2010 All Ireland Champions

2010 - A season of Glory!

The 2009/10 season proved to be one of unprecedented success for Fr Rocks. The Tyrone League and Championship were won in style before Cookstown embarked on a journey through Ulster and finally to Croke Park, for a Valentines date with destiny. Frrocks.com takes a look back at that unforgetable season.

Pixie steers Rocks through opening round.

Cookstown Fr Rocks 0-12 Strabane 0-8
A second half fight back saw Cookstown snatch a dramatic championship win over Strabane at Loughmacrory in the opening round. Fr Rocks started the game poorly and found themselves behind by 1-3 in the opening ten minutes. Gary Fitzpatrick settled the Cookstown nerves with a free kick against the strong wind. Two Brian Mulligan points from play were all that Cookstown had to show at half time, after a first half which was dominated by the Sigersons. The Rocks were behind on a scoreline of 1-7 to 0-3, although they would have the advantage of the strong breeze in the second period. Cookstown increased their intensity and work rate in the second half and this was personified by Ryan Pickering who produced a superb display during this period. Gary Fitzpatrick got the team off to the perfect start in the first minute from a dead ball, and with Conor Mullan starting to get on top at midfield, Cookstown looked more assured. Mullan fired over a terrific effort from all of forty yards in the fifth minute of the half. Further scores from Martin Murray and a superb effort from Barry Mulligan brought Cookstown back into the game. Two Owen Mulligan points one from a free kick brought Fr Rocks back to within a point, before Barry Hughes showed great composure to kick a forty five to level the game. With three minutes to go Cookstown appeared to have won the game, when the superb Conor Mullan kicked a great score from distance, Strabane however were not to be outdone and a free kick brought them level. In the final minute of normal time, some great support play saw the ball reach the hands of Ryan Pickering who showed great composure to kick a fantastic point to win the game. This was a mixed display from the Rocks who really only got going in the second half. There were some outstanding performances, particularly from Conor Mullan, Conor O'Hare and Ryan Pickering.
Donovan McGuckin, Conor O'Hare, Paddy Kelly, Paul McGurk, Gary Fitzpatrick (0-2), Barry Hughes (0-1), Marty Murray (0-1), Brian O'Neill and Conor Mullan (0-2), Ryan Pickering (0-1), Raymond Mulgrew, Brian Mulligan (0-2), Stephen Doyle, Jason Quinn, Owen Mulligan (0-2).

Substitutes: Stephen Monaghan for Paddy Kelly, Barry Mulligan (0-1) for Stehen Doyle, Niall Casey for Jason Quinn.

Mugsy Wondershow destroys Derrylaughan

Fr Rocks advanced to the semi finals of the Intermediate Championship with an impressive victory over Derrylaughan in thriller, at O'Neill Park Dungannon. Two committed teams served up a feast of football to match the glorious sunshine with Owen Mulligan showing his class with an exhibition of scoring power, as the Fr Rock's maintained their bid for a possible league and cup double. Mulligan hit 1-7 in a man of the match performance with other contributions coming from Conor Mullan, Barry Hughes and Shea McGarrity as the Rocks dug deep to see off a stubborn Loughshore challenge. Derrylaughan made a sensational start to the game with Gerard McAliskey bulging the Cookstown net after only 38 seconds, when namesake Fergal broke a Gervin delivery down into his path. Mulligan responded with a gem from play, but it was the Barry's, who forced the issue with Liam Gervin, Eamon Brady and Martin McStravog in particular driving their colleagues forward with purpose. However, a succession of wides diminished their enterprising play with Gerard McAliskey blazing a glorious goal scoring chance wide before they extended their lead on 12 minutes, when a Fergal McAliskey effort bounced over the bar.
Cookstown were struggling with Derrylaughan's direct approach, but as the wides mounted Cookstown through the efforts of Conor O'Hare, Chris Eastwood and Mulligan gradually started to flex their muscles with Paddy Kelly powering through to point. Ciaran Gervin thumped over a sublime effort with Kevin Coary fisting over on 16 minutes, but that was to be their final score of the half as Fr Rocks found their stride with some excellent passages of football. Eastwood and Mullan raised their confidence with successive points and, as Derrylaughan struggled to contain the roving Mulligan, he fired over to leave a single point between the teams after 24 minutes, 1-3 to 0-5. Three minutes later and Mulligan againshowed his class, when selling the Derrylaughan defence two dummies before unleashing a stunning shot to the net for a lead they never relinquished. In stoppage time Barry's goalkeeper Brian McCann tipped a rasping Barry Mulligan effort over the bar for a 1-6 to 1-3 score line.Derrylaughan regrouped at the interval and two quick fire points from Fergal McAliskey and Gervin signalled the start of a blistering third quarter in which both teams emptied the tanks. Cookstown responded in emphatic fashion on 33 minutes; when Eastwood threaded the ball through to Jason Quinn, who brought a good save from the Derrylaughan keeper with an alert Conor Mullan on hand to fire home the rebound. Liam Gervin drilled over a beauty from play only to bring two equally impressive strikes from Mulligan for a 2-8 to 1-6 score line, but any hopes Cookstown held of easing over the line were crushed in no uncertain terms on 39 minutes, when Ciaran O'Hagan sent Gervin hurtling through the middle before Fergal McAliskey supplied the finish.From the kick out Liam Gervin galloped through to point for a one-point game, but just when Cookstown were showing signs of the pressure Mulligan took the game by the scruff of the neck. Mulligan teed up substitute Brian O'Neill for a point and, even though Derrylaughan replied through another McAliskey point, they never looked like regaining control. Mulligan curled over an audacious point on 47 minutes and after he tagged on a free substitute Brian Mulligan pointed to move the Rocks four points clear. Another Mulligan effort from the sideline sent the crowd wild with delight and, while Derrylaughan kept battling to the end with points from Gervin and McStravog it was Cookstown, who deservedly took their place in the hat for the semi finals.

D McGuckin, B Kelly, S Monaghan, C O'Hare, S McGarrity, B Hughes, G Fitzpatrick, P Kelly (0-1), C Mullan (1-2), R Mulgrew, B Mulligan (0-1), C Eastwood (0-1), J Quinn, O Mulligan (1-7, 3 frees), M Murray ; subs B O'Neill (0-1), Brian Mulligan (0-1), R Pickering, J Gilmore, D Casey.

Team Display puts Rocks in Final

Fr Rocks went one step closer to securing an historic double when they defeated Greencastle to earn a place in the Tyrone Intermediate final. The game was played in front of a large crowd at Plunkett Park, Pomeroy, and it was a determined Greencastle side which started the better. Fr Rocks found themselves trailing by four points after ten minutes despite playing with a strong breeze at their backs, and despite creating a number of opportunities did not get off the mark until the eighteenth minute of the game, with a Martin Murray free breaking the deadlock. Two scores from Owen Mulligan both from play were all that Fr Rocks could muster and left the scoreline evenly balanced at half time, with Greencastle leading 0-4 to 0-3. Cookstown had found the packed Greencastle defence difficult to unlock in the first half. However the Rocks defence had managed to shut the door on the marauding Greencastle attacks, restricting them to no scores for almost a forty minute period. In the second half the Fr Rocks pressure began to open the Greencastle rearguard. Martin Murray made no mistake from close range after three minutes and a brilliant solo effort from Christopher Eastwood and another Murray free edged them further ahead. The turning point in the game arrived in the thirty ninth minute, when Stephen Monaghan displayed all the composure of a corner forward to round the keeper and coolly slot home a decisive goal. Seconds later and the game was finished as a contest as Barry Mulligan collected a poor kick out and after a brilliant solo run coolly slotted home another goal at the second attempt. A Greencastle free was the only response and that was followed quickly by another great effort from the impressive Barry Mulligan. Greencastle did reply with a point from play but it was too little to late. It was Fr Rocks captain Barry Hughes who had the final say when he converted a brilliant 45 to seal the clubs place in next weekends final. This was another great all round team performance particularly in the second half. Fr Rocks did have some outstanding performers, Barry Hughes showed great leadership throughout, Conor Mullan was again immense in midfield and Barry Mulligan pulled the strings which created an impressive Fr Rocks victory. The team took the field as follows; M Rea, R Pickering, S Monaghan (1-0), P McGurk, S McGarrity, B Hughes (0-1), C O?Hare, G Fitzpatrick, C Mullan, R Mulgrew, B Mulligan 1-1, Brian Mulligan, C Eastwood (0-1), O Mulligan (0-2), M Murray (0-3). Subs: M O?Connor, J Quinn, B O?Neill, P Kelly.

Fr Rocks defeat Gortin to win County Title.

Fr Rocks seniors completed an historic double at Healy. Cookstown defeated Gortin on a scoreline of 2-07 to 1-6 to secure the Paddy Cullen Cup, a crown which they first won in 1962. This completed a superb year for the Rocks who now embark on their first Ulster Club campaign with two trophies secured. Fr Rocks started the game as hot favourites, but found it difficult to settle in the opening minutes. The Rocks had Ryan Pickering to thank for some brilliant defending during this period. A moment of sheer class arrived in the sixth minute of the game, a great pass from Martin Murray found Owen Mulligan who turned inside the Gortin defender and fired an unstoppable shot to the roof of the net. This was the start which Cookstown craved, however they failed to build on it, and did not score for a further ten minutes. It was during this period that Gortin gained the upper hand and scored 1-1 to leave them in the lead. Conor O?Hare stopped the rot on fifteen minutes and a well taken free from Martin Murray put Cookstown into the lead. Gortin did respond with a Kevin Mossey point, however the major turning point in the game came seconds before half time. A high ball into Raymond Mulgrew caused havoc in the Gortin defence, who fouled inside the box to give away a penalty, Barry Hughes stepped up to take the spotkick and displayed great composure to fire to the back of the net. This gave Cookstown a lead at halftime of 2-2 to 1-2. The Rocks started the second period in much more determined mood. They signalled their intent in the first few minutes when Christopher Eastwood fired over a great effort from play, this was followed a minute later when Owen Mulligan sent over a great effort off the outside of his boot. The Rocks appeared to be in control of the game at this stage, however Gortin once again fought back and with ten minutes to go were still in the mix with Fr Rocks lead reduced to three. Further scores from Conor Mullan and brilliant long range effort from Barry Mulligan seemed to end the contest, but the dismissal of Conor Mullan late in the game left the last few minutes uncomfortable. Fr Rocks held possession well and held on to secure a brilliant victory to end a superb season. This was another great all round performance from the team. The young guns Shea McGarrity and Ryan Pickering were brilliant, the old hands Stephen Monaghan and Paul McGurk did a great job in defence and Martin Murray was superb throughout. The focus now switches to the Ulster Club campaign and the team will hope to write another chapter of glory in the 2009 season. The Fr Rocks team took the field as follows; M Rea, R Pickering, S Monaghan, P McGurk, S McGarrity, B Hughes (1-0), C O?Hare (0-1), G Fitzpatrick, C Mullan (0-1), R Mulgrew, B Mulligan (0-1), Brian Mulligan, C Eastwood (0-1), O Mulligan (1-2, 1 free), M Murray (0-1, free). Subs; J Quinn for C Eastwood, B O?Neill for G Fitzpatrick

Rocks defeat Ballymartin to march on in Ulster

Fr Rocks progressed to the Ulster Intermediate Semi Final, following a hard earned victory over Down champions Ballymartin, at Pairc Esler on Sunday. This was Fr Rocks first game in four weeks and they displayed some ring rust in the opening minutes, with a lethargic start which saw them trail by three points with five on the clock. It was Brian Mulligan who broke the deadlock in the eight minute with a well taken score. The sides were level minutes later after an Owen Mulligan free was followed by a great individual effort from Conor O?Hare. Ballymartin responded straight away with two well worked scores from their full forward to leave them in command. In the sixteenth minute a high ball into the Ballymartin defence was well collected by Raymond Mulgrew, who fed the ball to the onrushing Brian Mulligan, a great dummy opened the defence and Brian found the back of the net, with a brilliant finish to leave the Rocks a point ahead. An Owen Mulligan free a minute later extended a lead which Cookstown would hold for the rest of the game. Fr Rocks wasted a number of opportunities to stretch further ahead just before half time, but took the field with renewed vigour in the second half, however it was Ballymartin who closed the gap, with a converted 45 after three minutes. Fr Rocks did begin to play some good football and a free kick from Owen Mulligan and another excellent Brian Mulligan score restored the lead to three points, however Ballymartin again showed great resilience and replied with two scores to leave just a point between the teams with ten minutes to go. The dismissal of Gary Fitzpatrick for a second yellow appeared to turn the contest in favour of the Down men, but the Fr Rocks players rose to the challenge and produced a devastating spell of attacking football. It was kick started in the twentieth minute of the half, when the marauding Conor O?Hare, charged forward to latch onto a breaking ball and fired a brilliant effort to the back of the Ballymartin net, seconds later substitute John Gilmore showed great composure to split the posts and a brilliant effort from Barry Mulligan left the Down men stunned, with the Rocks kicking 1-2 in a magnificent three minute spell, which effectively ended the game. Ballymartin had no answer and it was left to Christopher Eastwood to finish the scoring from a free kick in the thirtieth minute. The final scoreline finished 2-9 to 0-8 in favour of the Rocks, who now face Monaghan Harps in the semi final next Sunday. This was another excellent team performance, there were also outstanding individual displays from Shea McGarrity and Barry Hughes in defence and Jason Quinn and Brian Mulligan in attack. The Fr Rocks team lined out as follows; M Rea, R Pickering, S Monaghan, P McGurk, S McGarrity, B Hughes, C O?Hare (1-1), G Fitzpatrick, R Mulgrew, J Quinn, B Mulligan (0-1), Brian Mulligan (1-2), C Eastwood (0-1), O Mulligan (0-3, 3 frees), M Murray. Subs: Philip Kelly, J Gilmore (0-1), B O?Neill, Paddy Kelly, K Devlin.

Groovy Destroys the Harps

Fr Rocks reached the Ulster Final following a hard fought victory over Monaghan Harps on Sunday past. Cookstown started the game brightly and it was Martin Murray who opened the scoring in the fourth minute of the game with a great score from play. Jason Quinn extended the lead a minute later and Fr Rocks went on to dominate the half. There were great points from Barry Mulligan, Christopher Eastwood and Martin Murray, but the score of the half came from the boot Barry Mulligan who displayed great composure to coolly lob the goalkeeper following a poor clearance. This left the rocks in a dominant position at half time, leading on a 1-6 to 0-3 scoreline. Monaghan Harps opened the second half with a Blitzkrieg of scores. In the opening twelve minutes they kicked 1-4 without reply and opened a one point lead. Fr Rocks were forced to dig deep and they displayed great resilience to stem the Monaghan tide. A Raymond Mulgrew point after fifteen minutes brough the sides level and two scores from Owen Mulligan, kept the Rocks in the game. Just like last week Cookstown played their best football in the final minutes, with the game still in the melting pot. Another brilliant point from Barry Mulligan put them into a lead with just a minute left, seconds later a foul in the box led to a penalty from which Barry Hughes opted to take a point and secure another great victory. The final scoreline finished 1-11 to 1-9 This was a good team performance with everyone working hard. There were good performances from Martin Murray and Shea McGarrity, but the stand out performance came from Barry Mulligan who was immense throughout, showing great leadership and kicking 1-3 in a brilliant display.

M Rea, R Pickering, S Monaghan, P McGurk, S McGarrity, B Hughes (0-1), C O?Hare, R Mulgrew (0-1), G Fitzpatrick, Brian Mulligan, Barry Mulligan (1-3), J Quinn (0-1), C Eastwood (0-1), O Mulligan (0-2), M Murray (0-2); subs; Philip Kelly, Paddy Kelly, C Mullan, B O?Neill.

Kings of Ulster!

Cookstown 0-9 Lavey 1-4

Fr Rocks secured their place in the history books on sunday past when they defeated a stubborn Lavey side to become Ulster Intermediate champions. This was Fr Rocks first ever Ulster title and they had to win it the hard way with a determined display. The game started at breakneck pace and it was Owen Mulligan who opened the scoring after two minutes with an excellent effort from thirty five yards. A minute later and Mulligan displayed all his experience to convert a close range free and settle the Fr Rocks nerves. Lavey did respond with a pointed free a minute later, but there- after it was Fr Rocks who took control of the game. This dominance was achieved by a fantastic defensive effort, led by captain Barry Hughes and matched by brilliant individual efforts from Conor O'Hare, Paul McGurk, Stephen Monaghan and Ryan Pickering. For the next twenty minutes they continually thwarted the Lavey attack and kept them scoreless. In between times the Rocks had built up a four point lead following well taken scores from play from Jason Quinn, Owen Mulligan and Christopher Eastwood. They also had gained a man advantage when Lavey were reduced to fourteen men as a result of some cynical play. With just two minutes to go until the break Lavey broke the deadlock and seconds later luck appeared to be against the Rocks as a long range effort crashed off the post, and fell to the Lavey full forward, his shot was blocked by Ryan Pickering and the referee deemed it a penalty, which the Cavan men converted. This left the game level at half time on a scoreline of 0-5 to 1-2. Cookstown had lost their dominant lead in the final minutes of the half. Shooting into a strong breeze in the second half did not deter the men in blue, who started in resurgent form with a well worked score from Christopher Eastwood in the third minute. The game became a war of attrition there after, with both sides cancelling each other out in defence. An Owen Mulligan score from play in the thirteenth minute restored the Cookstown lead, however Lavey equalised to leave the game in the melting pot entering the last ten minutes. Once again Fr Rocks increased their intensity in the dying minutes of the game, and with an extra man advantage began to open the Lavey defence. A brilliant effort from Raymond Mulgrew put them in the lead with five to go and a superb finish from Martin Murray sealed the game, and gave Fr Rocks victory on a scoreline of 0-9 to 1-4. This was the ultimate team performance, every player put themselves on the line in what was often a bruising encounter. There were great individual displays from Owen Mulligan, Ryan Pickering, Barry Hughes and Stephen Monaghan, but it was Fr Rocks spirit that won the day and ensured that the Ulster crown would remain in Tyrone for the third year running. Well done to all players and management on a brilliant victory.

Referee: R O'Donnell (Donegal).

The Fr Rocks team that made history was as follows. M Rea, R Pickering, S Monaghan, P McGurk, S McGarrity, B Hughes, C O'Hare, G Fitzpatrick, R Mulgrew (0-1), J Quinn (0-1), C Mullan, Brian Mulligan, C Eastwood (0-2), O Mulligan (0-4, 3 frees), M Murray (0-1). Subs: Barry Mulligan, John Gilmore, Brian O'Neill, Philip Kelly.

Cookstown defeat Naomh Anna to reach Croker

A stunning display of attacking football saw Fr Rocks secure their place in the history books, at a foggy Pearse Park Longford on Sunday. The prize at stake was an All Ireland Final and a Croke Park appearance and it was the Rocks who began at breakneck pace. Some excellent link up play saw Christopher Eastwood open the scoring with just twenty seconds on the clock. Cookstown would not relinquish their lead for the remainder of the game. The Galway champions did equalise in the tenth minute but Owen Mulligan began to influence the game thereafter. Indeed three breathtaking Mulligan points from play in a devastating five minute period left the Rocks in control. Naomh Anna hit back with two pointed frees, before a brilliant solo run from Barry Mulligan opened the tribesmen defence and he split the posts from twenty yards. A brilliant long range point from Christopher Eastwood extended the lead further and two further scores from Conor Mullan and Eastwood, left the Rocks in control at half time on a scoreline of 0-8 to 0-4. Fr Rocks began the second half in determined mood and after five minutes the marauding Conor Mullan fired over another superb effort from play. Fr Rocks went on to dominate the next fifteen minutes and a great goal from Barry Mulligan was followed by points from Owen Mulligan and Conor Mullan. With just ten minutes remaining on the clock it appeared that Fr Rocks had ended the contest with a nine point lead and complete dominance of possession. However the Galway men began to fight back and a goal with eight minutes to go brought them right back into the contest, three further points from frees left just a goal between the teams. Cookstown however displayed great resilience in defence and the introduction of John Gilmore as a substitute offered Fr Rocks more impetus in attack. Indeed it was Gilmore who was to have the final say, when he collected a high ball and left his marker in his wake as he crashed home a priceless goal. This was a simply awesome team performance from the Rocks, every player gave their all, there were superb individual performances all over the pitch, but it was the collective team ethos that ensured that Fr Rocks would book a date at head quarters on Valentines Day. Well done to everyone involved in what was a great day for the club. M Rea, Philip Kelly, S Monaghan, P McGurk, S McGarrity, B Hughes, C O'Hare, G Fitzpatrick, C Mullan (0-3), R Mulgrew, Barry Mulligan (1-1), Brian Mulligan, C Eastwood (0-3), O Mulligan (0-4), M Murray. Subs: Brian Kelly, B O'Neill, J Gilmore (1-0), J Quinn.

All Ireland Champions!!

Fr Rocks colours flew triumphantly in the Croke Park shadows on Sunday evening. At last, like Sam Maguire, the Intermediate championship came home to Tyrone. Fr Rocks are the new champions and worthy ones at that, having beaten Spa of Kerry on a scoreline on 1-7 to 0-8 in a remarkable match; by sheer determination when all seemed stacked against them and defeat stared them straight in the eye. There is no individual hero, Raymond Mulgrew won man of the match, but this was a collective effort. Every man gave his all and in some cases more. The Rocks got off to a nervous start in the Croke Park amphitheatre. It was the men from the Kingdom who showed their early pedigree; with ten minutes gone on the clock the day seemed ominous. Cookstowm trailed by three but began to claw their way back into the contest. It was the impressive Conor Mullan who opened the scoring, dissecting the posts from all of thirty yards to settle the early jitters. Thereafter, Cookstown took control, with Paul McGurk the free man in defence; Spa could not find a way through the Cookstown rearguard. Fr Rocks won endless turnovers of possession, with Brain Mulligan the breaking ball specialist. Further scores from Christopher Eastwood and Conor Mullan left the scores level at the half way point of the first half. The Rocks were dominant in possession, but struggled to translate this dominance into scores, however they did take the lead on twenty five minutes when Brian Mulligan whistled over the bar from the deck, after a brilliant pass from Owen Mulligan. The Kerrymen however were not to be outdone as they mounted a late comeback and stole the lead at halftime on a scoreline of 0-5 to 0-4. It was Spa who extended the lead early in the second period and questions began to be asked of Fr Rocks. Cookstown took the fight to Spa for the remainder of the game. Owen Mulligan fired over a superb effort in the 40th minutes having been fed by Mulgrew to reduce the deficit; however a rare Spa attack stretched their lead following a score by the talented Niall O' Mahoney. The key moment of the game arrived in the 51st minute as a Brian Mulligan high ball caused havoc in the Spa defence, Raymond Mulgrew got a fist to the ball and the Spa keeper fouled to concede a penalty. Up stepped captain fantastic Barry Hughes who showed all the composure in the world to convert a brilliant penalty, and give the Rocks a lead of 1-6 to 0-7. It was a lead they would hold until the end, Spa reduced it to just one point and missed a brace of close range frees to offer the Rocks a lifeline. It was left to Owen Mulligan to seal an end to a brilliant season as he converted a 40 yard free to seal the victory. The Hogan stand shook to its foundations as captain Barry Hughes climbed the steps to collect the cup. For Fr Rocks supporters, players, committee members and exiled gaels across the globe, it really was 'a great hour to live'.

Martin Rea, Philip Kelly, Stephen Monaghan, Paul McGurk, Shea McGarrity, Barry Hughes (1-0), Conor O'Hare, Gary Fitzpatrick, Raymond Mulgrew, Conor Mullan (0-2), Barry Mulligan, Brian Mulligan (0-1), Christopher Eastwod (0-1), Owen Mulligan (0-2, 1free), Martin Murray (0-1). Subs: John Gilmore, Ryan Pickering, Brain O'Neill and Jason Quinn.