Rockchapel stay on the front foot despite county final delay

Duhallow club due to play Mitchelstown in the IFC decider against Mitchelstown
Rockchapel stay on the front foot despite county final delay

Jack Coughlan, Glanworth, holding back William Murphy of Rockchapel during the Intermediate A Football Championship semi-final at Dromina last year. Picture: Dan Linehan

IT'S easy to appreciate Rockchapel's frustrations. 

Last October, they were looking ahead to an IFC final date with Mitchelstown only for the GAA to suspend all club games with immediate effect as a result of post-match incidents across the country.

Since then they've been in purgatory, with no training permitted and no sign of a date for the delayed decider.

“The past year has been difficult for all clubs, for ourselves, it ended just six days before a county final. It's something to look forward to, hopefully sooner than later, it's a strange sight, driving past the club gates and with it, there is an eerie silence," said club chairman Brendan Cahill.

Part of a successful team to win a County JAFC in 2012, Cahill says the club has gone from strength to strength.

“We had grown up listening to the great stories of the successful teams from 1987 and '89 to win both county junior A and intermediate titles. To regain the title in 2001 was massive, that bridged a 14-year gap, allowing interest build up yet it took another 11 years to add a Duhallow title.”

Rockchapel were further boosted by county accolades on overcoming Kilmurry in a replay to secure intermediate status where the Rock have performed favourably on reaching county finals only to lose to Éire Óg and Bandon.

“Duhallow is a very competitive division, for good measure, the JAFC is one of the most difficult to win, you need to be at the top of your game, week in, week out, consistency required right throughout the season.”

And given the club's location in the northwest of the county and close to the Kerry and Limerick borders, there is a keen rivalry on the county bounds in an area renowned for its culture and Gaelic games.

As we're based in Sliabh Luachra, GAA and traditional music mean a lot to the people. We've a healthy rivalry with Brosna on the Kerry side and Mountcollins from Limerick with many of the players going to the same secondary school."

Fundraising is ever so important for clubs, Rockchapel no different, and in pandemic times, the club Smartlotto generates vital funds.

“There is not too much positive about Covid but the response to our online Smartlotto has been phenomenal. It has offered the chance for former members to re-connect with the club, currently on the committee, we've people currently based in Midleton, Kinsale and Gneeveguilla."

Finance helps towards the upkeep of the astro track around a juvenile pitch, Rockchapel availing of additional support from the local Windmill Committee and the club has applied for a Sports Capital Grant.

Looking ahead, a close-knit Rockchapel club seek to pencil in a date into the diary to a delayed county final against Mitchelstown, that may not be resolved until the end of the summer with fingers crossed of clubs resuming training in their own grounds in the near future.

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