Class of 1966 – Roscommon’s All-Ireland U-21 winners….

Well-known GAA correspondent, John D. Hickey, stated that if Roscommon were to beat Kildare and win the All-Ireland U-21 Final of 1966, “it would be the eighth wonder of the world”. Sure what would sportswriters know anyway!

Pat Reynolds (Elphin): Stalwart goalkeeper who represented Roscommon at senior level and also played for Connacht. Pat’s brother, Coman, won an All-Ireland U-21 medal in 1978 and currently lives in Australia. Pat sadly passed away in 2007.

Pat Clarke (Boyle): Pat went on to play handball at national level and formed a formidable pairing with U-21 colleague Mark O’Gara. Represented Roscommon seniors.

Pat Nicholson (Boyle): The great full-back joined the priesthood after representing the Roscommon senior team and will return from the US for Sunday’s game.

Colm Shine (Clann na nGael): The captain of the team. Won a Connacht Junior medal in 1964 and went on to represent Roscommon at senior level.

Gerry Mannion (St. Brigid’s): Gerry won Sigerson Cup with UCD and was also an established Roscommon player at senior level. Replacement All Star in 1975.

Paul Mockler (St. Croan’s): Former St. Nathy’s College star and Roscommon senior player. Paul lives in Ennis, Co. Clare where he coached St. Joseph’s Doora Barefield and is a retired Garda Superintendent.

Tom Heneaghan (Castlerea): Won an All Star in 1979 and went on to manage the Roscommon team, including in the 1980 All-Ireland final defeat to Kerry.

Martin Joe Keane (Creggs): Won an All-Ireland Junior hurling medal with Roscommon against Warwickshire the year before and went on to become an established senior footballer.

John O’Connor (Roscommon Gaels): Won an All-Ireland Junior hurling medal with Roscommon against Warwickshire the year before and represented Roscommon at senior level.

Jimmy Finnegan (Castlerea): Played senior football with Roscommon before playing for London where he spent some time. Was then heavily involved with Roscommon GAA and was a selector for the 2001 Connacht Championship winning team.

Dermot Earley (Michael Glavey’s): A two-time All Star with Roscommon (in 1974 and 1979) he is remembered as a GAA great. Managed both Roscommon and Kildare. Lieutenant General in Irish Defence Forces. Sadly passed away in 2010.

Jimmy Cox (St. Barry’s): A fine player who worked in banking before a serious knee injury sustained in the 1970 Connacht final in Pearse Stadium curtailed his playing career.

Marty Cummins (Shannon Gaels): Won a county championship with his club. Lived in Swords, Co. Dublin and was a great supporter of Roscommon until he sadly passed away in 2010.

Jim Keane (St. Brigid’s): Played for St. Brigid’s and also won Westmeath county championships playing in Athlone.

John Kelly (Elphin): Captained UCD to the Sigerson Cup and starred for Roscommon.

Mark O’Gara (St. Croan’s): Played senior for Roscommon and Sigerson for UCG. With Pat Clarke formed a formidable All-Ireland winning doubles handball pairing. Mark lives in Roscommon town.

Willie Feeley (Rahara): Played at U-21 level for a number of years following an early start at the tender age of 16. Retired member of An Garda Síochána who also refereed.

John Nicholson (Boyle): John was also a member of An Garda Síochána and was based in Sligo. Played club football in Sligo.

Raymond Sheerin (St. Michael’s): Raymond later moved to Donegal and represented the Tir Chonaill men. Was a member of Donegal’s first Ulster championship winning team.

Noel Daly (Castlerea): Noel played in previous rounds but was ill in the build-up to the 1966 final. Was a member of the All-Ireland Junior hurling champions of the previous year. Also represented Westmeath.

Frank Fallon (St. Faithleach’s): Represented Roscommon at senior level. He was a member of the Gardai and served in Dundalk and Longford.

Oliver Naughton (Pádraig Pearses): Represented Padraig Pearses club with whom he played for over a decade. Played later in Leixlip, Co. Kildare.

James Beirne (Elphin): A much-travelled man. James has come from Essex in England for today’s reunion.

Jerome Dufficy (Tulsk): Sadly passed away in 2011. Represented Tulsk with great distinction and was also a member of the Gardaí.

 Adrian O’Sullivan (Castlerea): Was still playing U-21 in 1969 when Roscommon were defeated by Antrim in the 1969 final. Adrian captained Roscommon in their win over Mayo in a high-scoring game in the Connacht Final of ’72 and in the defeat to Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final subsequently. Adrian lives in Castlerea.

Thomas Gacquin (St. Aidan’s): Featured early in the championship and won a county junior title with St. Aidan’s in the same year. Currently living behind enemy lines in Ballyforan.

Sean O’Donnell (St. Faithleach’s): A dedicated club footballer with St. Faithleach’s for a number of years.

* Sincere thanks to Tony Conboy and Colm Shine for their great assistance in compiling this article