Our collective Rockie hearts are sombre this week with the passing of one of our princes, the incomparable Dee Butcher. Green & White by birth, his Limerick blood was transfused with that of the Black & Amber, resulting in a faithful servant that anyone who knew him will never forget. Dee’s unfailing generosity, unquenchable good humour, undying support and encouragement for all matters Stacks were the hallmarks of a true giant who had a profound positive impact on us all.
Dee left Croom and walked into our Rockie wonderland in 1973, enhancing the worth of our great club ever since. Astutely steered to the Street of Champions by his Athlacca neighbour, our own Brian Neenan, his love for us knew no bounds. Whether being at the supporting heart of our minor hurling county championship success in 1986 and senior teams thereafter, or smiling broadly under his Black & Amber festooned sombrero on our 2014 Championship winning voyage, Dee was always happiest among his Austin Stacks family. As he noted in his Stacks 100 podcast, he was happiest “enjoying the craic in the fields in Connolly Park – all the friends you had – all the friends you made”.
When GAA sponsorship was in its infancy across the whole association, Dee stepped forward to support his beloved club. Senior, Juvenile, All Ireland 7’s and many more “hand me down” generations all lived out their Rockie dreams in jerseys provided by the giant from Croom. And his generosity went well beyond the ‘Dee Butcher’ logo with many contributions made behind the scenes down through the years, be it for team meals in the Imperial, ensuring the club’s summer camps were well provided for and always supporting the club’s projects, big or small.
But of course, his greatest Rockie role was as a proud father when sons Fergal and David helped power the club’s minor hurlers to that historic 1986 success on a magical Killarney afternoon. And more recently as a doting grandfather watching Sarah Hoare come through the ranks with Stacks Ladies teams.
In later years as his health declined, his love for the club remained undiminished. Driven by his great friend and neighbour Noel O’Connell (who endured many a barb from Dee about Tipperary hurling!) or by his daughter Anne, Dee attended whenever he could, smiling, cajoling and unceasingly encouraging our youth. To see himself at a game lifted many a Rockie heart – just as it had done on every single occasion since he joined our Rockie clan many years ago.
To the O’Regan family, we extend our sincere condolences and thank you for sharing Dad with us. He laughed with us, cried with us, cheered for us, paid for us, drank with us, sang with us, dressed up with us, cared for us. Dee, auld stock, you will forever be one of us.
Lee Strand Tournament: The 36th edition of Austin Stack’s prestigious Lee Strand U14 Invitational tournament saw 12 teams – 5 Kerry sides and 7 from around the country –providetremendous footballing entertainment for the large crowd thatattended in Connolly Park on Saturday. Despite the inclement weather, the footballing action was of a high standard throughout the day, the tone being set in the home side’s win over the defending champions Clontarf in the tournament opener, and it continued all the way through to the finals. The group-stage winners progressed to the Cup semi-finals which saw a great town derby between a very talented Na Gaeil side and a strong Austin Stacks team, with the Killeen boys breaking Rockie hearts by prevailing on a scoreline of 5 points to 0-2 to reach their first ever Cup final.
The Billy Breen Shield final was the match of the day with Cork side NaPiarsaighrepelling a lateSalthil-Knocknacarra onslaught to hold out on ascorelineof 3-3 to 2-3.NaPiarsaighlost their opening group game to NaGaeil, but went undefeated for the rest of the day with wins againstStradbally and Clontarf on route to the Shield decider.
In the Abie Allen Plate section for the group-stage 3rd placed sides,Stradballydominated their semi-final tieagainst Ennistymonfrom Clare to go on to meet AnGhaeltacht, who beat a combinedKerinsO’Rahilly’s/St Pats outfit on their path to the final. And it was the boys fromCiarraíThiar captained by Micheál O’Sé who won out over the Waterford men to take home the Plate, and take their place on the Lee Strand tournament honours list alongside the famed 1988 AnGhaeltachtside whose cup-winning midfield 35 years ago comprised of the two Dara’s – O’SeandO’Cinnéide.
Mike Lynch and all on the tournament organising committee would like to thank the competingclubs,the many Rockie volunteers who helped make the tournament such a special occasion and of course our very loyal & generous sponsors Lee Strand, who have supported our great tournament since the inaugural edition way back in 1986.
CLUB LOTTO:This week’s (25th September) Jackpot worth €4,850 was not won. The numbers drawn were 9, 12, 13,15. The €20 winners were Anne O’Connell c/o online, Ann Pullen c/o online,Donal Corcoran c/o The Club, Brian Horgan c/o The Club, Ursula Griffin c/o Kevin Barry,s
Next week’s Jackpot will be worth €4,900.
Continued thanks to the following businesses for selling our Lotto tickets on a weekly basis – Kevin Barry’s Shop, Commanes Bookshop (PC Books), O’Flynns Interiors, Hussey’s, Princes St., The Burger Shack, Monavalley and Kirby’s Brogue Inn. And continued thanks to everyone who purchase tickets week-in week-out.
Sympathy:Sincere Sympathy is offered to the families of the following who died recently.