O’Donovan Rossa G.A.C. Magherafelt, came into being at a meeting on the 15th April 1934 in a house on Church Street. The founding members were Pat McFlynn, Pat Keenan, Gerry Gallagher, Paddy Collins, John Walls, John Kearns and Charlie McFlynn.
Pat McFlynn proposed the name of O’Donovan Rossa having recently read Patrick Pearse’s speech and the name was accepted by the others. So was born the great club we have today. The club colours were also selected – Red in the Jerseys and white in the shorts.
The first pitch was at Bellvue Park and then Millbrook Park at the corner of the Pound Road and the Castledawson Road. In 1940 there was a move back to Bellvue Park before moving to The County Grounds in 1941 which were purchased for £500 from Miss Margaret Keenan of Aughagaskin. Most of the money was raised locally but the amount was thought to be too big so the South Derry Board took over.
The club has produced numerous County stars at all levels and now has a youth programme the envy of many clubs, so hopefully our club will produce many more stars in the future.
And now we start a new era in the history of the club as we embark on an ambitious expansion plan to secure the future of O’Donovan Rossa Magherafelt, for generations to come.
Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa was born on September 15th 1831 and after numerous times in jail, he was exiled to America in 1871. He was allowed to visit Ireland twice in 1894 and 1904. On his last visit he was made a freeman of Cork city.
He died aged 84 in a hospital in Staten Island, and his body was returned to Ireland for burial which was his wish. Large crowds attended the funeral and a graveside oration was given by Padraig Pearse. This speech became one of his most famous in which he referred to Rossa as that “unconquered and unconquerable man” and was the reason our club took the name O’Donovan Rossa.
There is a memorial to O’Donovan Rossa in St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin, and a bridge over the river Liffey was renamed in his honour. His descendants still live in Staten Island including a local Politician Jerome X. O’Donovan, who served on the New York City Council.