Sadness on the passing of 1948 Millstreet and Cork captain John O'Keeffe 

Sadness on the passing of 1948 Millstreet and Cork captain John O'Keeffe 

John O'Keeffe captained Millstreet to win the 1948 Co. SFC pictured with the match ball after he captained Cork to enjoy victory in the 1949 Munster SFC Final.

ON the passing of legendary Millstreet football captain from 1948 John O'Keeffe, his memory recalls Millstreet’s glorious progress to land their only Cork County SFC title.

Third time lucky for the Duhallow club, nothing would satisfy supporters more than their heroes writing themselves into the history books. 

And O'Keeffe lent outstanding service to Cork on captaining the Rebels to land the 1949 Munster SFC on a victory over Clare.

Club Secretary Sharon Lane regrets the death of a Millstreet great who featured in a golden era for the club.

“One of nature's gentlemen, John will be remembered as warm and friendly, as a club and county player, he had few equals. 

"All through his life, John played an immense role in the betterment of the Millstreet community through his involvement in a number of voluntary organisations,” she said.

Millstreet's victory in the 1948 Cork County SFC recalls heroic deeds for a team outstanding in commitment and spirit. 

Previously, the club contested county senior finals of 1940/41 only to fall to Beara and St. Nicholas respectively.

But Millstreet's hour to bask in glory materialized in 1948, Clonakilty and Fermoy were amongst the hot favourites to take the honours, the duo had dominated the previous six championships. 

First time out, Millstreet forced a replay against Beara before bettering St. Finbarr's and Fermoy to set up a county final against St. Vincent's.

And Millstreet's growing status was highlighted on the county team, John O'Keeffe and Din Connors members of a Cork side defeated by Cavan in the National Football League Final on the Sunday prior to the County Final.

Torrential rain ruled out prematch formalities at the Athletic Grounds and though St. Vincent's held dominance during the early stages, Millstreet, once settled, fired on all cylinders, their endurance surfaced and a splendid goal from Denis "Toots" Kelleher gave his side the lift.

And whilst St. Vincent's remained in the hunt, Millstreet hung on, years of frustration were wiped away as unprecedented scenes of jubilation greeted team captain John O'Keeffe and his heroic players as tears of joy were shed by young and old.

Following the game, the Millstreet players made the short trip to the St. Vincent's base in the North side of the city and sportingly the new county champions received a warm welcome.

It was a foretaste of celebrations to come later in the night. 

And how Millstreet hailed their day of glory, huge crowds amongst the 3,000 strong attendance that delivered a rousing reception on the team's return home.

Representing the county champions, O'Keeffe had the honour of captaining Cork in 1949 in a Munster campaign filled with surprises. 

Clare had defeated Kerry in a semi final only for Cork to end their run in the provincial decider.

O'Keeffe captained Cork to Croke Park where bogey side Cavan ended their aspirations in terms of All-Ireland success at the semi final stage.

For a long number of years, Johnny O'Keeffe was Secretary to Millstreet Town Park, a body controlled by a dedicated committee drawn from sporting voluntary organisations. 

And together with his late wife Lena, he served as Chairman to Millstreet Tidy Towns, the recipients of numerous Anti-Litter Awards and ever increasing marks in the National Tidy Towns competition.

Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a anam Dilís.

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