John’s Villas in Enniscorthy

Martin a very shrewd judge

This historic photograph supplied, with thanks, by Ed Rowsome was taken in Croke Park on October 21, 1945. Pearse’s Juvenile hurling team to the capital, and they defeated St. Vincent’s by 3 1 to 0 3 for a set of medals. That team included three future Wexford stars in Ted Bolger (captain), Art Foley (who played at full back), and Tom Dixon. Their red and green jerseys were knitted by two keen supporters, Kathleen Leacy and ‘Dodo’ Colfer from St. John’s Villas in Enniscorthy.

This historic photograph supplied, with thanks, by Ed Rowsome was taken in Croke Park on October 21, 1945. Pearse’s Juvenile hurling team to the capital, and they defeated St. Vincent’s by 3 1 to 0 3 for a set of medals. That team included three future Wexford stars in Ted Bolger (captain), Art Foley (who played at full back), and Tom Dixon. Their red and green jerseys were knitted by two keen supporters, Kathleen Leacy and ‘Dodo’ Colfer from St. John’s Villas in Enniscorthy.

And before I re produce his contribution to the yearbook, I feel it important to explain his huge influence on the promotion of hurling for the younger generation.

As Martin said in journalist Sen Whelan excellent 1984 book, A Memory football was dog in the Cathedral town when he was growing up in the late thirties and early forties.

Hurling played second fiddle, but Martin was part of a small group, that also included Jack Carley, future long time county Chairman Sen Browne, and John Murphy, with a real interest in promoting the game.

Eventually, the youngsters from the various town clubs who enjoyed the game united under one banner, and it led to a steady flow of under age championship successes.

Martin himself captained the Emmets to the 1943 Minor title, beating Glynn by 6 4 to 6 0 in the final played in Oylegate on September 4 of that year. Pearse who swept the boards by claiming Juvenile hurling honours in 1944 and 1946, plus a Minor double in and

By the onset of the fifties, with Wexford revival well under way, the game was thriving in Enniscorthy, and Martin was one of the main men responsible for making that happen.

Along with those under age wins since 1943, St. Aidan won the Junior crown in 1945, and added Senior success at the first attempt in before retaining their title twelve months later.

## ## Several hurlers who had taken their first tentative steps in the game under Martin tutelage went on to power Wexford rise to the top in the decade that followed.

And his own contribution to the game he loved never dimmed, as he served as a mentor with All Ireland winning county Minor hurling teams in the sixties as well as managing the Seniors to their last National League crown in 1973.

Martin was also a selector when Rapparees last won the county Senior title in 1978, and his beloved Enniscorthy came to a standstill to mourn his loss when he passed away after a long illness in January of 2007.

Just to give some additional context for the younger readers, his grandson, Kevin Foley, is one of the stars of the current Wexford team. but in a wider everyday context.

Martin wife, Maeve, hails originally from St. John Villas in the town, and she was a good friend of my late grandmother who was a one time neighbour.

I saw a lovely photograph of Maeve on Facebook last week, observing social distancing while her great granddaughter called to say hello.

The late Pdraig was the type of diligent worker usually very hard for clubs to find, an outstanding servant of the Rapparees who continued playing at Junior level beyond his 50th birthday.

His brother, Jim (better known as Jim Bob), is a long time resident of Carnew and a stalwart of the famed Emmets just over the Wicklow border ironic, really, given that Martin captained a team of the same name to that Minor title in 1943.

Martin and Maeve three daughters also share that passion for our national games. Maria (Nolan) served as Rapparees Starlights club Secretary for many years, and is currently involved with Cirde Loch Garman.

Jacqui (Murphy) is married to Dickie, All Ireland referee, while Terri (Foley), Kevin mother, sadly lost her husband, Michael, to illness at a very young age in 2007.

Michael was a powerful presence on the hurling field and a gentle giant outside the white lines. He represented Wexford in hurling at Minor, Under 21 and Senior levels, and had the distinction of featuring at left corner back in Liam Griffin first ever game at the helm a 6 14 to 2 10 National League win against Kerry in New Ross on October 9, 1994.

With Martin and his family background outlined, now it time to hear from the man himself. This is what he wrote when asked to name his best Wexford hurling team in 1982:

I was asked to do this particular article for the year book I undertook to do it with a certain amount of trepidation.

recognise it as an almost impossible task and, like the controversy currently engulfing the All Star selectors, I too will hardly please everyone.

stress that the selection hereunder is my personal opinion based on certain personal likes and dislikes in a player. I would certainly have been proud to have had the chance to prepare them for a Leinster championship.

is very difficult to pick an all time Wexford hurling team and, as my memories are only from 1940, I will try and remember the players in their best positions. And even at that it is hard to get away from the teams of the fifties though we had other good teams in 1944, 1962 and

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