Brothers leading the way for Wicklow


TOMMY GLYNN saw plenty in his time. He hurled for Wicklow for 16 years and lined out for the footballers on and off as well. He was on the pitch against Tipp in Ashford in 1982 when they gave a debut to a young corner-forward who scored 2-4 on the day and went on to become Nicky English. He was there too in 1969 when the footballers won a junior All-Ireland against a Kerry team that boasted Paudie Lynch, John O’Keeffe and a big ox at full-back who would go on to become Moss Keane. He was there and it was something, truly it was.

But for all he saw and all he did, Tommy would be hard-pushed to think of a bigger or better weekend than this one. Today in Arklow, Wicklow play Meath in the Christy Ring Cup semi-final. Tomorrow in Carlow, Wicklow play Meath in the Leinster football championship. On both occasions, the Wicklow captain will be a son of Tommy Glynn.

Leighton Glynn, you know. The youngest of Tommy and Philomena Glynn’s four kids is Wicklow’s most dangerous forward, an International Rules wizard and a fine hurler in his own right. A few years back, he got a call-up to play in the interprovincial series not just as a footballer but as a hurler as well.

Enan Glynn, you probably don’t know. Captain of the hurlers, he’s a dead-eyed forward who’s twice been man-of-the-match in county finals for Glenealy. In last year’s NHL Division 3A final, his seven points against Derry were a solid down payment on the 2-20 Wicklow ran up to win promotion. His side have been solidly easing their way through the Christy Ring Cup of late with wins over Kerry and Derry and are now just a game away from Croke Park.

Tommy Glynn wouldn’t dream of saying this was inevitable but concedes it would be hard to imagine dramatically different lives for his kids. Apart from his own background, geography meant the Glynn offspring hadn’t much say in the matter.

“Once you go out of our driveway you’re in the hurling ground,” says Tommy. “If you don’t want to go into the clubhouse for a shower, you’re only 30 seconds from the one in the house.”

On a weekend like this, it’s a matter of letting the cards fall where they may. For once, the footballers have more than a puncher’s chance tomorrow. The hurlers are fancied but not by enough to make him feel comfortable about it.

“The funny thing with Meath [in hurling] is that we were always able to go to Trim or Navan and beat them there and they were always able to come to Aughrim or Arklow and beat us. There’s no fear of each other on either side. They beat us in the Kehoe Cup final last year in a tight game but we’re a better prepared side now.”

And the footballers?

“I think we’re going to give it a right good rattle. The only thing I hope for is a fair referee. You’re always worried when you’re one of the smaller counties that a 50-50 decision won’t go with you. I just hope we have a good strong referee who doesn’t see Meath playing Wicklow but just two football teams playing each other.

“We never seem to get it against the big sides, even going back to playing Meath in 1991 in the game after they had the four games against Dublin. We were winning that with a minute to go and we should have had a free to go two points up but the referee never gave it. You have to be six points up in injury time to be sure of winning some of these games.”

Whatever happens, the Glynns will be in the stands watching on as their boys go in for the coin-toss and then off to lead their respective sides thereafter.

Enan and Leighton. If the names sound unusual, there’s a simple explanation for both. Enan is the local saint in Glenealy, probably a bastardisation of Eunan, a monk who came to the area from Donegal way back.

And Leighton? “Oh, that was Phil,” Tommy says. “There was a fella called Leighton James who played for Burnley at the time. She liked him so that’s where Leighton came from.” James was in fact the Wales captain for a spell in the early 1980s. Funny how the world turns, isn’t it?