Rhode GAA Club was formed in 1888 and Rhode GAA is legendary as once written by Offaly GAA historian John Clarke in an article entitled “Rhode – The Triumphant Erigena” sums up what is the essence of Rhode GAA Club. Rhode GAA have won 27 senior football championships which is a record that no other small village in the county could boast. The first in 1900 and the most recent in 2016 sees Rhode dominances continue so much so that we are now only one title behind county leaders Tullamore. The history of Offaly football is lavishly adorned with the contributions from Rhode. There were great battles with Rhode and Tullamore in the 1920’s and early 1930’s, the razor sharp rivalry with near neighbours Edenderry through the years to the most recent dominance of Offaly football 1998 to 2016. Rhode’s impact on Gaelic football has not confined to the domestic scene. Every Offaly success has brought a generous contribution from Rhode and the representation of five of the victorious panel of 1971 and 1972 this was the highest of any club. More success followed through the early 1980’s with another four representing the club in 1982 and returned again in 1997 and 1998 with Leinster and National Football League wins.
Behind every successful club are a handful of dedicated people who receive credit for their service yet without them the whole organisation would grind to a halt. In Rhode, we have been fortunate to have had such a dedicated group of club officers over the past 129 years. To all who have served on the committees or helped the club in any way down the years we say a very special Go Raibh Maith Agaibh!
The First Title in 1900
As the time it was called the King’s County Championship and Rhode defeated Quarrymount in the semi final on July 21st 1900 to set up a final meeting with neighbours Daingean who were at the time called Cillin. The final was played on September 22nd 1900 and Rhode emerged victorious winning the final by 0-7 to 0-2. Dick Murphy played a captains part on the day and other plays who also stood out were Peter and Jim McGlynn, Peter Coyne, Joe Kilmurray, Tom Kelly and Joe Hughes. Second, third and fourth titles followed between 1918 and 1923 but the inevitable three in a row come four years later. Rhode famously recorded their first three in a row from 1927 to 1929.
Rhode’s most successful era has been in the last decade winning 8 Tullamore Court Hotel Offaly SFC titles defeating Gracefield in 2004, Shamrocks in 2005 and Clara in 2006 which saw captain in all three years Alan McNamee lifting The Dowling Cup to complete the club’s second ever three in a row. Tullamore in 2008 and Clara again in 2010 and 2012 Edenderry in 2014 and Ferbane in 2016. Rhode also lost finals in 2003 to Clara and again in 2009 , to the same team and again in 2013 to Tullamore with most recent loss to Edenderry in 2015 Rhode have reached every semi final since 2001. Rhode have contested five AIB Leinster Club Final coming out the wrong end of fascinating encounters. Our best chance a glory was in 2008 against Kilmacud Crokes when we had a good half time lead but two soft goals in the second half period saw our chances fall through our hands.
Our latest venture in 2016 was a a long one with us reaching the Leinster Club Final against St. Vincents of Dublin unfortunately coming out on the wrong side of a great footballing battle.
The “Quest” goes on and if the success of our local schools teams is anything to go by we will be successful in the near future.
Brothers Conor and Ruairi McNamee were successful in 2011 with St. Mary’s Secondary School Edenderry in the All-Ireland Colleges Championship, with Conor being the first Rhode Man to raise a Cup in Croke Park.
HISTORY OF HANDBALL IN FAHY
Fahy’s Cross handball Club, located in the townsland of Fahy in Co. Offaly, about a mile from Rhode village is steeped in handball tradition. Our forefathers played and enjoyed this national pastime at the Crossroads as far back as the middle eighteen hundreds.
The ‘Old Cow Shed Wall’ on Mooney’s land at Fahy, marks the earliest handball facility and the field where the shed still stands is known locally as the ‘Ballalley Field’.
The idea to erect a modern four- walled court was first mooted in 1949 and in May 1950, the new alley was officially opened. The driving force behind this development was Jim Dunne (of the Grove), Club Chairman and renowned former Rhode and Offaly footballer, ably assisted by Pat Rogan, Club Secretary. The site was donated by Jimmy Mulligan and work was undertaken through voluntary labour. Also to the fore was Tommy Mooney, for many years a leading light in Fahy and Offaly handball.
The Fahy Alley has hosted a number of All Ireland Finals and locals still speak of the legendary Roe Brothers and Des Dillon of Dublin, John Ryan of Wexford and Vincent Confrey and Joey Maher of Louth who regularly displayed their talents at the Fahy Court in the mid to late fifties. More latterly, Kilkenny’s Duxie Walsh and Eugene Downey, Kildares Tommy O’ Rourke, Meaths Tom Sheridan and Tom and John Quish of Limerick to mention, but a few, have displayed their craft at the Fahy venue.
During the fifties and sixties, the Fahy Club was to the fore in Offaly and Leinster handball circles and in winning their share of Championships, produced a number of players who will forever be synonymous with handball in Fahy. Players that spring to mind are the Glennons, Murphys, Hickeys and Stones of Ballyburley, and from Fahy Hill, the Courtneys, Rogers, Mastersons, Mooneys, Hopes, McNamees and Mulligans. Pat Masterson was a very fine exponent of the game and became the first player from the Club to bring back an All Ireland medal, when in 1969 he won the All Ireland Junior 60×30 Softball Doubles title. Other All Ireland winning medalists from the club are Paddy Hope and his son David, Joe Masterson Noel Rogers and Noel Murphy. While at Juvenile level Paddy Stones, Richard Dowling, Paul Glennon and Brendan Glennon won under 15 All Ireland Doubles titles.
In 1980, the existing ballalley was roofed and lighting and showering facilities installed.
The community of Fahy remains vibrant and the future of handball is secure for the coming generations.
Rhode Gaa History
The First Game
The first recorded account of a football match played by Rhode & Croghan G.A.A. Is dated 17th March 1889 . It was played against Portarlington who were worthy winners on the day.
The First Final appearance (*facts to be researched)
May 30th 1891 Rhode are defeated by Tullamore in the county final, for some reason this championship was unofficial and the first official title was won by Tullamore in 1890.
The First Championship Win
Rhode beat Quarrymount on the 21st July 1900 in the semifinal of the Kings County championship, They then go on to beat Kileen (Daingean) in the final on 22nd September 1900 Bringing to Rhode there first title.
Score: Rhode 0-7 Kileen(Daingean) 0-2
Team: Dick Murphy (capt), Joe Kilmurray, Peter McGlynn, Jim McGlynn, Jack Hoey, Jack Scully, Pat Quinn, Jim Walsh, Tom Nevin, Jim Anderson, Joe Hughes, Jim Conroy, Peter Coyne, Tom Kelly, Joe Hughes, Pat Lenihan & John Lenighan (17 A-side).
Winners in 1911 ?
Or so the story goes, Rhode defeats Tullamore on September 10th 1911. Tullamore officials object because 2 players from Rhode also played with Tyrrellspass the same year, the objection was unsuccessful, however the Tullamore officials also noticed that the pitch on the day looked a bit short, the following day an engineer from the County Council measured the the length of the pitch, He found it to be short by two feet. In this case the match was replayed where Tullamore were the winners.
Juniors win the championship Rhode 5-7 Eglish 0-1
Rhode win there 2nd senior title. This game would you believe was played on the 20th July.
— Micil Glennon (@MicilGlennon) March 25, 2014
1919. Score: Rhode 4-7 Cloghan 1-0 Team: Jim Dunne (capt), Jack Dunne, Joe Kilmurray, Bill Callan, Patsy Smullen, Jim Dunne(Grove), Dan Callan, Pat Foy, Jimmy Geraghty, John Jones, Jim Rodgers, Brian Smullen, Pat Quinn, Jack Murphy & John Swords.
1920 Rhode win 3rd Senior title, The final like the last one was was delayed, this time not by one year but by two. The 1920 final took place on 1st May 1922 Score: Rhode 0-4 Ferbane 1-0 Team: Jim Dunne (Groove, capt), Paddy Ennis, Dick Connor, Paddy Quinn, Pat Foy, Bill Callan, Dan Callan, Paddy Callan, Jimmy Geraghty, Jimmy Heeney, Kit Jones, Pat Casey, Jack Dunne, Jack Murphy, Matty Rodgers, Paddy Quinn.
________________________________________________________________________ 1923 Rhode win 4th title. Score: Rhode 2-7 Clara 1-1
1927 Score: Rhode 0-6 Ferbane 0-2
1928 Score: Rhode 2-5 Tullamore 3-2 Replay: Rhode 3-4 Tullamore 2-3
1929 Score: Rhode 3-6 Daingean 2-4
1931 Bolstered by their minor final success in March and with the memory of the “three-in-a-row” still fresh in their minds, Rhode were still determined to avenge their 1930 final defeat when they started on the championship trail in 1931. Old rivals Cloghan provided stern opposition on July 19th. At Clara. Rhodes edge in experience and their ability to pick off long range points ensured them of a five point lead at the interval 0-10 to 0-5. This lead belied the closeness of the encounter and the second half proved to be a non-compromising affair with the teams only managing a goal between them. A relieved Rhode outfit marched on to the tune 0-10 to 1-5 August 23rd. Was the day fixed for the County Final joust with arch rivals Tullamore. Chastened by their trip to Birr the previous year, the Rhode mentors readily agreed to a Tullamore venue. Two evenly matched and well prepared teams took the field and provided “the most exciting and interesting event for years”. Exchanges were even from the throw in and both goalkeepers were early in the fray to avert danger. A report of the game tells us that “There were tackles, collisions and midfield struggles. A Joe Connor point on the stroke of half time left Rhode leading by 2-3 to 1-3. Tullamore restarted in a frenzy and John Donoghue was beaten in the Rhode goals to lever the scoring. The game was keen and exciting with interceptions, fetches and clearances. When Dick Connor went down injured, Rhode spirits fell but Dick was soon on his feet and ready for action. “Spot” Leonard shot Rhode into the lead and with time running our victory was .’thin our grasp. In a breakaway move, Tullamore got the equaliser per T. Moriarity. In the dying seconds, Bill Callan made a timely interception and a fine effort by P.Henry for Tullamore was brilliantly saved by the ever vigilant John Donoghue The County Final was a draw Rod 2-4 Tulach Mhor 1-7 The replay was played a month later Rhode winning by the skin of their teeth. Final Score:Rhode 1-4 Tullamore 1-3
________________________________________________________________________ 1932 Although the early years of the 30s were dominated by Rhode and Tullamore as had the entire decade of the 20s, 1932 in a very real sense, marked the end of an era as thereafter with the emergence of Walsh Island and Edenderry the structure of football power in Offaly was irrevocably altered. But in August 1932 as Rhode, appearing in their sixth successive final accepted the challenge of old rivals Tullamore, there was no hint that the Rhode-Tullamore monopoly was in its last season. The final at Ballyduff reproduced the pattern of so many previous encounters, at least for the opening 30 minutes. Rhode, having played against the breeze, appeared to be in a strong position when the half-time whistle sounded and the score 2-0 to 1-2 in Tullamore’s favour. But surprisingly the expected second-half surge failed to materialise, and as the Rhode attack slipped slowly into complete impotence, Tullamore slammed home two goals to emerge convincing winners by 4-0 to 1-2. The Rhode team lined out: Dick Connor (capt.), John Dunne, Jim Dunne, Mick Murphy, James Murphy, Matt Smullen, Mick Galvin, John Jones, Jackie Glennon, Paddy Glennon, Bill Callan, Paddy Callan, Joe Kilmurray, John Donoghue, Joe Leonard. Tullamore: J. Flaherty, E. Nolan, J. Henry, D. Wrafter, H. Burke, J. Dwyer, D. Fox, J. Gibney, T. Wheeler, M. McGowan, M. Whelan, J. Coughlan, P. Dunne, R. O’Brien.
________________________________________________________________________ 1939 Without honours since 1931 Rhode faced a stern test in the 1939 semi-final in the shape of a Walsh Island fifteen seeking a three-in-a-row run of successes. Furthermore, Rhode had lost the ’37 decider to the same opponents and together with final defeats in ’32 and ’35 morale was somewhat low. From the start, Rhode tore into the game and attacked the Island goal. However when “the hoops” settled down a tight game ensued and at the break, Rhode led 1 -1 to 0-3. Dick Conroy scored Rhodes point and Jack Glennon struck the all important goal. In the second half Rhode took command and only a series of brilliant saves by Dick Gorman kept the scores from coming. Constant probing paid off and from a goal mouth melee somebody boxed the ball to the net. It signaled Walsh Islands collapse. Conroy, Murphy and Glennon all pointed and Conroy drove the final nail with a well executed goal. Rhode had won handsomely 3-5 to 0-3 and had held their opponents scoreless in the second period. They looked sharp and showed signs of training and preparation. Rhode went on to beat Daingean in the County final 2-4 1-6 ________________________________________________________________________
1940 Rhodes path to the 1940 final was a relatively easy one involving as it did only one outing against a West Offaly selection. This encounter gave little indication of the prospects of the team for Rhode won at a canter without ever having to raise their game. Walsh Island on the other hand had three games under their belt. Two easy victories over Kilclonfert and Edenderry and a hectic semi-final joust with Tullamore. When referee Mr. E. O’Toole threw in the ball, Walsh Island were playing with the wind. The exchanges were even and scores were hard to come by. John O’Connor opened the scoring for Walsh Island with a point, but Rhode countered with white flags from Mick Murphy and Dick Conroy. At the half-time whistle the score stood at 0-3 each and Rhode looked set for an easy victory. Win they did, but not without a struggle. Scores were hard to get with both defenses playing majestically and five minutes had elapsed before Dick Conroy edged Rhode ahead. A mighty battle ensued and both teams remained scoreless for a further ten minutes until Connor leveled from a free. Again Conroy did the needful and slotted over but Walsh Island tried desperately to equalise. The Rhode backs with “Ginger” McGlynn, Jack Glennon and Johnny Dunne to the fore held out magnificently and beat back attack after attack. As the game entered lost time, Joe Leonard broke up one such onslaught and cleverly cleared to Paddy Glennon who placed the “Boiler” for the goal that put the issue beyond doubt: Score:Rod 1 -5 lnis na mBreathnach 0-4. Others to feature well in the play were Tony Hoey, Luke Murphy, Paddy Quinn and Paddy Murphy. TEAM: Tony Hoey, Peter Leavy, Joe Leonard, Seamus McGlynn, Johnny Dunne, Jack Glennon, Tom Murphy, Paddy Glennon, Luke Murphy, Willie Murphy, Dick Conroy (Capt.), Paddy Quinn, Dan McGlynn, Mick Murphy and Paddy Murphy.
— Michael Glennon (@MicilGlennon) March 25, 2014
Rhode nearly made an early exit from the 1944 championship when they took on surprise packets Daingean at Edenderry on August 26th, 1944. With only ten minutes left to play Daingean took the lead with a punched goal to leave the score 1 -6 to 0-7. Then came the score which gave Rhode victory. Billy Kerrigan was fouled in possession near the Daingean goal and Dick Conroy took the resulting free. He shot low and hard the ball went between the defenders legs to the net. Johnny Dunne added a point and the issue was put beyond doubt when Dan McGlynn finished a nice passing movement between Peter Leavy, Tommy Mooney and Paddy Murphy to the net. Rhode had won 2-8 to 1-7. Seamus Doyle’s accurate shooting and the consistent sound play of Leavy, Dunne, Kerrigan and Conroy played a big part in the victory. Team: Tony Hoey, J. Owens, S. McGlynn, Tommy Mooney, Bill Dunne, Luke Murphy, BillyKerrigan,JohnnyDunne, Peter Leavy, Paddy Murphy, Seamus Doyle, Willie Murphy, Dan McGlynn, Dick Conroy, Eamon Lenehan.
Meeting again after a lapse of nine years, Rhode and Tullamore served up one of the finest exhibitions of football ever witnessed in a county final. It was an hour of glorious football with thrills and excitement galore and a game worthy of the fine traditions of both teams. It was their unconquerable spirit that carried Rhode through. The game opened at a fast pace and Rhode were decidedly lucky when a shot from Burke rebounded from the crossbar and was scrambled to safety.
The duel between “the Boiler” Conroy and Tullamores Jirnmy Kelly was a feature of the game throughout. Enjoying an early supremacy at midfield Rhode looked fit and combined well. The teams were level twice in the first half but Rhode went to the dressing room a point ahead Johnny Dunne stretched Rhode s lead with a good point shortly after the break but Tullamore replied in kind. Putting their game together Rhode delighted their large following with some lovely passing movements. A melee in the Tullamore goalmouth gave them the score which mattered as little Willie Murphy emerged from the mass of bodies to bang home a goal. Unyielding, Tullamore launched into the attack and Tony Hoey was beaten by a fine effort from Burke. Clinging precariously to their one point Rhode were determined not to let it slip and finishing strongly, points by Seamus Doyle and left half-back Billy Kerrigan put the seal on their 1944 championship aspirations. They had beaten the men from the capital in the final for the first time since 1931. Seamus McGlynn, Paddy Glennon, Paddy Murphy and Eamon Lenihan were others to impress for the newly crowned champions. Final score, Rod 2-5, Tulach Mhor 1-5. Team: Tony Hoey, Paddy Glennon, Seamus McGlynn, Luke Murphy, Tommy Mooney, Peter Leavy (Capt.), Billy Kerrigan, Johnny Dunne, Seamus Doyle, Dan McGlynn, Paddy Murphy, Willie Murphy, Eamon Lenihan, Dick Conroy, J. 0 Meara.
Resilience has been a hallmark of Rhode football teams down the years, yet frustration must nave been strongly in evidence when the forthcoming championship came up in conversation in 1949. Although only five years had elapsed since the previous triumph, the finals of 46 and ’48 had been lost. Walsh Island provided the opposition for the first round at Edenderry on June 19th. Any thoughts of despair for the “good old days” which Rhode supporters had were soon dispelled. Opening on a high note Mick and Paddy Casey and Peter Leavy making the openings around midfield Willie Murphy and Joe Sheerin on the right wing were causing problems for the Island men. Forced to foul, Mick Casey punished the defence with two close in frees and he added another when Eamon Lenehan was fouled after a strong run. Paddy Murphy and Casey had further points from placed balls and a good Joe Sheerin goal was disallowed for a foul on the goalkeeper Rhode led at the interval 0-5 to 0-3. After the interval Rhode again took command and began to open up the Walsh Island defence Fay Eustace had a fine point from an acute angle. Mick Casey added two more and Willie Murphy finally eluded his marker before beating two other defenders in a solo run and stitching the ball in the net. Mick Casey pointed a 50 and Tommy Mooney sent over a great effort from mid-field Eamon Lenihan’s point closed the scoring and a measure of Rhode’s superiority in the second half was the fact that Walsh Island could only manage one point. Result. Rod 1-11, Inis na mBreathnach 0-4
The semi-final was a repeat of the previous years final pairing and memories of that defeat and of ’46 still stung. As always, these teams brought out the best in each other and Tullamore seemed to have the edge in teamwork. They beached the Rhode rearguard twice for well taken goals. At the other end their backs were uncompromising and robust and Mick Casey’s strength was Rhode’s only real effective weapon. Casey had eight of Rhode’s ten points, five of them from play. Fey Eustace had a point and the only time the Tullamore backs were caught out was when Willie Murphy set up Joe Sheerin, whose searing drive was parried over the bar by the goalie. When the final whistle sounded the situation was unresolved, the score reading Rod 0-10, Tulach Mhor 1-7.
The men from the capital began the replay in blistering fashion. They peppered the Rhode goalmouth but the backs men fought like tigers and Seamus Doyle in the Rhode goal somehow managed to keep a clean sheet. The “Blues” cleverly tacked their points and at half-time led 0-7 to 0-3. It was do or die for the ‘ village’ men Peter Leavy made some mighty clearing efforts and the Casey brothers maintained their usual high standard and once more proved the fact that they were the two best footballers in Offaly at the time. Mick Casey pointed his third free of the game which added to Christy Eustace’s first half effort left only a goal between them. Rhode pressed strongly and Mick Murphy hand-passed to the net for the equaliser. Tullamore refused to surrender their title and points were swapped before Mick Casey floated a “special” over from a difficult free. Tullamore again rallied for an equaliser but inspired by Paddy and Mick Casey, Rhode thundered down the field. Christy Eustace secured possession and his aim was true as he booted Tullamore out of the Championship. Rhode had got there on a 1-7 0-9 scoreline
Rhode were now odds on favorites to defeat Cloghan in the final. As events turned out the game never materialised as Cloghan withdrew and the County Board awarded the game to Rhode.
Team: Seamus Doyle, Pascal Sheehy, Peter Leavy, Seamus McGlynn, Tom Murphy, Paddy Casey, Brendan Hoey, Mick Casey, Paddy Murphy, Willie Murphy, Mick Murphy, Fay Eustace, Sean Glennon, Christy Eustace, Mick Kerrigan.
On Sunday, August 28th, a record gate was collected for the County Final clash with neighbours Daingean. Rhode were seeking their thirteenth title and eleven years had elapsed since a final had last been won on the field of play. For long periods of this game it looked as if the run of final defeats in ’50, ’53 and ’54 would continue. At half-time Rhode were five points in arrears, 1-4 to 0-2. and the dread of defeat was compounded when Daingean were 9 points ahead eighteen minutes into the second half. Then began the most dramatic come-back in tile history of county finals. Paddy Casey, now operating at full-forward, punched a long range free from his brother Mick to the Daingean net and suddenly the game changed. “Moses” Murphy and Fay Eustace swapped their respective positions of goalkeeper and left half-back and Rhode began to play in earnest. Scores began to flow. Points from Mick Kerrigan and Mick Casey and a goal from Peter Leavy left only the minimum margain between the teams which Mick Casey cancelled with a fine point from fifty yards. Daingean, with some supporters already having departed the scene of “victory” to begin celebrations, were shattered. Rhode were awarded a forty yard free with time ticking away and Mick Kerrigan was entrusted with the onerous task of converting it. “Over the bar with it, Mick;’ shouted one enthusiastic official “What do you think I’m going to do” replied Mick and he cooly proceeded to do just that. The seemingly impossible had been achieved and the county crown was snatched from the grip of despairing Daingean The scoreboard read Rod 2-6, An Daingean 2 -5, and another gloious chapter had been written. Team: Joe Murphy: Peter Leavy, Johnny Owens, Peter Jones; Eamon Lenehan, Tom Murphy. Paddy Kerrigan: Mick Casey (capt.), Eamon Rigney, Pay Eustace, Paddy Casey, Mick Kerrigan Tommy Delaney, Willie Leonard, Billy McCabe.
On Sunday, August 10th, Rhode set out in quest of another championship success when they took on reigning champions Edenderry at O’Connor Park. Paddy Casey, home on holidays from New York, took the field but it was Mick who overshadowed friend and foe with a display of powerful football. Rhode settled down slowly and many good chances were missed. For all the possession gained by Mick Casey at mid-field, Rhode’s only score was a Patsy McGovern goal. At half-time Edenderry trailed 0-2 to 1-0. Two minutes into the second period Edenderry equalised and a mammoth struggle seemed imminent. Points from Mick Casey (3), Sean Murphy and Anthony Meleady sealed the issue and some fine defensive work kept the opposition scoreless until full-time. Final score, Rod 1-5. Eadan Doire 0-3.
Daingean provided the opposition in the semi-final, again played at O’Connor Park, on November 9th. Once again the Blacksmith from Croghan” was man of the match, contributing six points to Rhode’s total of 1-9. On top from the Start Rhode led 1-5 to 0-3 at half-time and hit a purple patch between the 10th and 24th minute of the second half, adding 4 points without reply. A late Mick Ashe goal reduced arrears to a respectable four points. Apart from Casey, others to impress for the victors were Paddy McCormack and Paddy Kerrigan – deemed by many to be the best “club” footballer in Offaly at this time.
Clara had the unenviable task of taking on this Rhode team in the County Final on November 23rd. The Brosnasiders started promisingly and finished so too, but Rhode dictated the trend of the play and were supreme throughout. Mick Casey pointed two frees, and a goal and a brace of points from Sean Murphy saw Rhode holding a commanding 1-4 to 0-2 lead at half-time. Resuming where they had left off with points from Casey (2), Paddy McCormack, Sean Murphy and Patsy Murphy, Rhode led 1-8 to 0-3 entering the final quarter. A Clara goal was offset before points from McCormack and Patsy Murphy before Casey finished the scoring for Rhode with a well taken goal. Clara’s efforts were rewarded when M. Kelly found the net but the long whistle saw title number 14 come to the village on the score Rod 2-10, Clarach 2-5.
Mick Casey crowned his years with yet another magnificent performance. The young Paddy McCormack showed himself to be a wholehearted “natural.” Mickey Gunning, Johnny Owens. Paddy Kerrigan, Sean Murphy and Tony and Pat Kilmurray were others to particularly catch the eye in a team of stars. Rhode lined out as follows: Joe Murphy, Tony Kilmurray Johnny Owens, Peter Jones, Pat Kilmurray, Mickey Gunning, Paddy Kerrigan, Paddy McCormack, Eamon Rigney.Mick Casey, Patsy McGovern, Patsy Murphy, Chris Jones, Sean Murphy, Tommy Delaney.
The final against Clara gave Rhode their chance to avenge their 1964 defeat. This was a game that had everything, and the 3,073 fans who paid to see it were rewarded with an hour of first class football. First into the attack, Rhode had a great point on the board after thirty seconds when Sean Murphy sent over from Jody Gunning’s pass. By the end of the fourth minute both sides were reduced to fourteen men for Clara’s Jimmy Roche received marching orders for a foul on Sean Malone and Brendan OToole was sidelined for another infringement of the rules. Both men could consider themselves unlucky but the referee’s action helped in no small way to produce one the best finals in years. Malone had his first point after six minutes but Rhode’s lead was shortlived for Touhey goaled for Clara in the ninth. Clara stole ahead but Martin Heavey balanced. Joe Hannon saved brilliantly from Scully and Jody Gunning, Pat Swains and Malone swapped points with Clara before half-time. The score at the interval read 0-7 to 1-4. The greatest talking point at half-time was the speed and tenacious tackling of the first half and many wondered if the pace would last. Tne match resumed at fever pitch and the first eight minutes brought only one score – a Clara point. Rhode were attacking heavily and a series of great saves from Clara netminder Slammon denied them the goal they were looking for In fact Clara were next to score and a point was quickly followed by a goal. The whistle had gone however and the free Out brought a sigh of relief from the large Rhode gathering. Malone reduced the arrears to the minimum when he pointed an overhead kick after good approach work by Mick Casey and P. Swaine. Clara increased their lead again before Bill Heavey broke from defence to send Casey away. He in turn was fouled and Gunning made no mistake from the free. Entering the final ten minutes Rhode pressed forward and the half-back line of Eugene Mulligan, Paddy McCormack and Heavey moved upto aid the midfielders. McCormack began to dominate the play and he equalised with a thirty yards free just seven minutes from the end The Iron Man was everywhere now and moving upfield in a speedy solo run he sniped the lead on the 25th minute. Clara had shot their bolt and couldn’t find the energy reserve to cut the deficit. Jimmy Martin’s lone note saw the Dowling Cup return to the village for the first lime in eight years. This was a supreme team effort and one is loathe to single out individuals for special mention, however, the half-back line en-bloc and Sean Malone deserve Special credit for their performances. Scorers: Sean Malone 0-5, Paddy McCormack and Jody Gunning 0-2 each, Sean Murphy and Pat Swains 0-1 each.
Score: Rhode 0-11 Clara 1-07
Team: Joe Hannon; Liam Swaine, Pat Kilmurray, Jimmy Byrne; Eugene Mulligan, Paddy McCormack (Capt ), Bill Heavey, Brendan O’Toole, Patsy Murphy; Judy Gunning, Sean Malone, Martin Heavey; Pat Swaine, Mick Casey, Sean Murphy. Sub., Frank Glennon for P. Swaine.
Due to Foot & Mouth diseaseThis final was played on the 28th April 1968. Admission to .the grounds was 2/6 )(12½p) and a further 2/6 secured a sideline seat. The showery conditions made the football poor and there was very little open play which meant that most of the scores came from frees. Daingean made poor use of the wind in the first half and only lead by a single point, 4 to 3 at half-time. However, Rhode fared even worse in the third quarter and could only manage one point to which Daingean responded in like manner. Frank Higgins levelled the scores on the 18th minute and Paddy McCormack put Rhode in front on the 21st when he converted a “50.” The all important goal came in the 25th minute when Frank McGlynn’s cross was slapped to the net by J.J. Grehan and with Jody Gunning having pointed a minute before, Rhode led by 5 points with a many minutes to play. Daingean played their best football in those final minutes but could only balance the points tally and at the end the score Stood Rod 1-7, An Daingean 0-7. On a day on which very few stars shone Paddy McCormack was Rhode’s outstanding player. He received good assistance from Eugene Mulligan, Jody Gunning, Patsy Murphy, Sean Malone and sub J.J. Grehan. The Rhode mentors played their part by switching Grehan to the edge of the square when he was seen limping and from there he scored the vital goal.
Scorers: J. Gunning 0-4, J.J. Grehan 1-0, P. McCormack 0-2, F. Higgins 0-1.
Team: Joe Hannon; Liam Swaine, Pat Kilmurray, Jimmy Byrne; Eugene Mulligan, Paddy McCormack(capt), Patsy Murphy, Brendan OToole, Christy Dunne, Jody Gunning.
Due to Offaly reaching the All-Ireland Final of 1969 domestic fixtures were held up and the Co. final was not played until June 7th. 1970. By then there were many more changes on the side from the one that won the first round back in May 1969. At the end of an hour’s tough football Rhode were somewhat lucky to survive the strong Erins Rovers challenge and live to fight another day.
The replay at OConnorPark on June 21st was played in a fine sporting manner but unfortunately the high wind lowered the standard of ploy and the showery conditions made the ball greasy and difficult to control. Forced to field without team captain Paddy McCormack. Rhode were first to face the storm. The Rovers had the ball in the net and followed with a point before the first minute had elapsed. Faced with the prospect of a whitwas the Rhode backs shone and the next score seventh minute was for Rhode from a Jody Gunning free. John Kavanagh was forced to deflect a blasting shot from Delaney over the bar before Rhode got the tonic they required A well placed Gunning free found Carthage Grennan and he smacked the leather to the twines. With Eugene Mulligan outstanding Rhode added points per Sean Malone, Gunning and Grennan while in between Seamus Darby goaled from a pass from Gunning who had made some 50 yards in a fine solo run. Rhode led at half-time 2-7 to 1-3 and with the wind to help in the second half looked home if not dry. Grennan stretched the lead with a point and Gunning had another while Sean Cooney had three for Erins Rovers. Darby pointed for Rhode on the 18th minute and this was to be their last score of the game. J. Dunne pointed for the Rovers and wnen Cooney boxed in a goal in the 29th minute there was only a goal between them. In the final minutes the Rhode goal was under siege and Mulligan again emerged supreme. With the clock saying 32 minutes Erins Rovers had their final pont from a free and as Ken Kenworthy sounded the final whistle Rhode were Co. champions once again on a 2-10 to 2-8 scoreline. Mulligan was the best defender on view but Martin Heavey at centre-back, Joe Malone, Pat Kilmurray andJimmy Byrne were eminently sound. Brendan 0Toole and J.J Grehan just shaded the issue at mid-field, while up front Jody Gunning was a constant thorn in the Rovers side He linked up brilliantly with corner men Darby and Grennan who took their scores well. Benny Kerrigan was a tireless worker on the half-line and contributed significantly. Scorers: C. Grennan 1-3, S. Darby 1-2, J Gunning 0-4, S. Malone 0-1.
Team: John Kavanagh, Joe Malone, Pat Kilmurray, Jimmy Byrne, Eugene Mulligan, Martin Heavey, Patsy Murphy, Brendan 0Toole, J.J. Grehan. Jody Gunning, Sean Malone, Benny Kerrigan, Seamus Darby, Sean Murphy, Carthage Grennan.
When Rhode and Daingean met in the ’75 final it was to be the sixth such pairing in a decider. Rhode had won all five previous encounters and so the pressure to repeat the dose war squarely on the shoulders of the men from the village.u t5 sro..l ‘ I Daingean had been the more impressive side in the se ci finals accounting for Ferbane on a 1-17 to 2-8 scoreline Rhode had prepared well and on fins, say they were sharper, fitter and more methodical. With Tom Darcy and Joe Mulligan holding a decided advantage at mid-field Rhode were early in attack and Gerry Hickey pointed a Jimmy Byrne pass in the first minute. Playing well Rhode raced into a four point lead by the end of the first quarter but this was quickly overhauled by a point and a well taken goal from Daingean captain Con Nolan. Tom Darcy and Liarn Hanlon swapped points before Hickey again restored Rhode’s lead. With Benny Kerrigan and Esmon Niland holding firm reins on their opposite rlumoers and Vincent Murphy and Charlie Conroy complete y olotting out Kevin Kilmurray and Liam Hanlon Rhode moved upfmelo. Jody Gunning collected a good pass from Stephen Derby and beat his man before crossing a perfect ball which Hickey grabbed and wrong-footing the defence drove to the net Rhode led 1 -7 to 1 -3 at the break Rhode stretched their lead to 6 points see on after change of ends and appeared to be coasting. l-however wnen Sean McCann was fouled in possession, referee Mick Spain pointeo to the spot. Mick Wright, noted for his strong kick, could ony watch in despair as Noel Slevin flung himself across the goal to effect a great save. The game was drawing to a close and had become somewhat scrappy wnen with two rn-lutes remaining Gunning had the final score from a fine effort which made him jump for joy. Rhode had added title njmber 18 to their roll of honour and continued their winning streak against Daingean. Final score Rod 1-12; An Daingean 1-7. Team and scorers: Noel Slevin, Benny Kerrigan, Seamus Malone, Eamon Niland, Eugene Mulligan, Vincent Murphy, Charlie Conroy, Tom Darcy (capt.), Joe Mulligan, Stephen Darby, Gerry Hickey (1 10), Seamus Derby, Jody Gunning (0 1). Kevin Malone, Jimmy Byrne. Sub: Breridan Lenehan
Rhode – 0-11, Edenderry – 1-4
0CT 5TH 1998
Rhode, who won the last of their 18 Offaly SFC titles in 1975, ended the barren spell in Tullamore yesterday when they dethroned the holders, Edenderry, by 0-11 to 1-4.
The winners were in no way flattered by their margin of victory, for they were the faster, fitter and more eager side throughout. Indeed, it was only a 55th minute penalty that put a more respectable appearance on Edenderry’s meagre contribution to the scoreboard.
Rhode’s Fergal Dunne and Barry Malone dominated mid-field. Placekicker and captain, Pat Daly, accounted for the bulk of the winners’ scores from frees.
Edenderry, contesting their third final in four years, never got into the game. The strong Rhode defence in which brothers Alan and Ken Kelleghan were outstanding together with Richie Harnett and Joe Kilmurray controlled matters.
Although playing against the breeze, Rhode led at half-time by 07 to 0-3 with five of their points being scored from frees by Pat Daly. They became more dominant on the change of ends, holding their opponents scoreless for 22 minutes.
Rhode – A Daly, A Kelleghan, K Kelleghan, P Dunne; R Harnett, P Kenny, J Kilmurray; F Dunne 0-1, B Malone; A Hyland, E Byrne 0-1, D Gorman 0-1; P Daly 0-7, R Malone 0-1, P Kelleghan. Subs: A McNamee for Gorman, L Murphy for R Malone.
Edenderry – D Seery; G Blong, A Murphy, J Hurst; S Bagnall, F Curran, W Mooney; P Brady 0- 2, A Mahon; C Farrell, K Guing 1-0, S Og Farrell; D Flynn, J Mullen, B Malone. Subs: T Kenny for Malone, N Comerford for C Farrell
Referee: N Cooney
Roll Of Honour
Senior Football Championships (19)
1900, 1918, 1920, 1923, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1931, 1939, 1940, 1944, 1949, 1955, 1958, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1975, 1998, 2004.2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018
Dick Murphy , Jim Dunne(2), Jack Dunne(3), Dick Connor (2),Mick Murphy, Dick Conroy(2), Peter Leavy, Mick Casey(3),Paddy McCormack (2), Eugene Mulligan, Pat Daly, Alan McNamee (3 in a row) Roy Malone, Niall McNamee (2) , Paraic Sullivan,
2016 – Brian Darby and Conor McNamee
2017 – Anton and Niall
2018 – Brian Darby and Eoin Rigney