ONE of Roscrea Hurling Club's biggest social nights in recent years will be hosted on Friday, January 28th in the Damer Court "Grant's Hotel".
A large attendance is expected as the guests of honour are the Roscrea heroes from 1883/84 who won back to back U21 County titles.Tickets are modestly priced at just €35 each which includes a full meal and entertainment until late into the night.
Music is by the very popular band "Out Of Diesel" and tickets are available from a number of committee members including the Secretary Proinsias Loughnane and the Treasurer, Paul Phelan.
1983 was a vintage year for the U21 grade with a number of great games involving Roscrea. The young crop of fledgling players played a brand of champagne hurling throughout the period that enthralled spectators and left a lasting legacy to the club particularly at underage level.
The road to success in 1983, began in earnest with a high scoring game against Borrisoleigh in which Roscrea emerged victorious on a scoreline of 5-9 to 4-6. Roscrea won the game with a greater degree of determination, talent and all round team effort, dominating the game from start to finish in atrocious conditions. Centre Forward Michael Scully who had formally played Minor for Tipp was in great form despite the conditions and he gave Richard Stakelum a torrid time. Aidan Shanahan excelled at centre back and Roscrea dominated the midfield with Gerry Ryan and Austin O'Meara.
Roscrea would face Toomevara in the North Final where they would try to make amends for their defeat to Eire Og the previous year. Again the weather was poor but this meant little to Roscrea who were busy fuelling their own devastating storm which resulted in a 3-10 to 2-6 victory over Toomevara. With a lead of nine points at half time it was no surprise that Toom mounted a charge in the second half. They drew Roscrea back to just two scores before P.J Deane rattled the net to extend the lead once again. Eddie Hogan guarded the full back line throughout while future all star Paul Delaney had a great game at wing back.
Michael Scully was on top form in the forwards as was Tony Maher and Joe Treacy who helped create many chances. The County Semi Final was played on November 21st against Cashel. Ciaran Mac Nioclais who reported on the drawn County Final between Roscrea and Cashel was so enthralled by the game he called it "A Thriller". Roscrea looked in serious trouble with only ten minutes left o the clock. Trailing by six points the red and white army fought back with great courage and determination. Once again Michael Scully was to the fore with a last ditch free to level the score, save Roscrea's bacon and bring the classic to a replay. Kevin Moloney will also be remembered for his point blank save between the sticks during the game as will P.J Deane who scored a vital goal in the dying minutes.
The replay on December 4th never matched the same thrilling level as the first encounter. The speed and exuberance of the previous game was nowhere to be found and Roscrea qualified for the County Final for the first time since 1968 with an eight point victory. Roscrea 3-5, Cashel 0-6. Despite some good patches of play the game was a foul tempered affair with five players seeing red.
The key to Roscrea's victory was once again their determination and some key performances particularly from Eddie Hogan, Minor Captain Mark Fletcher who stood in for Tony Maher on the day due to Tony's unavailability, Aidan Shanahan, Michael Scully, PJ Deane and Joe Treacy. Donie Kealy and Gerry Ryan worked hard in midfield and Kevin Moloney dwelt with anything that was asked of him throughout the game.
The County Final was played a week before Christmas, December 18th 1983.
Wild scenes of jubilation followed a 4-9 to 1-8 victory for Roscrea over Holycross. Roscrea's spirit and will to win was evident from the start of the game and their tremendous dedication to training throughout the year paid of as they were the hungrier and fitter team. Eddie Hogan was a stalwart in defence as was David Minogue. Jerry Ryan and Donie Kealy came under pressure at midfield and battled hard throughout. Joe Tracy and Michael Scully as always were efficient in the forwards but in fairness the whole team excelled and each player played a huge part in ending the U21 famine and giving Roscrea a great excuse to start some early Christmas celebrations. The Roscrea team that day was: K. Moloney, J. Mahon, E. Hogan, P. Minogue, D. Minogue, A. Shanahan, P. Delaney, J. Ryan, D. Kealy, PJ Deane, M. Scully, J. Pyne, T. Maher, E. Bergin and J. Treacy. Sub M. Fletcher. Scorers: J. Treacy (2-3), M. Scully (1-3), E. Bergin (1-2) P.J Deane (0-1).
It is interesting from various commentaries at the time that there was a certain fraction interested in scraping the U21 grade. Roscrea can be proud that thanks to their unique brand of fluid and determined hurling during the early 80's they will have played a key role in convincing the masses that the U21 grade is an enthralling competition, that is of great merit and thoroughly enjoyed by the supporters. It is also interesting that thirty years on, hurling enthusiasts still find themselves defending this grade. That debate is for another day however and for now we can all look forward to January 28th. All those interested in attending are more than welcome. Tickets are on a first come first served basis so please reserve your ticket and show your support for the club and your appreciation for the 1883/84 legends as soon as possible.