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The Late Ollie O’Rourke

posted 17 Dec 2010, 17:51 by Jonathan Tavey   [ updated 5 Feb 2012, 05:28 ]
The news of the sudden passing of one of the all time greats, Oliver O’Rourke, was met with great sadness and shock in Inniskeen on Thursday 16th December 2010.

With a decorated playing career which spanned almost a quarter of a century, Ollie represented Inniskeen, Monaghan and even Ulster with distinction.

‘Big Ollie’ as he was popularly known due to his towering physique, had tremendous fielding skills and exceptional long distance kicking, both from the hands and off the ground, something which has become part of local Gaelic games folklore.

First making the breakthrough into the Inniskeen team in 1944, Ollie quickly became a vital player for the Grattans making the centre half back and later full back positions his own. He was part of the back to back championship winning team in 1947 & ’48, the last Inniskeen team to win a senior football championship. Along with the two championship medals Ollie also picked up four Owen Ward Cup medals and six Fr. Hackett Cup medals with Inniskeen.

In 1947 Ollie was selected for the Monaghan senior team and became an automatic choice in defence for over a decade until he called time on his inter county career in 1958. An unusual stroke of good fortune where a suspension from the Monaghan seniors that left Ollie eligible for the junior team lead to Monaghan’s capture of the Junior All Ireland title, a medal which was one of his most treasured possessions.

Quality performances for Monaghan over the years caught the attention of the Ulster selectors and ‘Big Ollie’ was selected to play at full back in the 1949 Railway Cup series.

After over twenty four years of carving out his place in history on the football field, Ollie decided to hang up his boots in 1968 at the age of 42.

Over the years he has been honoured several times for his outstanding achievements. In 1990 Ollie was awarded the Co. Monaghan Hall of Fame and just last year he was selected as a member of the Monaghan 125 team.

A true legend of the GAA, who will be missed by the Inniskeen Grattans club.

Ar dheis De go raibh a anam.