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Blackrock Camogie Times Past

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Preserving The Past & Promoting The Present Of Blackrock Camogie

With hurling such a huge influence in the parish of Blackrock since the late 19th century and the Rockies out front leading the Cork senior hurling champions roll of honour, the perception could be assumed, that camogie, was also hugely popular. However unlike Glen Rovers camogie Hall of Fame status, down Blackrock way camogie fell in and fell out, resulting in valley periods, where camogie went out of business, then folks got together and re-energised for reformation.

Reading Anne Healy’s interesting recall of the story of camogie in the Blackrock history book, two separate camogie clubs existed in the Blackrock parish. Anne states Blackrock camogie was in the top grade right from the foundation of the game and in the 1930’s two teams were fielded in the Cork senior camogie championship by St. Michaels and Blackrock.

Familiar Blackrock surnames stated by Anne include Coughlan; Quirke; Delaney; Stout; O’Herlihy; Lenihan; Burke; Kelleher; Barry; Wiseman; Cashman; Punch; Buckley; Cremin; Mooney and several more. It further states that many of the proud women played club and county at the highest level and dedicated huge committment to the promotion of camogie.

In the early 1940’s the story relates to an amalgamation of St. Michaels and Blackrock clubs and names of distinction mentioned include Maureen and Eily Cashman; Noreen Duggan; Theresa Warren; Mary Delea; Maura Hayes; Mary Twohig; Helen and Tiny Dempsey; Mary Connolly; Stella Hunter; Frances O’Keeffe; Betty Burke; and the Connolly twins, Phil and Theresa. It suggests these ladies, along with many more devotees, were very instrumental in fostering camogie all over the parish.

A lady I had the pleasure of meeting and greeting thirty years ago, was the former Cork Lord Mayor, Cllr. Chrissie Aherne, who as our special guest, confounded our guests with her command of hurling knowledge and few present were aware of her passion for gaelic games. Chrissie was a St. Michaels camogie stalwart and won many club and county medals. She was from the well known Cashman family dynasty and Michael her famous late brother, is revered in Cork hurling folklore.

A quote attributed to the former Lord Mayor is worth repeating – “in my time said Chrissie, you did not play for honour and glory or the silver medal or the cup – you played for the love of the game – camogie came first before all else and no other sport was played – the players were dedicated to training and improving their skills – the standard was very high and the competition keen – and we lived for the sport of camogie”.

A demise of Blackrock camogie in the 1960’s was halted when in November 1974 the club was again re-incarnated and Anne Healy states, Frances McCarthy (nee O’Keeffe), was the shining torch who reignited the club. A most accomplished player and a top camogie administrator, Frances, is a person held in great esteem all over Blackrock by camogie and Blackrock gaelic games gaels. Other names commanding significant mention include Veronica Aherne; Mary Delea; Peggy Kelly and Mrs. Norberg.

On reformation the Blackrock club competed initially at under-age and progressed to junior ranks and several players have also worn the famed rebel jersey with pride. Names popping up include Frances Deasy; Joan Hyde; Una O’Connor; Aileen Furlong; Colette Murphy and Patricia O’Shea.

In 21st century Blackrock camogie have their own ground at Castle Road, Mahon.The huge population in the Blackrock Online districts that we now cover, is also home territory for Blackrock camogie recruitment. Young girls with an interest in sport will do no better in lifes journey, than meeting regularly with fair minded people of the same persuasion. Friendships blossom and will be remembered till eternity, such is the power of participating actively in sport.

This is chapter ONE of our E-Blackrock Online Journal on Blackrock camogie of Times Past and let’s hope the current caretakers of Blackrock camogie will consider submitting a vibrant storyline of the current status of the club, its current and future ambitions and we wish this great club, every success in the years coming upon us so fast and furious.

BLACKROCK ONLINE PEOPLE of DISTINCTION: We have some very worthy camogie candidates for our Blackrock Online People of Distinction and it is our intention to honour Online a number of former Blackrock camogie legends. Watch This Space.

Derry JF Doody

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