Rockchapel GAA History

Gaelic football began in Rockchapel In the 1920’s. A priest, Fr. Hurley, who was a nephew of the renowned Fr. Casey of Abbeyfeale, headed the beginning. As there was no Duhallow Board at the time, games were organised between teams from Rockchapel, Meelin, Brosna and Mountcollins. Twenty one years after the Duhallow Board was formed. Rockchapel had its first victory when they defeated Kilbrin in the novice final of 1954 played in Banteer. The team was captained by Tom Murphy of Lyreneague. The panel of players included P. J. Morrissey, M.Nelligan, C.Murphy, J. Guiney, Denis J.D. O’Mahony, D.O’Connell, Fr. T.Murphy, C.O’Carroll, D.Mahony, D.Sheehan, D.O’Keeffe, B.Guiney, Donie O’Connell, J. Carroll, J. Moyles and J. J. Curtin.

Playing in the Junior ranks from 1955 to 1957 brought no success so the club regarded to novice in 1958. The following year the Novice Championship was won for the second time when Castlenmagner were defeated in the final.

After completing in the Junior Grade in 1960 and 1961 the Club again regarded to Novice in 1962. In an amazing sequence Rockchapel lost in the Novice finals of 1962 to 1965 inclusive. There was some compensation when the Novice Football League was won in 1964 and 1965. Of the team which beat Ballydesmond by 2-7 to 0-3 in the 1965 decider there were three priests in the defence. Namely Fr. Finbarr Kelleher at left corner back, Fr. Tom Murphy centre back and Fr. Padraig Keogh left half back. Rockchapel also won the Novice Football League of 1967 but the Final was not played until May 1968, owing to the Foot and Mouth disease. In the final, Rockchapel defeated Lyre by 2-6 to 1-5.
After losing the 1970 Novice football League final to Banshee Rovers by 2-12 to 1-6 Rockchapel bounced back in the Novice Championship. Ballydaly were defeated by 2-6 to 2-2 in the Semi-Final to set up a meeting with Lyre in the Final after drawing 6 points each on the first occasion both teams returned to Banteer and Rockchapel won by 1-5 to 1-2.

Since 1971, the Club have been contesting the Junior Championship and after waiting five years the Junior Football Championship was won for the first time ever. After defeating Newmarket in the first round, Knocknagree were defeated by 1-12 to 0-2 and Kiskeam in the Semi-Final by 1-8 to 1-5. The Final which was played in Kiskeam on the first Sunday of October, was a rip roaring contest of swaying fortunes which Rockchapel won by 2-7 to Ballydesmond’s 2-5.

In 1977, Knocknagree defeated Rockchapel in the Examiner Cup Final by 1-10 to 0-4. In defending the Junior Football Championship, Newmarket were defeated in the first round and Dromtariffe in the Semi-Final. In the final played in Newmarket, we easily defeated Knocknagree by 1-7 to 0-2. In the County Championship, Brian Dillon’s were defeated in the First Round by 0-9 to 1-5 in a replay played in Banteer. In the Semi-Final at Buttevant, the North Cork Champions, Grange were defeated by 1-7 to 1-4. In the Clubs first County final appearance Castletownbeare defeated Rockchapel by 3-5 to 0-8 at Macroom.

There years later the Examiner Cup was won for the first time when Knocknagree were defeated by 1-10 to 0-4. After defeating Kanturk by 1-13 to 0-2 in the Championship first round, Kiskeam were our semi-final victims by 2-10 to 1-6. In the final played in Newmarket, on 31st August, Knocknagree were defeated by 2-10 to 1-7 to complete the double of League and Championship for the first time.
To cap a great year the Novice Football Team won their championship by 1-7 to 1-4 when they defeated Lismire in the final played in Banteer.

In 1985 the Junior Championship was won when Kiskeam were defeated easily in the Final played in Boherbue. This was followed with victory in the 1986 Examiner Cup final when we defeated Kanturk by 1-12 to 1-7. The year 1987 will always be held with fond memories in ‘The Rock’. After victories over Boherbue, Newmarket and Kiskeam in the Duhallow championship, Rockchapel qualified for the final against Kanturk which was played in Dromtariffe on 27th September. Rockchapel scored a one point victory 2-6 to 1-8 to win the Duhallow Title for the 5th time.

In the Count Championship, Kilmichael and Urhan were defeated before Rockchapel came face to face with Carberry Rangers in the County Junior Final played in Inchigeela on November 29th. After a close match Rockchapel were victorious by 2-5 to 1-4.

In 1988 in our first year in the Intermediate football Championship we reached the semi-final of the league and were defeated by the eventual champions Kilshannig in the semi-final of the championship. In 1989 the club created history by winning the Intermediate Football Championship and League finals, with a team captained by Joe Carroll and trained by Pat Curtin and selectors Den O’Mahony and Seanie Piggott. On winning the Intermediate Football Championship we defeated Fermoy by three points at Buttevant, Nemo Rangers by a point at Mourneabbey and accounted for Naomh Abhain by three points at Dromtariffe in the semi-final.

In 1990 the team competed in the Senior ranks being defeated by Carrigdoun. The club regraded to Intermediate in 1991 and 1992 and dropped down to Junior grade in 1993, Since that we have only won one Junior A Title in 2001.