The club’s AGM took place on Monday, 4th December @ 7:30pm. There were in depth discussions on Football, Social and the Drumsesk development. Office holders in the main were returned as before but there were a few small changes to the executive positions as noted below:
CLUB MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE 2019/2020
Joint Presidents: Francis Farrell and Pasty Cunningham
Vice President: Fr. Brendan Kearns
Chairman: Ciaran Sloan
Secretary: Richard Reynolds
Fixtures Secretary: Ciaran Sloan
Treasurer: Jarlath Farrell
Assistant Treasurer: Jonathan Connolly
Public Relations Officer: Richard Byrne
Cultural Officer: PJ Farrell
Registrar: Evan Connolly
False starts were a feature of the early decades of this prosperous club’s existence. The first was in 1919 when the club was initially launched by Rev. E. McConville, Dan Rooney and Vincent McGlew. But despite early success the fledgling club succumbed to the trouble times and went out of existence again in 1926. The torch was passed to the eastern end of the parish with a team from Killowen competing and winning the Houston Cup in the late Twenties, and it wasn’t until 1931 that the club was reformed in the village itself. Again it proved short-lived, disbanding for most of the war year before Jack Hanna revived it in its present form. County Chairman George Tinnelly, himself a Rostrevor man, had the honour of presenting the clubs first trophy of the modern era, the Frontier Junior League title of 1945.
The Fifties were a period of consolidation, with Rostrevor reaching its first S.F.C. final in 1959, but the Sixties were momentous, they won first Division status in 1967 (which they retained for over 20 years) and furnished three players, Mickey Cole, Hilary MeGrath and Mickey Daly to the 1968 Down All-Ireland panel.
They built on that success in the Seventies. The championship dream finally came true in 1976, the same year that the club purchased premises for a social club development that has grown to be one of the most progressive in the county.
The Eighties saw this development continue, but the real feature of this decade was the fruition of a juvenile development policy which brought the club championship titles at U-12, U-14 and U-16 grades.
Hurling, camogie and handball also flourished in St. Bronagh’s and the club has made a significant contribution to the county off the field also. It has given Down three County Chairmen, George Tinnelly, Sean Fearon and Tony Williamson, it has registered numerous success in Scor, and has been successful in the A.I.B. Club of the Year schemes.
1998 was a momentous year when the Down S.F.C. was again won.
Floodlights were installed in Pettit Park in the late 80’s and the club developed new changing facilities in 1998. Noteworthy players to have worn the Rostrevor jersey include Liam Austin (an All-Star in 1981), Damien Morgan, Aidan Farrell and Pete McGrath. Neil Caulfield, Martin MeGivern and John Markey helped Down to win the 1987 All-Ireland M.F.C. title under the managership of Pete MeGrath who went on to mange the All-Ireland winning teams of the Nineties.
More recently, the club was defeated in the senior championship final by Mayobridge in 2002, but won the Down Minor Championship in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 and most recently in 2013. and again in 2015. With the Ulster Minor championship being annexed in 2004, and an unprecedented level of success has been achieved at all underage levels. Indeed, the club provided a magnificent 7 players to the All Ireland winning Down Minor team of 2005 in Gary Magee, Colm Murney, Eamon McConville, Gerard McCartan, Conor Mackin, Colm Clerkin and Patrick Mooney.
In 2005 this bore fruit with the first ever Down Senior Division 1 title being won but no titles have been won since then.
Ladies football has been built up within the club since the earlier years of the 2000’s and a ladies junior team was formed in 2007 where they went on to win the league and champiosnhip double in their first year. In 2008, the Intermediate League was won and 2009 has seen the club stay in the Down Ladies senior league in only their third year in existence.
Canon Joseph Pettit – Former Club Chairman and remembered in the name of Rostrevor GAA’s home ground, Pettit Park.
The official opening of the new GAA park was made by the President of the Association, Hugh Byrne. The Rostrevor INF Band led the Down and Dublin teams in a pre-match parade, after the grounds had been blessed by Monsignor Timothy Boyle, assisted by the chairman of the club, Canon Joseph Pettit, after whom the park was later named.
“The realisation of a dream,” was how the GAA President described that historic occasion, praising the “first-class pitch, as well as the initiative and enterprise involved in developing new grounds. The club is the whole basis of the GAA, and the general well-being of the Association depends on the strength of the club. Having a park of your own gives stability to a club.”
He also praised the Down squad, “which has helped to put Gaelic football on such a high pedestal, and has brought much credit to their native county.”
Canon Joseph Pettit, who had been Parish Priest of Lower Drumgooland, 1965-75, was appointed Parish Priest of Seagoe, on July 5th. 1975. He was the brother of Canon Thomas Pettit, former President of St. Colman’s College, Newry, and Parish Priest of Tullylish. Canon Pettit was greatly beloved by his parishioners and when in Seagoe, was the only living person to have a G.A.A. ground named in his honour, that of Pettit Park in Rostrevor. During his pastorate in Seagoe, two major church initiatives were undertaken. In the period, 1976-79, a new bell-tower was erected in St. Patrick’s Church, Aghacommon, and a bell installed and blessed. In 1982-83, the church was refurbished and a splendid pine-timbered ceiling installed. In July, 1987, he oversaw a major reconstruction scheme in St. Mary’s Church, Derrytrasna. In 1990, Dean Joseph Pettit retired as parish priest and, for a short period, served as curate in Derrytrasna. He died on January 3rd. 1996, and is interred in the priests’ burial plot facing the front entrance to St. Patrick’s Church, Aghacommon.