The Late (Patrick) Vincent O Rourke – Corrabarrick, Keshcarrigan, County Leitrim.

Leitrim GAA is saddened is learn of the death, on Saturday morning, of Vincent O Rourke (Senior), Corrabarrick, Keshcarrigan, Co. Leitrim and Fenagh St. Caillin’s GAA Club. Vincent is the father of the current Leitrim GAA Management Committee Member and Secretary of CCC Liatroma Vincent(Junior). He is also the grandfather of current Leitrim Senior Footballers Ryan and Riordan and Ryan and Leitrim Minor Footballer Ruairi, who all lined out for the county over the past weekend. It would have been a source of great pride to Vincent to see the progress made by his grandsons with Leitrim GAA teams over recent years.

The late Vincent O Rourke was all things to all people over his lifetime of service to Fenagh St Caillin’s GAA Club and indeed to Ladies Football in its formative years and for many years since.

As a footballer, Vincent first came to prominence as a wing-back on a star-studded Fenagh Minor Football team which won back-to-back Minor Championships in 1950 and ’51. Their success was little wonder, with the assistance of a strong Mohill/Gorvagh contingent consisting of, among others, Packy McGarty, Cathal Flynn and Eddie Rowley assisting the local stars of Vincent, Jimmy Mc Keon, Colm Heeran, Jimmy Bland, Anslem Reynolds and Michael Mc Hugh. In 1952 Vincent graduated to the Senior ranks and played in, his, and indeed Fenagh’s only Senior Championship final of the decade, where they were soundly beaten by Aughavas, Vincent’s playing career continued up until the mid 1960’s without much club playing success – emigration was taking its toll.

Despite Vincent’s exploits on the playing field. it may well be his legacy in club administration that stands the test of time. For nearly 70 years Fenagh played their football in Ellis’ field. In the early 1970’s the county board decreed it as unsuitable for adult football and the search was on for a new pitch. Numerous sub-committees looked at various options and eventually, a new committee which was appointed in 1980 with Vincent as Chairman and Hugh Maguire as Secretary, decided to move the scope of their search away from the village area. This was a game changer and they rapidly secured the current pitch, from local man, John Cassidy. With purchase and development costs coming in under, at what nowadays would be considered a paltry €70,000, the new Páirc Seán Ó Laodain opened in 1985. Vincent O Rourke was the powerhouse driver and motivator for the project, not only in its procurement, but in fund-raising, development, official opening and maintenance. Without his commitment and energy, it would never have happened at this time. For the next 30 years, he was caretaker and gatekeeper and never wavered in his commitment to the club. Páirc Seán Ó Laodáin remains to this day one of the finest playing surfaces in the county which is a fine testament to Vincent’s vision and ambition over four decades ago.

Ladies’ Football began to become organised within the county in 1978. From, the beginning Vincent was involved and trained the local club ladies as they won the first-ever official Ladies competition in Leitrim in 1978. In 1979 Leitrim LGFA formed its own County Committee and Vincent’s commitment to the Ladies’ game was recognised as he was elected as first-ever Chairperson of both Fenagh Ladies Club and the first-ever Chairperson of Leitrim LGFA. Over the following years, he continued as the trainer/coach of Fenagh Ladies teams at all levels.

Vincent will be remembered as an outstanding player, motivator and administrator of the club over his entire long life. Away from the GAA he was essentially a great family man, political enthusiast and with his wonderful clear and lucid mind and memory a source for local historians and family researchers right up to his final brief illness.

Vincent, predeceased by his late wife Tessie and granddaughter Joanna, is survived by his sons, Vincent Jr, Shane, Denis, Michael, Bobby, his daughters, Theresa, Ronnie, Maura, Rina, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, grandchildren, great-grandchild, nieces, nephews, relatives, neighbours and a large circle of friends. We extend our hearfelt sympathy to all.

Funeral Arrangements can be viewed at the following link.

(Our thanks to Padraig Leyden for his help with this article)