The following article is an extract from a book called ‘The Emetresse’ by Peter McKenna. To purchase a copy or for more information please contact us.
Records show that a Gaelic football team was affiliated in 1910 in the Forester’s hall, Ballybay, under the name of Ematris Clan Collas when the club was represented by Thomas Treanor. Details of this era are difficult to come by but this team continued the tradition of playing football in the parish, which can be traced back to 1888 when Rockcorry was among the 31 clubs affiliated at county board level. Indeed it can be well argued that organised football of some form was played in the early part of the 19th century and was among the many “country games” indulged in by the youth of the parish when they met at cross roads and other meeting places sprinkled throughout the various townlands. The “Clan Collas”, meaning “The clan of the sept of the McMahons” who were descended from the race of the Collas lasted for but a short period of time but the tradition was kept alive in the form of local games between towlands and diversions of the parish.
Shortly after that a Monaghan Harps G.F.C team cycled to Corravacken [sic] on Sunday, June 5th 1910 to play The Clan Colla’s.
A report of the game at the time from the Anglo Celt stated:-
“Once again the G.A.A. football is revived in this parish and on the previous Sunday, Monaghan Harps sent a team to assist in the undertaking. The local players, the Clan Colla’s, put up a splendid fight and Paddy Quigley of the Harps did the whistling so impartially that the Clan Colla’s who were the beaten team had nothing but priase for his decisions. In the first half the Colla’s were leading by 3 goals and 1 point to 2 points. On the resumption a splendid game was played by both sides and with five minutes to go both teams were even. Every effort was made to register the winning point which at lastcame to the Harps.”
The report went on to say:-
“And so the first Gaelic game for over twenty years in Ematris was brought to an end, the score being Harps 3-3, The Clan Colla’s 3-2. For the winning team, Horan, Rooney, Davidson and McDonald were the pick. The Clan Colla’s put up good men in Greenan Bros., McCabe Bros., Keely Bros.,and Sherry Bros. all of whom played for novices, a splendid game. A few more matches such as that played on Sunday, when football was the only aim of both teams, will bring the Collas up to the level of some of our foremost Monaghan teams”.
A playing field was a problem even then and venus mentioned over the years were at Liseveney, Gavney’s hill and Connor’s field in Corravacan, The Priest’s field on the Ballybay road, Larmer’s meadow, Maghernaharn, Gavin’s meadow, Hanawin’s rocks, Mayclim’s meadow and Carroll’s hill. Donaldson’s field on the Monaghan road and Mickey Smith’s meadow at Anney were later on used as venues. McGahey’s meadow, close to Corravacan cross, was used by the club as a permanent venue for home games in the ’30′s. This field was owned by Johnny McGahey who was one of the original committee memnbers of Rockcorry G.F.C. and he acted as team manager along with Frank Corrigan. Cissie’s loft, now the property of John Daniels, was ussed as a dressing rooms. Admission to the game was 6d and transport to away games was by Kevlin’s bus, Rockcorry, Bierney’s lorry or the fairway’s bus Cootehill.
The first recognised affiliation of Rockcorry G.F.C. took place at a meeting of Monaghan County Board held in the I.N.F. hall, Ballybay on Friday 15th March 1930 when Rockcorry delegates were Joe Hanratty, Benny Matthews and Johnny McGahey. In the league that year Rockcorry played against Killeevan, Latton, Currin, Doohamlet and Threemilehouse. These earlt years on the football scene were very much a hit and miss affair and perhaps lacking a lot in organisation as we know it today. However, this first affiliation lasted about six years and although a team was entered for the 1936 season the activities on the field of play were rather limited and no reports of any games are available until the mid ’40′s. The main cause of this lapse was emigration.
The gaelic tradition, however, continued in the form of a camagie team and when the new Vocational School was built about 1933 a school and a minor team kept the flag flying. The camogie ladies played in a county league in the mid ’30′s and although their successes were rather limited they provided lots of fun ‘n frolics on the field and their ceili/dances which were held in the Ancient Order of Hibernian’s hall, Edraguil. This team too lapsed and camogie was not played again in Ematris until the early ’70′s when a club team won the Monaghan Junior Championship camogie league.
The Vocational School side was managed by Jimmy Duffy from Castleblayney who was the rural science teacher in the school at the time and was also a member of the Monaghan county team that played Kerry in the All-Ireland final in 1930. This team had quitean amount of success and prompted the powers that be to enter a minor team in the county league competitions which in turn led to a junior team being affiliated again about the year 1940. Local sides had continued to play each other and teams from Edraguil, Coolkill, Anney and the Monaghan road area often met and played each other with nothing more than pride at stake. The interest in the game and the pastime was strong enough to prompt the parish authorities to look for a central sports field and in 1941, on the breakup of the Dartry estate, Dartry field as we know it today, comprising 5.5 acres, was acquired from the Forestry Department. This field was developed by local voluntary labour and while it served the needs of the club and community for upwards of 50 years the developemnt of football grounds to the present high standard within the county meant that Rockcorry club was forced to look elsewhere for grounds which it could develop as its own.