Downpatrick Honour 78 Team
At the recent Downpatrick Diner Dance
attended by treble All Ireland-winning stars Sean
O'Neill and Paddy Doherty the Downpatrick team of
1978 which won the SFC were special guests at the
function. The players from that team were given a
standing ovation as they paraded in single file into
the function room. There was a special welcome for
the team manager Pat Oakes.
The MC for the night was Matt Fitzpatrick,
who introduced the players to the gathered attendance
of just under 200. There were apologies from Fred
McStay, Mickey Drummy, Seamus Lannon and Derek Fagan,
who were not present. Stephen Rice, who played at
left half back and now lives in Toronto, Canada, sent
a special e-mail which the MC read to the gathering.
Stephen recounted his days in Downpatrick and playing
football and hurling for Down at U-21 level. Stephen
is unique in that he is the only Canadian-born player
to win a Down SFC medal.
Sean O'Neill entertained the gathering with his musings
about Willie Walsh and his playing days on the Down
Paddy Doherty recalled his playing days against Downpatrick
teams. He remarked that unlike the RGU side of 1978,
he had not been able to win a championship medal and
was twice denied by Sean O'Neill.
Manager Pat Oakes recounted his playing days and later
his journey into management. He commended the players
for their dedication and their courage in overcoming
the odds to win the title.
It was not entirely a night for the men. The RGU lady
footballers were also guests. Sean O'Neill and Paddy
Doherty presented them with their IFC and IFL medals.
Club chairman Sean Fitzsimons made presentations to
the members of the 1978 winning team.
The internal club awards for the year also handed
The senior footballer was Danny Carville while reserve
footballer award went to Andrew Telford. David McLeod
received the young footballer award, Martin Robinson
the minor award and John McCauley the minor sportsman
The ladies too received their recognition. Louise
Kelly was the senior lady player, Kyla Trainor the
outstanding young lady and Lisa Perry the most improved
The clubman of the year was club secretary Joe O'Reilly,
who was widely acclaimed.
The Hall of Fame award went to Venney Blaney. Unfortunately
he was unable to be present due to illness but the
club officers will visit him during the week and hand
over the award.
The presentations concluded with Sean Fitzsimons honouring
long standing sponsor Willie Murphy with an RGU life