Conor Dwyer (class of 1962) was prompted to write, from his home near Brisbane, with some memories of our days at the ROW, when he learned of the passing of our old friend Eamonn O’Malley RIP.
Conor hailed from the Shelbourne Road/South Lotts Road area and, like many lads at the ROW, was a keen soccer player. He played with Home Farm and his talents were recognised at an early age as he was capped for Ireland against England at under 16 level.
Conor remembers the late Eamonn and Tony Rowe very well. Tony and Pat Canavan were also keen soccer players and, of course, in those times they played on the school Gaelic Football team as well. He recalls one incident very clearly. In September 1958 Bro. Hickey called Gaelic training on a Saturday which corresponded to the start of the Soccer schoolboys under 14 season. Conor was picked to play for Home Farm. Tony and Pat were both picked to play for Bolton Athletic in Ringsend. Unbeknown to each other the lads decided to line out with their Soccer clubs as the Gaelic was only a training spin.
The next Monday at 12 noon, Hickey called the three lads up to the top of the class and informed them that Bro. Moynihan required their presence in the science room immediately. The lads, sheepishly, presented themselves before “Billy” who stood in typical pose, with hands in cummerbund, asking why they had not shown up for Gaelic training. The boys explained their positions and were told that, if they ever missed training again, they would be expelled from the school.
Another “football” incident recalled by Conor, occurred in a Gaelic match against Drimnagh Castle at Island Bridge. The Brothers in charge were Treacy, the American and a young Collins. We won the match but a highlight was when Pat Canavan secured victory with a goal which he coolly headed to the net. All hell broke loose for the wrong reason; not joy at winning but anger at the manner of scoring the goal. The charge was led by Treacy, who had a reputation for toughness, but the boys stood their ground and demanded to see where, in the rules of Gaelic Football, did it state that a goal could not be scored by the ball being struck by the head of the scorer. The authorities were stumped but, of course, the mutterings about the “influence of foreign games” lingered for a time.
After Leaving Cert, Conor joined Irish National Insurance company. He later emigrated to England and from there he went to Australia where he worked for Sun Alliance and Stenhouse Insurance Brokers. He later opened his own brokerage based on the Gold Coast. Conor retired from the Insurance Industry in 2006 and lived, with his wife Marlene, in Robina on the Gold Coast. Conor and Marlene were great hosts when my wife, Teresa and myself visited them in Robina in 2014. Conor gave us a tour of Brisbane and introduced us to some of his Irish friends there. We were there on a St. Patrick’s weekend and the craic was at least as good as that which we enjoy at home. There was only one difference; the weather was lovely and we were able to watch the parade in tee shirts and shorts.
Conor and Marlene recently downsized to a Retirement Living Apartment north of Brisbane. The complex is near Moreton Bay. Conor sent a couple of photos taken from his balcony just to make us all jealous as we shiver in our winter weather. However, we have to say that it looks great and we wish Conor and Marlene long life and health in their new abode.
Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment on the above or if memories of schooldays are stirred by the blog.
If any of our readers are away from Ireland and would like to contribute any “Home Thoughts” we would be delighted to hear from you. You can email Jim Conway, at firstname.lastname@example.org.