deep with inspirational performances in defence from Emma Maguire, Yvonne Leonard and Emily Milner, but Kilcock were rattled and try as they may they couldn’t notch up the much needed points on the scoreboard.
Maynooth went on to win the U16 championship, unfortunate for Kilcock who peaked to early in the campaign.
            As the U16 championship continued, the U14 girls kicked off their championship journey with defeat’s to Robert Emmett’s and Rathcoffey. Future talent was on show for this team with Andrea MaGrath, Lorna Murray and Shannon Farrell, inspiring their younger team mates with their talent and passion. As the championship progressed so did the girls, with wins over Monasterevin and Milltown, but it proved too little to late and the semi-finals held no place for Kilcock.
            After a long football break over the summer the Autumn league’s kicked off in September for the U15 and U13 teams. Once again the U15 team came tearing out of the traps for the group stages of their Kildare North league. They narrowly defeated Milltown in their first match, and displayed their true talent and ability with further defeats over Two Mile House and Robert Emmett’s. By the fourth round of the league they had already qualified for the Kildare Semi-finals (Kildare North V. Kildare South), but they still went out and preformed as if their position was at stake, defeating Rathcoffey in a true battle, with the controversial referee from the ladies championship final, performing his old tricks yet again! Kilcock won the Kildare North league, being the only side undefeated from north or south , but all this changed in the semi-finals when they met a tough Moorefield side, who had only one intention in mind. It was disappointed yet again for Kilcock but future brings hope with rising talents like Hayley White, Laura Ward and Holly Burke, who will still be eligible for U15’s for a future two years.
            It was in the U13 league that the true ability of these young girls could be displayed, yet being ranked in a top division did them no favours and they suffered defeats by Robert Emmett’s, St Laurence’s and Balyna. They put in true effort over Confey, experienced showed, with Emma Maguire and Aisling O’ Connor dominating mid-field and Eve Powderly and Saoirse Shannon sweeping balls out of defence. Yet their efforts were in vain when a last minute goal saw Confey 2pt victors.
The minor championship hasn’t yet begun, with Kilcock’s first match to Carbury on the 7th November. Manager Shane Stone and selector Niall Mulvihill, have the girls prepared for battle and experience will stand to them with many minor girls starting on the senior panel. Overall the girls display of commitment and dedication to football over the past year has showed on the field and with the up and coming girls playing U12 , U10’s and nursery, we certainly will have no shortage of talent for 2011.
            Other:
            * Well done to the Kilcock players who played in various schools and college finals. Ciara Leonard, Deirbhle Mulvihill and Grace White played for Scoil Dara in the School’s Leinster Final. While Bernie Durkan played in the British University Championship Final.
            * Were delighted to announce that ladies football training began in Scoil Choca Naofa in April, with teacher and player Sheena Byrne kick starting it off! Unfortunately there has been temporary training set backs with the construction of the school extension. 
             * Congratulations to our former senior players Grainne Kinnane and Laura Flood on the birth of their daughters, Alanna and Caoimhe………………………………… Possible future players!?
             * Thank you to the various businesses who have sponsored us gear and / or  prizes for our awards night, over the past year. A special thank you to Macari’s who sponsored the senior ladies team’s new jersey’s and hoodies.
              * A special thank you to all the player’s and parents who help train and manage the underage section of the ladies. Also to the many parents who help out with lines-men and umpires during matches.

Robert Cox

BALLYBOYS ENJOY PIMMS AT THE YORK RACES!

BALLYBOYS ENJOY PIMMS AT THE YORK RACES!

It was upon arrival at the York racecourse last Friday the 8th of October that yours truly befriended a group of racing enthusiasts, the Ballyboys from Kilcock and ended up enjoying some pimms with them on the lawn and some craic over the two days racing.I was lucky in a way to meet up with these fine gentlemen as it was my first time racing in England and since I was there to do a review on the famous track, what better way to start than by obtaining some information and stories from five men who had seemingly done it all before.First things first,what is pimms i hear you ask?Well it’s a cool refreshing alcoholic beverage consisting of gin,lemonade and pimms itself and throw in some ice and sliced fruit such as apple and orange and you have the perefect drink to enjoy on a nice,hot day such as the one we had on friday.The British beverage is almost as much a tradition as the cup of the tea and the British down the gin-based drink by the gallon on hot summer months.So I knew it was going to be special kind of weekend when it started by me sharing a pimms with five Irish men calling themselves the Ballyboys and not a Guinness!! But that is the glory of the york races as I found out, whether you want to dress up in your finest collar and tie and enter the county stand or go casual and mingle with the rest it’s a great day out regardless which you choose. I went for the former and paid the £24 entrance fee which also got me the day’s race card and the badge for the county stand and other restricted areas. It turned out to be the right choice and i would recceomend it to anyone wishing to travel there next year(I say next year because as it turned out this was the last meeting of the year at York,which only added to the carnival athmosphere).With the large crowd there the county stand gives you the opportunity to take a seat every now and then and watch the races unfold in comfort.So with my pimms drank,my race card studied and my tips from the Ballyboys stowed away, I set off to explore the place, find my feet so to say which I found rather easy as though York holds a large crowd, it is small and compact to get around, the longest walk been from the parade ring to the betting ring. The most impressive thing I found was the view you have of the horses coming down the home straight as i was looking at them head on, something i’ve never experienced here in Ireland. And it was there cheered home my two winners Rude Girl @ 4-1 in the 3:55 and Veiled Applause @7-2 in the 5:00.But it was also there I was a shoulder to cry on for one of my new friends as he failed to back a horse he had been on about all day..Justonefortheroad, a 25-1 winner who romped home in the 3:20.But in all it was a most enjoyable first days racing in England for me and I had the added bonus of getting to meet ex soccer star Alan Shearer after his horse Justonefortheroad was victorious. So in all I was 100% sure of a return the following day and would highly recommend a day at the York races, the people are friendly, the food is second to none, you can do a day in the champagne bar or eat hot dogs outside of the county stand but if it’s fish your into as I was my money is on the little cold fish bar just behind the parade ring, it’s where I bid farewell to The Ballyboys…until saturday.

WARD OPENS OVERSEAS ACCOUNT!!

Local horse trainer Vincent Ward got his maiden victory on English soil on sunday the 26th september last as his filly Fictional Account romped to victory in the SIS Live Fenwolf Stakes.Ward who trains seven horses at his stables in Piercetown,Kilcock,had always dreamed of saddling a winner at Ascot and that dream became a reality when jockey William Buick pushed out Fictional Account to score by a length and a half from Free Agent to cause a 16/1 upset.A jubilant Ward said after the race:”I”ve spent 25 years dreaming about this day.We were going for the Irish Cesarewitch but changed our minds because the ground was too soft and she’d have had top weight”.Fictional Account is owned by the Cill Choca syndicate in Kilcock and members of the syndicate along with family and friends found that the long journey was a joyous and fruitful one.Talking to one of the members after the race,they said”We really can’t believe it,we had two wins with her already this year,in Dundalk And Downroyal but this is the icing on the cake,we are over the moon”.Ward’s other horse in Ascot at the weekend Striking Force couldn’t make it a dream double but ran well in finishing 5th on Friday evening in the Bollinger Champagne Challenge Series Final H’Cap Stakes on the un-suited soft ground.