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First ever Club Secretary makes an emotional return to Eoghan Rua GAC

Brian Kneeland (centre), the first ever secretary of Eoghan Rua Gaelic Club receives a gift from Brendan McLernon (chairman) and Kevin Mullan (Secretary).

Brian Kneeland (centre), the first ever secretary of Eoghan Rua Gaelic Club receives a gift from Brendan McLernon (chairman) and Kevin Mullan (Secretary).

Eoghan Rua Coleraine welcomed a special guest to their facility at Pairc Eoghain Rua on Sunday, none other than the first club secretary from 1958, Brian Kneeland.

Brian has been living in Dublin for over 30 years and his trips home to Coleraine have been curtailed for health reasons.

However to celebrate his 80th birthday Brian took the opportunity to visit the club facility at Pairc Eoghain Rua. He was suitably impressed with what he saw as he was shown around the ‘home’ grounds by current club chairman Brendan McLernon.  

The committee elected in December 1957 became the first committee of Owen Roe, Coleraine and the football team played for the first time in the 1958 season. Brian, was the newly elected and first secretary of Owen Roe; he was at that time a Law Clerk in the Coleraine firm of Daniel McLaughlin & Co. He brought to his duties as Secretary the same meticulous attention to detail that was so much a part of his working life.

Indeed when the current committee decided to tell the story of the club from its foundations fining information from over 50 years ago was thought to be a challenge. Not so. When the word got out that information was needed a call went out and in an attic in Dublin there was a real treasure trove of material carefully stored away – it was Brain Kneeland’s records of his time as Owen Roe secretary.

Brian’s meticulous record keeping of committee meetings, correspondence and club affairs was readily made available and it proved to be a hugely valuable resource for the compilation of the early affairs of Owen Roe in their book ‘And Some Fell On Stony Ground’. Indeed such was the sheer volume and detail of the papers Brian had so carefully maintained that there is a very good story to tell of that early era in Owen Roe’s history of itself never mind the last 50 years or so.

The club’s chairman presented a copy of the book to Brian. He thanked the club and in a wonderful speech recalled a some stories from the early years with great clarity and good humour.

 

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