Over-35s league a fitting tribute to the late Richie
At 8 p.m. on March 3, a small group of lads met for the first time in Tir na nOg pub in Wellingtonbridge with a view to setting up a new league to cater for the Over-35 soccer enthusiasts.
Approximately one hour (and a couple of pints) later, the Richie Dwyer Over-35 soccer league was born. Since then, the interest in the league has grown significantly, and we now have nine south Wexford teams competing in the event which got under way on Friday.
There is no doubt that the league will be competitive but more importantly it gives everyone a chance to get back to being active again while also having a great social aspect to it. Most registered players would have thought that their playing days were numbered, but now they have a chance to show their skills again and renew old rivalries.
A great sense of anticipation built as the start date approached, and no matter what age we are, we all still enjoy that buzz of playing a competitive match and the hunger to win is alive and well in all the participating clubs.
We are honoured to name the Over-35 league in memory of one of our dear friends, Richie Dwyer, who passed away on October 17 last year.
Richie was one of the founder members of the Duncannon club back in 1976, and a large portion of his adult life was spent in Mersheen in his various guises as a player, a mentor, a committee member and a referee.
Richie was known as a warm and engaging character to all who were lucky to meet him, but on the field of play he was known as a fearless and teak-tough player. His long flowing hair was his trademark back in the day as he soared in the air with his familiar shout of 'Richie's ball'.
Over the years his hairline might have receded but his love for Duncannon F.C. never diminished.
Richie was a larger than life character whose large beaming smile was only surpassed by his kind, caring nature. He seemed to know and be known by everyone in the Wexford Football League.
Soccer played a major role in Richie's life, and when he finally retired from playing with his beloved Duncannon he took up the mantle of refereeing. Richie spent 23 years as a referee in the Wexford Football League and often joked that the famous Italian referee Pierluigi Collina and himself were the top two refs in the world.
Richie's refereeing career began on October 12, 1993, and continued right up to the Saturday before his death when he took charge of a schoolboys' game. He officiated at various Wexford Football League Cup finals in many capacities as well as taking charge of the Gwyn Jones Cup final in 2012.
He was also involved in different roles in numerous Wexford Schoolboy Cup finals in his 23 years of refereeing.
In honour of his long service, Richie was presented with a certificate of merit award, by the branch, for his outstanding service to refereeing in Wexford in August of 2016.
The league was officially launched at Mersheen, the grounds of Duncannon F.C., and was attended by members of Richie's family, the Over-35s league committee, our sponsors, members of the Wexford referees, and players from all the participating clubs.
The league will run until mid-August, and all the details for the matches, fixtures, reports and more can be found on www.theover35s.com
We are also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wexover35s and on Twitter @wexover35s
St. Leonards 1 (Jimmy Rossiter), Kilmore 0; Taghmon United 2 (Trevor Berry 2), Corach Ramblers 2 (Niall Murphy, Alan Diskin); Fastnet Rovers 1 (Richard Walsh), Duncannon 1 (Johnny Kinsella); Campile 1 (Alan Myler), Raheen 1 (James Furlong).