A Unique Occasion – Roger’s Story.




A Unique Occasion – Roger’s Story.

Elm Park Golf Club, Dublin, March 20th 2009.

Dermot Roughan captained and Johnnie Quirke was the vice captain of the Blackrock College Leinster Schools Junior Cup winning side on March 20th 1959. They were under 15 years of age at the time.

The initiative to get the team together 50 years later on the same date was put in place via emails and phone calls.

John (Yapper) Regan, travelled from the Cayman Islands, Paid Murray from New England in the USA and I travelled from Mijas Costa in southern Spain to join with those living in Ireland.

One team member, Dermot Keegan, could not make the trip from Mumbai in India. Umberto Jaconelli and Chips O’Beirne also were unable to attend.

Present were John Regan, Walter Prendergast, Roger Cummiskey, Dermot Roughan, Jimmy Dillon and Johnnie Quirke. Forwards included. Paid Murray, Dave Robinson, Frank Convery, Denis Gill, Garrett Gill, John Blunden and Bryan O’Brien. Also in attendance was G M Slattery.

This was certainly “one of those occasions.” This was a surrealistic get-together and unique occasion to quote the cliché. I decided to view it as I am sure others did as a reliving of our experiences of 50 years ago and leaving out most of the in-between bits.

Dermot Roughan was a forerunner of Jona Lomo in that he was extremely difficult to “take down” by the opposition and had an insatiable appetite for running with the ball and scoring tries. A very strong young boy, ahead of his time and age.

Johnnie Quirke was a Giselle in motion as he leapt gracefully and fired spin passes with accuracy a distance we felt stretching from The College to Willow Park and arriving waste high and in front of Jimmy Dillon.

What out half could ever ask for a better service? The use of the grubber kick was often measured to perfection by Jimmy.

If perchance Dermot decided to let the ball out to me it was easy to transfer to both wings, Chips and Wally, who could score at will as half the opposite back line were engaged trying to floor Dermot.

I made the line a few times myself despite reminders from Tommy Doyle of Newbridge and especially Tony Hickey of St Mary’s that there was not going to be any easy way through.

At full back we had Yapper Regan from Leamington Spa in Warwickshire. I had to get the atlas out for that one and also for his present location in the Cayman Islands. John Regan was a safe pair of hands before we even knew what that implied. He was rarely tested however as it was well neigh impossible to get by the rock solid central defence!

Denis Gill was a scythe who chopped down all opposition at ankle level time after time and Garrett on the opposite side of the scrum took no prisoners either.

Being a back I was not that au fait with the intricacies of forward play but my memory conjures up a picture of John Blunden, Bryan O’Brien, Frank Convery and Dermot Keegan looping their way across field in long lazy strides to take up line out or scrum positions.

The front row of Umberto Jaconelli and Paid Murray with Dave Robinson in the hooker position made light work of all scrums. Dave didn’t even need a crooked put in to assist him in a lightning strike that put the fear of God in all opposition front rows.

Father “Da” Roche was proud of his charges.

This reunion was a splendid idea and was conducted in a civilized and unostentatious manner. Who knew 50 years ago that 50 years later one would be surrounded by captains of industry, commerce, banking, medicine and law as well as the few guys whose greatest achievement was to have survived the distance in good health?

Go n-éirí an bóthar liobh go leir.
Bien salud a todos.

May you all enjoy continued good health and take my good wishes with you. It was a pleasure being associated with all of you 50 years ago and now.

Roger Cummiskey.

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