Jan 16th – From The Past – Blog Written About WGH By Bill Lyons 2004


Newly formed Watergrasshill United haven’t kicked a ball in anger yet but will hold a party at the Fir Tree Inn on Friday week. An amalgamation party!

Such is the enthusiasm created by the coming together of Hill Celtic and Hill Albion that an idea for the party, by new chairman Niall O'Riordan, was quickly adopted at a recent players’ meeting and new secretary John Barton promises “entertainment and munchies will be provided on the night”.

Youth outfit Blackstone Rovers (who play in the East Cork – West Waterford League) are also part of the new combination and Barton says there’s more: “We’ve further cause for celebration with the news that, following the end of their current season, the ladies of Brooklodge Utd will be coming under the Watergrasshill Utd banner. A special invitation to the party is extended to all past players of Celtic, Albion, Blackstone and Brooklodge Utd.”

Hill Celtic founder member Pat Foley is delighted with the new union: “I am thrilled. It is a great step forward. It is great for the village, a rapidly expanding village. It will help us attract more players.”

“Hill Albion have been building a very good underage set-up while Celtic have the experience. It should be a terrific blend and there’ll be no need for divided loyalties in the area anymore.”

Foley, with other founding members such as Billy Sheehan, Donal O'Callaghan and Pat Geary, got Hill Celtic off the ground in 1991. Hill Albion broke away a few years later and they too have some stalwarts in their ranks, such as Derry Desmond (he does great work at underage level), John O'Regan, Har Sheehan and Dean Roche.

AUL chairman Tony Fitzgerald threw his weight behind the amalgamation: “I welcome it. I have no doubt but that it will be good for football in Watergrasshill. They were weakened as they were but now they are on the right road and we wish them well.”

Barton, who has been a key figure at Celtic in recent seasons, looks ahead with optimism: “We see it as a huge benefit to football in the Watergrasshill area, particularly with the amount of development going on in the area. Now, there is one unified club, one entrance point for newcomers and players to the area. Before, there was Hill Celtic, Hill Albion, Blackstone Rovers, etc. People got confused and were unsure of which one to approach. We're taking the strengths of both organisations and hopefully combining into a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts”.

He knows there is some hard work ahead: “I think the first 12 months will be difficult, an adjustment period, but the long-term benefits will be immense for both junior and underage. We will be entering three teams in the AUL.”

“There will be schoolboy teams from U7 to U16 playing in the East Cork/West Waterford league. These are the Blackstone Rovers teams, which will now formally be called Watergrasshill Utd. The aim would be to enter an U-17 team into the AUL for the start of next year. This will supplement the large number of underage teams currently under the Watergrasshill Utd banner, including three girls teams, U14, U16 and U18, entered in the Cork Ladies leagues.”

Preparations for the launch of the new club are well underway and already a new crest has been designed for Watergrasshill United. Both current pitches will still be available and the plan is for the three junior teams to be based at Celtic Park while all underage and girls teams will play at Skehanagh Park.

Barton says the long-term plan is “to buy land and develop our own pitches as both Celtic and Skehanagh are rented”. “We are currently actively pursuing this. The colours of the various teams will all be various combinations of the Celtic and Albion gears over the years! The A team will line out with red tops and white shorts, the B in navy tops with blue shorts while the C side will have white tops with red shorts.”

The new committee consists of: Niall O'Riordan (Chairman),: Pat Foley (Vice-Chairman), John Barton(Secretary), Brian O’Farrell (PRO); Har Sheehan and Paul Sharkey (Joint Treasurers) and Steve McNeeley (Trainer).

The first team is likely to play in One B and here the management line-up is Pat Foley, Paul Sharkey and Har Sheehan. Steve McNeeley, Paul Sheehan and Paul Hannon will look after the second team, likely to play in 2B, while the 3rd team selectors are Kevin Hoare, Feargal Murphy and one other to be confirmed.

Steve NcNeeley will coach the junior teams while Derry Desmond and James Hennessy are in charge of the underage teams and have been doing trojan work. Barton again: “Few people, even around the village, know that two of our schoolboys, Gavin Cronin and Daniel O'Riordan, are playing in the Danone U-11 Irish Development team, a fact that deserves wider recognition.”


"There was great excitement in the village when we brought the league trophy home", said Pat Foley as he reflected a few years back on their championship win in 3B in 1993.

Celtic had imporved in the opening year and promotion was the aim at the start of the 1992/3 season. The opening match ended in defeat but that setback was brushed aside and the title came to Watergrasshill in May after a play-off against Carrigtwohill.

At one stage, Celtic were six games and twelve points behind Carrig but managed to win all six before taking the title with an extra time play-off goal by Declan Freeman.

The 1992/3 panel: Andy O'Flynn (keeper), Kevin Hoare, Mick Sheehan, Donal O'Callaghan (captain), Mick O'Leary, Moss O'Keeffe, Sean Hegarty, John O'Keeffe, Declan Freeman, John Shine, Denis O'Leary, John Sheehan, Dan O'Riordan, Brendan Walsh, John Barton, and Richie O'Leary.

Hill Celtic honours: 1993, winners 3B; 1994, winners 2B; 1997, winners St Michael’s Cup; 1998, winners County Cup; 2000, winners 1B; 2003, winners 3B. Their greatest cup run didn't produce a trophy. That came in 2001/02 when they led Fairview Rangers in the quarter-final of the FAI Junior Cup before losing in extra time at Fermoy.

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