Roscrea RFC is, always has been and always will be a family club, with all the very best characteristics which that entails. It is this special quality that defines it, but also drives it and will inspire it for many more generations to come.
Roscrea rugby club has been a reliably constant part of the fabric of the local community since being founded over 70 years ago. The club has quite a unique identity drawing players from the surrounding hinterland which encompasses parts of counties Tipperary, Offaly and laois which straddle the provincial border between leinster and Munster. As such, the Roscrea rfc senior team has always been made up of a truly eclectic mix of characters, and although unwaveringly loyal to the club and each other, their provincial and other sporting allegiances are often in contrast. But despite all this, the cohesion and collective unity has always been a hallmark of Roscrea teams. What is very significant and is perhaps a telling indication of the way the club has developed over the years to become a conglomeration of families more so than individuals, is the consistent representation of members of the same family taking the field together. Indeed, there is a strong history of this at Roscrea one that is still very much evident in the current senior team.The influence of family involvement where brothers have represented the club can be observed as far back as the 60s and 70s, when the 4 O’Connor, Frank, Tom, Johnny and Tony donned the maroon jersey. This was subsequently followed in the 80s and 90s by the legendary Dooley brothers of Joe, Martin and Gerry, Gerry’s playing days must have really influenced his son Peter as he now plays for Leinster. From the late 90s onwards, two veritable giants of midlands rugby, brothers Mervyn and Kevin Stanley both standing over 6ft 6 tall lined out for the club. Around the same time, the club even had the rare distinction of fielding a father and son duo when the insatiable Jimmy Brady and his son Declan literally fought side by side. Interestingly, generations of the same family have also often taken on the mantle of leadership, with both the formidable Ger Coughlan and his son Darragh and the legendary Philly O’Rourke and his son Brian all captaining the senior team. It is not uncommon for numerous generations to wear maroon, Davey Carney and his brothers were great servants to the club with Davey’s sons Daryl and David both impressing at senior level in recent years while his grandsons Robert and Fionn play at youths level. The talented Doherty brothers of Niall, Gearoid and Antoin have all proudly worn the Maroon jersey during their families 20 year association with Roscrea RFC.
Club stalwart Dudley Maher represented the club in the 70s and even now never misses a match. Up until recently he single handedly provided 3 forwards and 1 back to the senior team on any given Sunday, as his 4 sons Willie, Malachy, Joe and John took the field together.
There have even been many cases of twins lining out for Roscrea, the imperious twins Brian and Ger Fitzgearld played together, while before them, twins Des and Joe Dempsey played with another brother Bert for many years. Interestingly, Joe’s son Robert followed in his illustrious footsteps and was also a Roscrea captain and is currently the clubs director of Rugby. Current senior scrum half Stephen Carter and his brother Wesley also wore maroon, while his 2 younger brothers Sam and Ben have represented the club at youths level.
There are many similar stories, as countless other local families have taken part in the Roscrea RFC journey through the ages. This rich tradition of intergenerational family commitment to the club has had a profound effect on moulding the clubs identity throughout its history. This is still evident today when observing the unique dedication and unwavering loyalty that typifies the current senior team. It is a rare and special phenomenon, a sometimes elusive and unquantifiable special bond and togetherness that can only manifest itself in a band of brothers. The Roscrea senior team has within its ranks no less than 5 sets of Brothers, Kieran and Ger stone, Mikey and Seamus Treacy whose brother Joe also played, George and Jonathon Sutton, Fergus and Gavin Hannon and Malachy and John Maher all willing without reservation to give everything they have for each other and the jersey.
This long standing importance of family commitment is what makes clubs like Roscrea RFC flourish and stand the test of time. We have no doubt that this special attribute will help the club to continue on its journey for many years to come.