Humans of Wicklow

Willie Merrigan

I was never really into any kind of sport, but that all changed when I was asked by the late Pat Kinsella to mark out a pitch at the former dog track in Arklow.

I don’t ever remember being near a pitch let alone mark one out but I said I would.

That was in the summer of 1984 and 33 years later I am still marking out the pitch.

I simply love GAA now and have seen many changes over the years, when I came here first there was only a stand, dressing rooms and pitch.

For a game at say 3 o’clock cars would start arriving around half past two, straight into the dressing rooms out on to the pitch play the game and go home.

Now the game is almost professional teams could spend a good 45 minutes warming up before the game and then a warm down at the end of the game, fitness and speed is what it is all about now.

It is no longer called the dog track, it is now Pearse park we now have fences, dugouts, netting behind the goals, scoreboard an all-weather pitch and one of the things which is great to see is the children wearing the colours of their local teams.

The emergence of ladies football is another thing which you could not have predicted when I came here first, it came and went and then came back with a bang just look at the amount of girls and ladies teams we have in the county and it is going from strength to strength.

The pitch hardly ever gets a break during the summer months with football, hurling camogie and training but it stands up to it all.

I have had many great times here especially when the Arklow Geraldines win, but also the Wicklow hurlers, there have been some great days here over the past few years, after years in the doldrums.

Some of my favorite days here were spent with Patsy O’Toole, Patsy would be doing the scoreboard but loved to have a chat during the game and would miss the odd point much to the amusement of all close to the scoreboard and umpires.

I love my job here and hopefully will be here for many more years to come.



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