By Patricia Devlin
COOKSTOWN’S boys-in-blue not only earned a place in history this week but have boosted the district, uplifted the town and inspired a generation of young sports fans to boot.
That’s what sport officials, politicians and church leaders told the MAIL this week after the Father Rock’s team took home the All-Ireland Intermediate Club title from Croke Park on Saturday.
The Tyrone and Ulster champs took the crown after an impressive display against Kerry, beating the Finuge men 1-9 to 0-6.
And as Cookstown captain Owen Mulligan lifted the prestigious trophy late on Saturday, he was also making history as the County Tyrone club became the first to take home the title for the second time.
“It’s a dream come true for them. The lads have done their club, county and their province proud,” said Father Rock’s Club Chair Adrian Gilmore.
“It stands well for the future of the club, when the younger lads see what their elders can achieve they will want a bit of this too.”
“There is a fantastic buzz about the town,” added Adrian.
“The lads have been celebrating since Saturday night and probably will celebrate for the next week or so. They deserve it, as I don’t think they have had a drink in seven months.”
The GAA chair says the win could not have happened at a better time as the club will celebrate its 125th anniversary next year.
“It’s a great place to be at in senior football and we are determined to stay there,” he said.
Cookstown District Council Chairman Tony Quinn said the historic win will have a far bigger impact on the town than just taking home a title.
“It has uplifted everyone in the town, and will continue to,” he said.
“There’s no doubt there will be a big impact right across the town and district, young boys and girls will want to be involved.
Praising the team, committee, and the their families, Councillor Quinn says he hoped the club would be officially recognised by council in the week’s to come.
“The organising committee and dedication of the players needs to be recognised, but what also must be recognised is the massive part played by families.
“There is a lot of hard work and effort put in by families to get people on the actual pitch,” said the chairman.
Cookstown Council Deputy Chair John McNamee, who travelled to Dublin on Saturday, said
“The sense of pride that this achievement has brought to the district is indescribable,” he said.
“So many people came out to support Cookstown on Saturday night, even in the hotel before the game you were seeing people that you had not seen in a lifetime who made the effort to travel down.
“It’s great to see that and says a lot about the community spirit we have here.”
Cookstown Father Rock’s Club President Father Gerry Tremer says the win has brought a new lease of life to the area.
“It’s brought a whole new life and excitement to the town,” he said.
“We are absolutely delighted at what the team has achieved and congratulations has to be given to not only the players, but the backroom staff and all those involved. Well done everyone.”