John O’Rourke – A Tribute

Cobh Ramblers FC express our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of our former captain, committee member and chairman John O’Rourke following his recent passing.

As a player he led from the back in the dutiful occupation of the centre-back position, on retirement he led from the front in the hazardous occupation as Chairman of Cobh Ramblers from 1987 to 1999.

One of a family of eight – six boys and two girls – his father, Derry, was an integral part of the history of Cobh Ramblers, it was indeed apt that the moulding of a successor to his father’s work had origins in the companionship they shared when attending games at St. Colman’s Park. John was about 10 when the ritual of a Sunday afternoon began. The Intermediate Cup S-F of 1958/59, a losing one to Albert Rovers on a 4-5 score line, captivated a slightly older John, that as a player he might not be able to imitate that certain magic that they seemed to possess, but that he could exhibit the same pride in donning the Claret & Blue jersey that they displayed.

John as Chairman with former Ramblers player Roy Keane

The birth of Springfield as a club had yet to take place, and at the behest of Mick “Harmer” Walsh and Pat “Ben” Higgins, both playing Junior soccer with Midleton, John O’Rourke in the company of Eddie Donovan and Deccie Murray enlisted to play Youths football with Midleton. The man in charge was Dinny Mulcahy, an uncle of Colman Mulcahy. It was inevitable
upon the foundation of Springfield that they would return, and with Moss Cummins at the helm as manager, and John as captain in the company of team mates such as Victor Casey, John Meade, Eddie Donovan, Alan McCormack, Tommy Stockdale, Paddy Murphy, Teddy Lambe and John Nash, that they would subscribe to the first ever trophy won under the auspicious of Springfield – the Shield.

Older players at Cobh Ramblers needed replacing and in line with that old adage; that if you were good enough, you were old enough, John O’Rourke at 17 was given his Cobh Ramblers debut at Flower Lodge against Albert Rovers in 1960. Michael O’Connor, Bertie O’Donoghue and Dermot Kilty were others to graduate. Cobh Ramblers were a club in transition and though the likes of Patsy Dorgan, Tony O’Brien, Charlie and Jimmy Mahony were handed the reins of management, it changed little, that was until Liam
McMahon retired from playing to concentrate fully in giving his time and talent to coaching. Overnight an Amateur club adopted a professional attitude and the reward was a first MSL title in 15 seasons in
1971/72, led by captain John O’Rourke.

John was the type of player you wanted alongside you going into battle, always epitomising the traditional centre-back values of strength, courage and determination. You fought for the jersey on your back and all that it represented. Old glories were now restored to Cobh Ramblers, but it was not in the winning or lifting of trophies that would subscribe for John
O’Rourke the greatest day in his playing time, but the once off FAI Cup victory over Drogheda in 1975. I know that is the day he would like to dedicate in his memory, a whole playing career rolled into one day, not least for the kiss planted on his cheek at the end of the game by Nicky Reilly and a lifetime of support dedicated to Cobh Ramblers. It was pure emotion and more.

Injury at first curtailed and ultimately forced John to retire in 1977. The vocation to Cobh Ramblers would continue and he first dabbled in management , and then on to committee level, and a decision reached that was probably at variance with the very ethos of the club and that of his father, who passed from this life in the same year that Cobh Ramblers joined the LOI ranks, that of 1985. Playing ambition gave way to personal ambition and John O’Rourke was installed as chairman of Cobh Ramblers in 1987. Two promotions punctuated his time in the hot seat and the constant pressure of trying to finance and balance such a project as LOI soccer. It was never easy. That is where the comfort of a good wife is hugely important, and the late Peggy was all that and more to John, with added support from a family of 5 boys and 2 girls, Angela and Claire. Niall, John, Brian and Ian, like their father all donned the Claret & Blue jersey, while Derry served on the management committee.

John, on joining Shelbourne, went on to win two FAI Cup winning medals, and on his premature retirement because of injury he was installed as manager of Cobh Ramblers. The torch of the O’Rourke family name and
attachment to Cobh Ramblers has in more recent times been carried by his grandsons Michael and Stuart O’Rourke. A more recent Hall of Fame recipient on behalf of Springfield, John O’Rourke was always good company, and his party piece and rendition of ‘My Way’ was always much anticipated and forever a highlight of any good social or club gathering.

Cobh Ramblers extend our deepest condolences to the immediate and extended O’Rourke family members, as we mourn and pass yet another Cobh Ramblers legend on to the playing fields of heaven.

Thank you to Michael Geasley for this tribute to our late friend.


  • CRFC Cookie Policy

CRFC Cookie Policy

At Cobh Ramblers Football Club we are committed to protecting the privacy of your personal details acting in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Please click here to read our updated Privacy Policy.


We would like to inform you about how our website handles your data in the form of cookies.

Cookies are small files that the website puts on your device to remember certain data during your visit on the website. Cookies make it possible for a website to recognize the preferences and behaviours of a user. Cookies allow us to remember your preferences. We also collect the behaviour of the website visitors so that we can analyze how we can best improve the website.

Some cookies are used to respond to your interests outside of our website(s). It is possible that when you have viewed a certain webpage you will see an advertisement on this website on another website. In the case of interest-based advertising, a cookie is used to identify the interests you have in order to show a more relevant advertisement to you.

At, we use following cookies:

Functional Cookies

These are cookies with which the visitor records their preferences. On the basis of this information we can show more relevant information to individual visitors. Examples of collected data are:

• Browser settings for an optimal view of our website on your screen.

• Your login details (if applicable) so that you do not have to enter them every time you view a webpage.

Analytical Cookies

With analytical cookies we collect statistics about the use of our website by the users. By measuring website usage, we can continue to improve our website for the benefit of our users. We use these cookies for:

• Tracking the number of visitors to our web site

• Measuring the duration per visit

• Measuring the order in which a visitor visits the various pages of our web site 

• Measuring from which page a visitor comes to our website 

• Measuring which browser a visitor uses

Through these measurements we are able to adapt our website to the wishes and interests of the visitor.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is used to see how website users use the website. More information:

Advertisement Cookies

This type of cookies is usually placed on our website by advertising networks, with the permission of Cobh Ramblers. These cookies are used, among other things, to show relevant advertisements (based on your surfing behaviour on our website) when you visit other websites

The following parties place cookies on our website:

Social Media

These cookies remember which pages you view. This allows us to show more relevant advertisements at a later time. Without these cookies, you may miss out on potentially personal offers.

Facebook privacy policy: 

Twitter privacy policy: 

Instagram privacy policy:

Browser settings

If you do not want websites to store cookies on your computer, adjust your browser settings. You will then receive a warning before cookies are placed. You can also adjust your settings so that your browser refuses all cookies or only cookies from third parties. You can delete cookies that have already been placed. Note that you must adjust the settings separately for each browser, device and computer you use.

We would like to draw your attention to the fact that if you do not want to use cookies, we unfortunately cannot guarantee that our website is working properly. It may be that some functions of the website are lost or that you cannot even see certain pages at all.

You can adjust your settings differs per browser. Consult the help function of your browser if necessary. If you want to turn off cookies from specific parties, you can do so via