Castle Roche

Victorious Roche

3rd January, 1954

By Jack Sands
Air: "The Soirée on Skull Hill"

Come all ye gallant football fans,
That live round Bridge-a-chrin,
When you hear my recitation,
I'm sure you will give in,
They played the game round Castle Roche,
For fifty years or more,
And never won an egg-stand,
That we ever heard before.

Jack Treanor took the cudgel up in 1953,
They pulled the team together,
The champions to be,
They swept the fields before them,
Until they met Dunleer,
And when this game had ended,
Both teams were worth a cheer.

For when the game had ended
It resulted in a draw,
And all the Roche spectators,
Looked down on them with awe,
But I looked forward to the replay
Still less or more in dread,
For I knew the Laurels fifteen
Came from the right side of the bed.

'Twas on the 3rd of January,
In Dundalk Athletic Grounds,
Roche Emmets then togged out again
To pull the Laurels down,
They were led by Willie Treacy
Who gave a helping hand,
And inspired by the veteran
Who was second in command.

The day was fine, the sun did shine,
Down on the pitch and yard,
And when both teams came on the field,
The crowd cheered very hard,
Jim Matthews then threw in the ball
But before it went very far
A 21 yards free by Flood,
Went sailing o'er the bar.

The full-back line stood firm
Though well tested every man,
Joe Lennon kept the centre clear,
Likewise Jack Treanor and young Dan,
Jim Craven stood between the sticks,
His hands were wet with sweat,
As he moved swiftly to and fro
In protection of the net.

The half-back line played mighty fine,
With Treacy well in front
Kevin Reilly and Sean Craven too
They often bore the brunt,
As fine a combination
As any team could get,
And they proved it at the end of time
The way they saved the net.

I thought the centre-field was slack
Well in the second half
For Laurels had the best of it,
Throughout the greater part,
They kept it with their forwards,
Yet 'tis outward it did roll,
But when they reached the final quarter,
They were leading by a goal.

We will move up to the 40 now,
To see what we'll find there,
We have Casey tall and lofty,
He caught them in the air,
But to me he did seem hampered,
For he seldom could get far,
But on a couple of occasions
He fisted o'er the bar.

They may shake their caps at Gartlan,
He stands out on his own
He could pull it down from 3 or 4,
As if he were alone,
'Twas he who fed the forwards,
But in hard luck they were tied,
For on many hot occasions,
Quinn and Kirk were inches wide.

Then Roche put on more pressure
And a 50 did receive,
It was taken out upon the spot,
For Mickey to conceive,
The way he stood behind it,
You would know he was a star,
For like a guided missile
It went sailing o'er the bar.

A scrimmage in the Laurels goal,
Resulted in a free,
Some thought it was a penalty,
But, says I, "it couldn't be."
And with only two points in it now,
As Mickey did kick in,
But from his close-in rasping shot,
He grazed outside the frame.

With the hour reduced to seconds,
My heart was in my shoes,
"God bless us," I says to myself,
"I'm afraid they're going to lose,"
The ball came in and out again
It was then kicked out to touch,
I knew it was the final chance,
As for time, they had not much.

Niall Craven took the side-line kick,
And in the ball did roll,
When someone shouts behind my back,
"'Twas Gartlan scored the goal"
I couldn't say, for I couldn't see,
But excitement mounted high,
And Joe Kelly and Dick Callaghan
Were like two who were going to die.

"Come on me boys," Pete McShane did say,
You have it in the bag,
Says I, "You're talking through your hat,
They never raised the flag,"
And as these words I uttered,
The flag he did approach,
The ball was tangled in the net,
And the Championship in Roche.

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