NEMO Rangers recently held a gala centenary dinner before a huge crowd at the Rochestown Park Hotel.
The city kingpins who recently won the Andy Scannell Cup for the 23rd time in its history held a celebratory night in recognition of the city club reaching its 100th birthday. A large cross-section of club members and special guests attended on the night.
David O’Kelly who is the chairman of the Centenary Committee and the author of ‘’ said the gala centenary dinner was a ‘great’ night.
“The MC for the event was Finbarr McCarthy of 96FM. It was a great night. We had been preparing it for ages. We were originally supposed to have it in March but there were still restrictions, so we put it off until October. We have a lovely message from An Taoiseach Micheál Martin who unfortunately couldn’t make it on the night,” he said.
O’Kelly said the dinner attracted a great cross-section of people from right throughout the club.
“There was a fabulous cross-section of people from right across every club. We had 30 ladies’ players from our U21 football team that won the county.
"People travelled from near and far for the night. Two ladies travelled from the US for the event. They would be relations of Bernadette Allen our president, while more people came from the UK.”
The Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Deirdre Forde was represented by Cllr Dan Boyle who recalled his own time playing street leagues and underage games with the club.
A special video message was then relayed from An Taoiseach, former player and club member, Micheál Martin who was unable to attend due to a prior engagement. The Taoiseach, whose son Micheál Aodh Martin is the current goalkeeper with the Nemo senior football team, outlined the positive influence the club has had on generations of players, mentors and throughout the wider community during its 100 years.
Following the meal, the large attendance was addressed by Uachtarán Chumann Lúthcleas Gael, Larry McCarthy, who complimented Nemo Rangers on their contribution to the GAA through its extensive list of achievements which include winning seven All-Ireland senior club football titles and 17 Munster senior club championship titles.
The President of the GAA who is himself a native of Cork reserved special praise for the commitment of the Nemo Rangers club members and officials stretching back to the club’s first chairman, Padraig Ó Caoimh, who later became Secretary General of the Association and after whom Páirc Uí Chaoimh is named.
During his speech, the GAA President also made reference to Respect the Referee Day which was held on the same weekend as the Nemo Rangers centenary dinner. David said the club made a special presentation to club referee Colm Lyons for officiating at this year's All-Ireland senior hurling final.
“We were delighted that Larry could attend. He spoke about the recent disciplinary incidents and called for more respect towards officials. He got a warm ovation for that. Our club member Colm Lyons was present. We made a presentation to Colm in recognition of his officiating at this year’s All-Ireland final.”
The Uachtarán was followed by speeches from the Chairman of Cork County Board, Marc Sheehan and the club’s own chairman, Padraig Treacy, who thanked the Centenary Committee under chairman, David O’Kelly, for organising such a wide variety of events throughout this historic year.
The Nemo Rangers centenary dinner concluded with a humorous and nostalgic address by the guest of honour, Colm O’Rourke, the former Meath All-Star footballer and present Meath senior football manager.
The formerpundit recalled many epic football matches between Cork and Meath including the All-Ireland finals of 1987, 1988 and 1990. Many friendships were forged following those great tussles and a proper perspective on life was realised particularly following the untimely passing of former Cork footballers John Kerins and Mick McCarthy.
“Colm who was recently appointed the new manager of Meath was also excellent and very funny. He referred to many clashes with Billy Morgan and other Cork footballers. He also brought a bit of perspective when he spoke about the late Michael McCarthy and John Kerins which helped build bridges.
"The Meath players came down to Cork for those two funerals,” he added.
The main theme of Colm’s speech was the love of the club that you grow up with and the lifelong friendships that you make which are the true legacy of the GAA. Colm said he hopes that the spirit within the GAA will continue long into the future.
Presentations were then made to the special guests before the large attendance danced into the night and renewed friendships with those who had travelled from afar to be part of Nemo Ranger’s special night.
The Centenary Events Diary will conclude on Saturday, November 19 when club members and friends will gather in the Trabeg Complex for the launch of the club’s 400-page Centenary History book ‘’.
On the night, the club will also honour the 50th anniversary of the club’s first senior county victory in 1972 and unveil a 100-year Officers Board.