It is with sincere feelings of sadness and regret that I mark the recent passing of Joe Patterson who died recently after a long brave battle against illness. It is always a sad occasion when a legend of the club passes on for Joe was a true gentleman in every sense of the word whose honesty, decency and good humour touched all who came in contact with him. He was a great character and one of the best known personalities in the village and he had a deep and passionate interest of the GAA and if you ever had the opportunity to meet Joe on the roads one thing was sure the latest match was always talked about and debated thoroughly. For Joe was as straight as they come and had firm views and if he had something to say to you, he just said it. It was these occasions where his passion and motivation were uppermost and these attributes often gave rise to, let’s say differences of opinion with those with whom he came in contact with but it was always enjoyable discussing football games with him.
He helped the club in a variety of roles including the administrative side where he served on the executive committee and held the position of club secretary during the early seventies. As a player, Joe graced the field wearing the green and white with pride for many years and gave many an outstanding display and was a member of the Rockcorry team that competed for the Dr. Ward Cup final in 1969 but, unfortunately, on that occasion losing out to Sean McDermott’s. When his playing days came to an end he moved onto team management and with Joe there were no half measures in life as his enthusiasm and passion for whatever he involved himself in was at all times infectious and became instantly recognizable that it was ‘his way or no way’. It was this passion and power that drove him to cover literally every blade of grass along the side-lines and his outstanding knowledge of the game yielded him success in 1982 when he managed the team to capture the elusive “Junior Double” winning the Dr. Ward Cup and the McCaldin Shield for the first time in the club’s history. It is a fitting tribute to his memory that his name will always be synonymous with those wonderful achievements and as long as the club’s existence the revered name of Joe Patterson will always be a part of it.
For the next decade he took a break from team management but always retained a keen interest in the fortunes of the local club and was a regular attender at matches and during the development of Pairc Naomh Mhuire he also gave freely of his time and energy in helping the club put in place many of the facilities that we now enjoy today. In 1993 he could not resist the temptation to return and he was back in action to manage both our senior and reserve teams and led the senior team to a Dr. Ward Cup final but unluckily they lost out against Corduff but the reserve team achieved success when they won the Jack Crawley Cup beating Killeevan in the final.
A modest and unassuming man his passing will be sorely felt by all who had the pleasure of knowing him and he is now enjoying the fruits of his exemplary life, in the company too no doubt of many more of his fellow clubmen who graced the playing fields, and one thing is certain the Rockcorry team in heaven will be further strengthened by his arrival.
The great respect and esteem in which Joe was held in the community and by the club was best demonstrated by the large numbers of people that attended his removal from his home to St. Mary’s Chapel where members of the 1982 team honoured Joe by accompanying him to the chapel, while past and present club members formed a guard of honour at the chapel, surely a fitting tribute for all the treasured moments and memories he had given to the club during his life time.
To his wife Mary, his daughters Sharon, Paula and Mary Jo, his sons Emyln and Barry his brothers and sisters his grandchildren, sons-in-laws, daughter-in-laws, nephew and nieces, neighbours and many friends we extend our deepest sympathy and may the green sod rest gently on him for he gave the club tremendous services in his lifetime.
Go ndeana Dia trocaire ar a anam dilis