RINGMAHON RANGERS moved a step closer to the capture of a trophy they craved - The FAI Intermediate Cup – when the defeated College Corinthians in the quarter final recently.
Their reward was a home semi-final against Dublin’s Killester at their own splendid Ringmahon Park.
They stepped up to senior league football in 1961 after dominating AUL junior soccer completing three premier (Division 1) titles in a row 1959-’61.
They showed their class with a seamless transition winning seven MSL Championships in eight seasons between 1964-71 but a national title eluded them.
It was frustrating that an almost invincible team with a passionate vociferous following which unnerved referees an opponents couldn’t make the national break through.
Many years ago at a Cork soccer function leading sports journalist Billy George, who during his career had played regularly against Ringmahon at the Valley, colourfully emphasized the great Ringmahon fighting tradition when he quipped: “If George Bush had Ringmahon on his side he’d have the Taliban wiped out in record time.”
Rangers tried to rectify that grave matter and in preparation for one vital FAI Intermediate Cup tie all players were asked to stay off the booze until after the match.
During the “dry” week the recently deceased Rangers legend Christy “Botter” Hayes, accompanied by key player Micky Connolly, decided to visit Bill Casey a loyal supporter who was very ill in St Finbarr’s Hospital.
They were upset to find that Bill was very poorly and to drown their sorrows decided to drop in next door to the Lions Den for a quart.
There they met Bill Flynn, an old character from the Village, a patient in the hospital who had slipped out for a pint.
Yarns began to flow, then a sing song started so there was no going home until after closing time.
The three merry auld souls headed back to St Finbarr’s where the security man, former Cork United player and referee Rory O’Connor, gave them permission to take old Bill back to his ward.
Rory later regretted that decision as the trio who were as high as kites woke the whole block when falling through the door of the ward where they started a mighty sing-song.
Botter and Micky were later extricated from the noisy choir by the Gardaí who chauffeured them back to Blackrock.
As it was as a result of performing a corporal work of mercy that Micky went back on the drink he was exonerated while “Botter” was severely reprimanded and warned to stay away from all players until after the cup-tie.
By the way they lost that cup match.
Here’s hooping that the long wait will soon end and that the current talented squad will fulfil the clubs life long ambition by bringing the famous Pat O'Brien intermediate trophy to the village.