It’s been a very eventful year for the club and there is so much to look back on from all the various games and events that it’s hard to reflect on any one occurrence. The year 2012 will go down as a very successful one for the club with underage success at under 12 and under 14 levels and off course the historic senior team who did something very, very special this year. They made the headlines in a big way and I have outlined below just some of the articles that made the headlines during a remarkable, a magnificent, a brilliant 2012.
In January we welcomed our new team manager Jim Clifford to the club for the 2012 season. Jim’s appointment was rubber-stamped at a players meeting held on Friday 20th January in the clubrooms. Addressing the players Jim highlighted his requirements and stressed the importance of working hard and being honest. He expressed the significance of being punctual and having a high degree of discipline throughout the year. He emphasised that the club went very close last year and if you want to achieve success then all players will have to show character and be leaders. This involved making a lot of sacrifices throughout the year and indicated that holidays will be restricted to the closed season and he looked forward to working with the players and the club.
Achievements both on and off the field were recognised on Friday 24th February when we held our annual social & presentation night in St. Mary’s Hall. Noel “Nudie” Carroll was named the senior player of the year. One of the clubs most committed players his performances throughout the season were both outstanding and consistent while his attendance and dedication at training was exceptional, missing only two sessions over the whole year. The reserve player of the year award went to Stephen Lynch. Stephen made a comeback in 2011 after suffering, potential career threatening, knee injuries but such is the character of the lad that he worked extremely hard to regain his fitness and made an instant impact on the last line of defence. Mark McGuirk won the managers vote for the minor award after an impressive year. Mark is among a group of emerging young talented players within the club and this was recognised last year when he was a member of the County Monaghan minor team. Siobhan McQuillan received a special presentation from club chairman Jimmy McGeough for her tremendous work on the Monaghan County Board for the past nineteen years. Members of the victorious minor team, Rock Sarsfields, who won the division two league title also received their medals from John Connolly, Monaghan County Board and finally this year we paid tribute to the latest inductee to our Hall of Fame when the popular and well-known, Mickey Friary was presented with his award for his lifelong dedication to the club.
In March two of our up and coming stars Fergal McGeough and Lorcan Smyth were chosen to be part of the Monaghan Minor county panel. To wear the county jersey colours is a wonderful honour, a great tribute to the hard-work and dedication shown by the lads.
Oh, what a night we had on Friday 27th April at our Rock Country & Irish show. We were promised entertainment, we were promised fun and excitement and we were promised great songs being performed by great singers and boy, they did not disappoint. Weeks of preparation, hours of dedicated commitment from all the singers, musicians working hard behind the scenes all culminated in a FANTASTIC night of entertainment. Awesome! The atmosphere on the night was amazing as thirteen very talented singers from the village and surrounding areas took part in our Rock Country & Irish night to perform their favourite Country & Western and traditional Irish ballads and they did so in tremendous style. First up on stage was Ollie McQuillan and he got the evening off to a great start with his performance of ‘Think of Me’. Next to hit the stage was Annette Hillis and she gave us a smooth rendition of ’Nancy Myles’. Hughie Carroll gave us his version of ‘A Country Girl in Paris’ with Martina McDermott treating us to a ‘Cottage in the Country’. Next up on stage was Tracey Rooney who sang her favourite song ‘Carrickfergus’ and the ballad group consisting of Elaine Tate, Pat McCormick, Kelly Crowe, Brian McGill and Tracey Rooney belted out one of the Dubliners classics ‘The Ferryman’. Walter Brown then gave his delivery of ‘Isle of Innisfree’ and Fionnuala McQuillan thrilled us with a timeless Jeannie C Riley song entitled ‘Harper Valley PTA’. Cait Fleming blew us away when she sang ‘Galway Bay’ while Irene McCormick brought the roof down when she concluded the show with her performance of ‘Pick Me Up On Your Way Down’
Our under 12 team travelled to Cloghan on Saturday 12th May to take on Fergal O’Hanlons in the final of the Spring league competition. While we enjoyed plenty of possession we unfortunately could not convert it onto the scoreboard. Fergal O’Hanlons, on the other hand, made the most of their chances and secured the victory on a final score-line Rockcorry 0-5 Fergal O’Hanlons 0-10.
On Sunday 20th May all Roads led to Cloghan for an open event where all Gaels had a chance to meet the 2012 Senior Ladies National League Champions & the Senior Footballers ahead of their Championship campaign. Senior players made themselves available to meet & greet all Gaels as well as an opportunity for Photographs and Autographs.
We celebrated Canon Gerard Ferguson 60th anniversary of his ordination to the Priesthood on Friday 22nd June. Family members, friends and parishioners from various parishes gathered for a Thanksgiving Mass held in St. Mary’s Corrvacan and afterwards attended a special presentation night in St. Mary’s Hall. Serving in any profession for sixty years is a remarkable achievement and he has indelibly made his mark and touched the lives of so many people during his time. He is an extraordinary man, generous, humble and always ready to listen, to understand and to sympathise and we thank you Canon Ferguson for dedicating your life to peaching the Word of God. One of the most moving and interesting moments of the nights was a “This is Your Life” presentation that remembered special events during his life with a selection of photographs and video clips from friends who recalled stories and wonderful memories about his life. Another touching occasion was the performance of a song entitled “The Priest from Belcoo”. The song was specially written for the occasion and it was performed by local musicians Thomas McCormick and Mick McCormick and it was certainly a magical moment.
It’s not very often you get a chance to have a face-to-face conversation with a true GAA Great but on Tuesday 3rd July, the Kerry legend Mick O’Dwyer made the long journey from Waterville, Kerry to visit our club. Unfortunately, it was not the best weather for spectators but the slightly wet and miserable conditions did not dampen people’s spirits or enthusiasm as they waited for the greatest manager of all time. He is a remarkable man, a symbol, whose life and record demonstrates all that is good about our wonderful Association. Before he met our senior team he enjoyed meeting and having the craic with everyone, signing autographs and posed for photographs. After doing a light workout with the team he highlighted the importance of encouragement, to support each other, to back each other, to continue to work-hard and believe you can become all you can be. Think positive, act positive, be positive. It was truly amazing and I have to say it was a wonderful opportunity to meet someone of his calibre.
Our under 12 team played Killeevan on Saturday 18th August for the Terence Reilly Memorial Shield and anyone that was lucky enough to be in Pairc Naomh Mhuire would have witnessed all that is good about GAA because the football displayed by both sets of players was truly outstanding. The game was nip and tuck throughout with play end to end and was played in a very sporting manner and after a thrill-a-minute match we secured the victory on a score-line Rockcorry 4-11 Killeevan 3-8.
September was a very busy month and it started, in style, because on Saturday 1st September our under 12 footballers claimed the Division 5 league title. The game of Gaelic football was the real winner on the day as they edged out Aghabog in the final after a fabulous contest. This was a tremendous match which was played in a welter of excitement throughout and after an absorbing encounter we gained a well-deserved victory on a score-line 5-9 to 5-5.
Following on from the success of the Terence Reilly Memorial Shield the club switched their attention to the under 10 players and held a four team tournament in memory of Bosco Carroll. There was a massive turnout of kids from neighbouring clubs Aghabog, Killeevan and Latton who joined our own bunch of wee warriors to battle it out for the Memorial Cup. This year proved to be another fascinating and absorbing competition because we were treated to some fabulous matches where all kids played their hearts outs. It is always great to see the future stars of the clubs perform at this level and it’s great to see so many kids really enjoying themselves. There was fine attacking and flowing football on show and there was hardly a break in play which certainly left it very entertaining for the large crowd in attendance. The semi-final pairings saw Aghabog v Latton and Rockcorry v Killeevan and after two outstanding matches the Latton and Rockcorry teams progressed for a repeat showdown of last year’s final. The final was another breathe-taking encounter with the play swinging from end to end but sadly it was Latton’s ability to convert possession into scores and ultimately emerged as winners to retain the Bosco Carroll Memorial Cup.
Our under 14 footballers made the short journey to O’Rahilly Park, Latton on Saturday 29th September to take on Clontribret in the final of the Division 6 Shield competition. This match turned out to be a real humdinger between two very committed sides. It was a close game from start to finish with both sets of players battling hard for every ball and in the end we managed to secure the victory over a gallant Clontibret team on a score-line Rockcorry 5-5 Clontibret 2-10.
One of our most eagerly awaited fund raising events took place on Saturday 22nd September when we held our inaugural golf classic. We had a great turnout with over a hundred golfers on the Clones Golf Course. Despite all the rain, thankfully weather conditions were perfect and the course was in tip-top condition as all golfers headed out to play for an enjoyable round of golf.
October was a superdocious month and one that will never be forgotten. Every so often, something or somebody comes along and does something really special that will assure them of a place in history. When the next chapter of history of the club is finally complied, 2012 will certainly be regarded as one of the milestones in the club’s history because the present crop of players created their own piece of unique history on Sunday 28th October when they displayed remarkable guts and showed their true character to grind out an amazing victory to claim the Vincent McAviney Cup on a score-line Rockcorry 1-9 Doohamlet 1-7 and thus securing senior status.
On Saturday 13th October our juvenile committee held a very enjoyable presentation day where all our nursery players, aged from five to eight received certificates for their efforts and participation at training and Go Games Blitzes throughout the year. There was a great turnout of kids and they had their certificates presented by Gerard O’Brien who along with Karen McKeown, Fintan Larmer and Marian Larmer organised and took charge of weekly coaching sessions with the kids. Our youth officer, Pascal Smyth, addressed all the parents and highlighted the nursery section of the club had a very busy year where the emphasis was on obviously on participation, getting the kids interested in Gaelic Games and making sure the kids have FUN and enjoy themselves.
Mark Mullen from Cootehill scooped our record €14,600.00 Top 4 jackpot on Monday 22nd October. The lucky numbers were 7, 12, 19 and 27.
There have been many magical stories during the year including one historic moment and the clubs annual yearbook entitled “A Year to Remember” was officially launched at the annual general meeting on Thursday 29th November. The annual yearbook is a game-by-game account of some wonderful memories gained over the year. It is a collector’s edition and is loaded with information and features over 300 pages, full colour, including action shots, team photographs from our underage teams right up to senior level, match reports and other interesting articles on various events that the club held during 2012.
On Monday 3rd December Kieran Fitzpatrick won our Top 4 Jackpot of €2,500.00.
At the Annual County Convention on Thursday 6th December Mark Daly was named Intermediate player of the year.
With the publication of the Monaghan GAA Yearbook Mark Daly, Keith Daly and Noel Carroll were named as part of the Monaghan Intermediate Championship All-Star team of 2012.
As part of the Monaghan GAA Yearbook children from around the county were invited to submit writing projects about their own experiences within the club. Submissions from Emma McKeown, Kyle Brannigan, Ryan Lynch and Shane Greenan were chosen and now feature in this year’s Monaghan GAA Yearbook.
And so another hectic but very enjoyable year comes to a close and we can look back at some amazing, some wonderful and some truly breath-taking moments that certainly lifted our spirits and touched our hearts. The positive nature of the club within our community is special and it’s up to every single person within the club, or indeed within the community to ensure that the club, YOUR CLUB, remains at the forefront of this wonderful Association. If we ALL work together Rockcorry GAA has a bright future and we can all look forward to some more exciting and wonderful stories. On behalf of my family I wish you and your families a very happy, holy and peaceful Christmas and here’s looking forward to 2013 with great interest and with great anticipation. Onwards & Upwards….UP ROCK.