Ringmahon honour the late great Neil Minihan in the best way possible - with a football tournament

Ringmahon honour the late great Neil Minihan in the best way possible - with a football tournament

Ringmahon Rangers Neil 'Crouchy' Minihan Memorial Tournament - Winning captain Jordan Delurey pictured with club sponsor Ray O’Mahony of the Redcove Inn and tournament organiser Mervyn O’Connor. Picture: Doug Minihane

IT'S almost a year since the passing of Ringmahon man Neil Minihan, and the void from his passing is still very evident in the Blackrock club.

The lovable character, affectionately known as Crouchie was taken way too soon and too sudden and his death was a shock to everyone who knew him. 

He was loved by many and that proved evident again last Monday as the club honoured him in a memorial tournament that was attended by a huge crowd.

One of the organisers and his good friend Mervyn O’Connor spoke of the importance of honouring their friend and how delighted he was with the huge turn out on St Stephen’s Day.

The winning team with Neil’s family
The winning team with Neil’s family

“We felt it was very important for us a club to honour a former schoolboy, adult player and friend whose life was taking so sadly in January 2022,” said O’Connor. 

"The whole club was numb for weeks after Crouchie’s passing as he was an unbelievable character who was loved by many.

“When Neil passed away, the club were devastated for Neil’s family and friends. 

"Neil’s employers Keuhne-Nagel in little island showed their love for Neil by providing the club junior team with a new set of kit. 

"Neil had been affiliated with the junior teams of years gone by. At such a sad time for the club we always wanted to honour Neil’s memory in our own way and so the idea of a tournament was put out by committee members Paul Higgins, Myself and Noel Flood.

“It was fantastic to see such a huge turn out. We had eight teams of panels of 12 mixed with senior players, League of Ireland players women and men, Senior league, Youth players, Schoolgirls league and non league players and coaches all involved, a real blend of everyone. 

"It was a fantastic fun filled day with families of all sections of the club. Neil's family were there on the day, parents Josephine and Mick and sister Megan and Jamie and nephew Coady were all there which made the day more special. 

"Members of staff that Neil worked with in little island were present on day also and it just summed up how popular he was.

“What was great to see was players from other clubs join in to play in the tournament. Clubs as far as Treaty from Limerick, as well as players from Cork City, Cobh, Douglas Hall, Avondale and Passage. 

"The ages ranged from 16 to 50 which brought a great atmosphere.

Ringmahon Rangers Neil 'Crouchy' Minihan Memorial Tournament - Cian O’Connor celebrates a goal in style as a bemused Jesse Mendez looks on at the St Stephens Day Ringmahon Rangers Neil 'Crouchy' Minihan Memorial Tournament in Ringmahon Park. Picture: Doug Minihane
Ringmahon Rangers Neil 'Crouchy' Minihan Memorial Tournament - Cian O’Connor celebrates a goal in style as a bemused Jesse Mendez looks on at the St Stephens Day Ringmahon Rangers Neil 'Crouchy' Minihan Memorial Tournament in Ringmahon Park. Picture: Doug Minihane

“Family members Megan and Megan Boyfriend played along with Neil’s cousin Andrew Lawton who entered a team with the rainbow Club in Mahon.

All sponsorship on the day was from the club and all trophies from McCarthy trophies. 

The Club was delighted to have main sponsor Ray O'Mahony from Red Cove present on the day. 

"Winners on the day were Jordan Delurey’s team. A fitting winner really with the O’ Connor/Delurey family so close to Crouchie through his whole life. 

"He was like a brother to the kids Katie, Jordan, Kelsey, Callum, Sophie and of course a great friend to their parents Mervyn and Siobhan. 

"So no doubt they made sure they had a packed team which consisted of Jordan, Adam and Kelsey Delurey, John and Iain Aherne, Cian/Cinderella O’Connor, Aaron Ahern, Cameron Harrison, Jesse Mendez, Adam O’Callaghan, Ryan Keating, and Ross Cronin.

"Neil played from academy right up to junior level. He was a larger than life character. So many great memories of Crouchie within club and now having an annual tournament will remind us of how great a man he was.

"January 25th is a day that a lot of people in the club will never forget when Crouchie left us. Shock, agony and despair came upon his friends and family who became numb. 

Ringmahon Rangers Neil 'Crouchy' Minihan Memorial Tournament - Alan Cooper, Paul Lawlor and James Corcoran taking part in the Ringmahon Rangers Neil 'Crouchy' Minihan Memorial Tournament in Ringmahon Park on St Stephens Day. Picture: Doug Minihane
Ringmahon Rangers Neil 'Crouchy' Minihan Memorial Tournament - Alan Cooper, Paul Lawlor and James Corcoran taking part in the Ringmahon Rangers Neil 'Crouchy' Minihan Memorial Tournament in Ringmahon Park on St Stephens Day. Picture: Doug Minihane

"It affected a lot of players from 18-30 as they had great friendships with him. So while it was a tough year without him, the tournament brought some smiles back to people while being reminded of the character he was."

Ringmahon is truly a family Club and it constantly shows this on a regular basis. 

At last week's memorial tournament there was over €1,000 euro raised on St Stephen’s day and all monies will go to the hemophilia ward in the CUH. 

"Neil's family hope that this money can help in some way. A simple thing as getting a blood test could make a huge difference in people’s lives. 

"We as a family are grateful to Ringmahon club for all the support they have given us during a time that has been truly heartbreaking and difficult. "It was great to see so many people out enjoying themselves playing ball, all while remembering our Neil.”

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Echo 130Echo 130

Echo WISA

Read all about the monthly winner’s and more.
Click Here

EL_music

Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more