NEXT year Nemo Rangers, the most decorated football club in the country, celebrates a major milestone with its 100th birthday.
To commemorate the special occasion, the Trabeg based club will outline its plans at a launch attended by Taoiseach Micheal Martin, whose family supply strong links to the club, at their magnificent facility in Trabeg tomorrow afternoon.
It has put together a ‘Diary of Centenary Events’ under the general banner of ‘A Century of Gold’-1922-2022, starting with the unveiling of a special Centenary Flag on New Year’s Day.
January 1 next will also feature the Ger Kiely Puc Fada and the opening of a special Centenary Wall Photographic Display.
There will be a Welcome Home Week in March which will also include one of the highlights of the year, a Gala Centenary Dinner with local radio’s Finbarr McCarthy as MC and former Meath ‘great’ Colm O’Rourke as guest speaker.
Towards the end of 2022 a comprehensive 400-page Centenary Club History, covering the entire story of the club and written by David O’Kelly of the Centenary Committee, will be published.
Among the many other events will be a special competition celebrating the life of recently deceased club icon, Jim Cremin.
And a unique exterior Centenary Wall will allow members, families and friends to recognise the names of their loved ones’ personal contribution to the club throughout its celebrated history.
How Nemo Rangers was founded makes interesting reading from the old Cork Examiner.
It reported on March 20, 1922, that an amalgamation of the Nemo and Rangers hurling clubs had been successfully arranged.
“Both of these teams have been, for years, prominently before the public eye in hurling circles and have many honours to their credit,” the report said.
“Nemo only recently won promotion to the senior division and now that the clubs have combined their respective resources they will take some reckoning with in the 1922 championship.”
Little did they realise that the newly formed club would evolve into the most successful club in football history, capturing a record seven All-Ireland Club titles, 17 Munsters and 22 counties.
Two names are synonymous with the coming together of the clubs, Nemo’s Paddy O’Keeffe and Denny Hegarty of Rangers, both fellow officers of the Volunteers of the time.
The pair became friends after O’Keeffe returned to Leeside following his incarceration as a republican prisoner in Parkhurst Prison in 1921. He went on to become Director-General of the GAA and Cork’s headquarters at Pairc Ui Chaoimh is named in his honour.
Nemo developed from humble beginnings in the South Parish/Turners Cross areas to a modern state-of-the-art facility in Trabeg, consisting of an array of floodlit pitches for its many teams. The club caters for players in football, hurling, ladies football and camogie as well as a thriving under-age system.
Nemo have provided a wide range of outstanding players, coaches and administrators to Cork teams, notably Billy Morgan and Denis Allen, who captained the county to All-Ireland football glory in 1973 and 1989 respectively.
The current president of the county board is Brian Barrett, a name strongly associated with Nemo.
Meanwhile, the opening shots in this season’s popular provincial club championships will be fired next weekend with games in senior, intermediate and junior hurling with the football starting a week later on the first weekend in December.
Cork referee Ciaran O’Regan takes charge of the junior quarter-final between Tralee Parnells and Skeheenarinky (Tipperary) at Austin Stack Park, Tralee, at 1.30pm, tomorrow week.
The same afternoon the champions of Clare and Waterford meet at intermediate level, Smith O’Briens against Dunhill at Cusack Park.
A day later it’s the big game of the weekend featuring Tony Kelly’s Ballyea taking on Ballygunner, also in Ennis, in the senior quarter-final with Limerick’s John O’Halloran in charge.
In intermediate John Meyler’s Kilmoyley travel to Templetuohy in Tipperary to play the locals in intermediate while in junior it’s Ogonneloe from Clare against Waterford’s Brickey Rangers in Sixmilebridge.