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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Colm O'Rourke
Personal information
Sport Gaelic football
Position Full Forwad Line Right
Born (1957-08-31) 31 August 1957 (age 64)
Aughavas, County Leitrim, Ireland
Height 6 ft 2[1] in (1.88 m)
Occupation Secondary school principal
Years Club
Club titles
Meath titles 2
Years County Apps (scores)
Meath 59 (16-105)
Inter-county titles
Leinster titles 5
All-Irelands 2
All Stars 3

Colm O'Rourke (born 31 August 1957) is a secondary school principal, sports broadcaster, columnist and former Gaelic footballer. His league and championship career at senior level with the Meath county team spanned twenty years from 1975 to 1995.

Born in Edgeworthstown, Longford and raised in Aughavas, County Leitrim,[2] O'Rourke was raised in Skryne, County Meath after his family moved there in his youth. He played competitive Gaelic football during his schooling at St Patrick's Classical School in Navan. O'Rourke first appeared for the Skryne club at underage levels, before winning two county senior championship medals in 1992 and 1993. While studying at University College Dublin he won a Sigerson Cup medal in 1979.[citation needed]

O'Rourke made his debut on the inter-county scene when he was picked for the Meath minor team. He later joined the under-21 side but enjoyed little success in these grades. O'Rourke made his senior debut during the 1975-76 league. Over the course of the next twenty years he was a regular member of the starting fifteen and won back-to-back All-Ireland medals in 1987 and 1988. He also won five Leinster medals, three National Football League medals and was named Footballer of the Year in 1991. O'Rourke played his last game for Meath in July 1995.

In retirement from playing O'Rourke combined his teaching career with a new position as a sports broadcaster. His media career began with RTÉ where he has worked as a studio analyst with the flagship programme The Sunday Game for over twenty-five years. O'Rourke also writes a weekly column for the Sunday Independent

Early and family life

Despite becoming a Meath county footballer, O'Rourke is not a Meathman by birth; he was born in the small parish of Aughavas within County Leitrim.[3] He moved with his family as a youngster from Leitrim to County Meath

O'Rourke is a descendant of the Uí Ruairc royal house of Breffni.[citation needed] He has, however, been accepted by the people of Skryne in Meath as one of their own forty years after arriving from Aughavas. He does, though, regard himself as a peasant and has spoken in defence of cows.[1]

O'Rourke's son Shane also played with the Meath senior football team, while his nephew Paddy played as a goalkeeper for Meath.[citation needed]

Playing career

As a Gaelic footballer, O'Rourke won two All-Ireland medals with Meath, in 1987 and 1988. He also won five Leinster Senior Football Championship medals and three National Football League titles. His involvement would be considered pivitol for Meaths success against Dublin at this time.[4]

O'Rourke received three All-Star for Meath in 1983, 1988 and 1991. His performance, playing with a bandaged knee, in the Dublin-Meath matches of the summer of 1991 are still recounted in Meath.[citation needed] When playing for Meath he was part of a full forward line of himself, Brian Stafford and Bernard Flynn, often considered to be one of the best full-forward lines of all time.

In May 2020, O'Rourke was included in the Irish Independent's "Top 20 footballers in Ireland over the past 50 years", where he was regarded as inferior to such players as Donegal's Michael Murphy and Tyrone's Seán Cavanagh.[5]

Management career

O'Rourke has managed Simonstown Gaels GFC in Navan, guiding them to two Meath Senior Football Finals in 2003 and 2004, only for the team to lose on both occasions. He also guided the club to its first adult title in 2005 when it won the Meath Football League Division 1.

He led Simonstown Gaels to their very first Senior Championship in 2016 and then again in 2017.

He returned as Simonstown manager for a fourth stint in November 2020, hinting that this would be his last managerial job.[6][7]

O'Rourke managed Ireland's team that competed in the Compromise Rules competition on two outings, 1998 and 1999.

O'Rourke is currently[when?] the manager for the senior men's team in St Patrick's Classical School, they compete in the A division and in 2001, 2003 and 2004 they won the Hogan cup in the All-Ireland, they have got to the All-Ireland many of a time more recently in 2013.

He is continuously being linked with managing the Meath senior football team, previously held by Seán Boylan, another man with Leitrim connections.[citation needed]


O'Rourke is the secondary school principal in St Patrick's Classical School in Navan where he has trained the Gaelic football team to numerous successes at provincial and national level throughout the past two decades.[8]

Despite his classical education, he has been known to mix up his Latin with his Greek in public.[9][10]

During the COVID-19 pandemic in the Republic of Ireland he voiced his disagreement with the then education minister Joe McHugh's plan to delay the leaving cert until July as well as his plans to socially distance it. He voiced his concerns on how this would be feasible and on the safety of teachers overseeing the exam.[11][12]

Media career

O'Rourke started working for RTÉ on The Sunday Game in 1991, and has been a contributed sports columns in the Sunday Independent.

He writes occasional columns for the Sunday Independent on the topic of education.[13][14][15][16]

O'Rourke also is slated to make a cameo role in "The Rising" an Irish film that covers the events of the Easter Rising.[17][18]

In 2020, O'Rourke was accused of using homophobic language on television.[19]

Political beliefs

O'Rourke is an opponent of the welfare state.[1] He is an anti-communist.[20] He has written about his disapproval of Sinn Féin.[1]

O'Rourke wrote in defence of Phil Hogan after the Oireachtas Golf Society scandal forced the European Commissioner from office, describing Hogan as one of the "good people" and the "constant rage" at his wanderings around three provinces to play golf among other things as "a bit over the top".[21]

Career statistics

Team Season Leinster All-Ireland Total
Apps Score Apps Score Apps Score
Meath 1976 4 2-09 0 0-00 4 2-09
1977 0 0-00 0 0-00 0 0-00
1978 1 0-01 0 0-00 1 0-01
1979 3 1-09 0 0-00 3 1-09
1980 2 0-04 0 0-00 2 0-04
1981 1 0-03 0 0-00 1 0-03
1982 1 0-01 0 0-00 1 0-01
1983 2 1-08 0 0-00 2 1-08
1984 4 2-08 0 0-00 4 2-08
1985 2 0-04 0 0-00 2 0-04
1986 3 0-06 1 0-02 4 0-08
1987 2 1-02 2 1-04 4 2-06
1988 3 0-02 2 0-09 5 0-11
1989 3 2-02 0 0-00 3 2-02
1990 3 3-07 2 0-00 5 3-07
1991 8 0-05 2 0-01 10 0-06
1992 1 0-02 0 0-00 1 0-02
1993 2 0-06 0 0-00 2 0-06
1994 3 0-02 0 0-00 3 0-02
1995 2 3-08 0 0-00 2 3-08
Total 50 15-89 9 1-16 59 16-105


  1. ^ a b c d "Hills are alive with the sound of anger - GAA absolutely right to demand an explanation for us peasants on the ground". Sunday Independent. 23 August 2020. Retrieved 23 August 2020. Finals in empty grounds, no parties afterwards for winners or losers, no homecomings with a junior, intermediate or senior cup. The sort of stuff we peasants live for... In the midst of this absolute confusion, it is just as well there is no election or the Government would surely be replaced. Then we could have Sinn Féin. In the new Utopia, nobody would have to work, the dole would be extra generous and everyone, whether you wanted to work or not, would get a free house... A land of milk and honey, except there would be no cows.
  2. ^ Crossan, Brendan (23 August 2007). "Colm O'Rourke: I wish the ravages of time could be slowed down so I could still play". The Irish News.
  3. ^ "Colm O'Rourke Happy 51st". Hogan Stand. Lynn Publications. 13 September 1991. Retrieved 16 September 2006.
  4. ^ McMahon, James (10 May 2020). "All-Stars of The Sunday Game era: Football full-forward". RTE.
  5. ^ Breheny, Martin (30 May 2020). "Revealed: The Top 20 footballers in Ireland over the past 50 years". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  6. ^ "O'Rourke returns as Simonstown manager and hints it could be his swansong". Hogan Stand. 25 November 2020. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  7. ^ "Colm O'Rourke back for a fourth time as senior manager". Simonstown Gaels.
  8. ^ Yearbook of St. Patrick's Classical School, 2013
  9. ^ O'Rourke, Colm (28 July 2019). "Donegal in need of bite to match their bark in order to overcome Mayo". Sunday Independent. Jim Gavin has it all sorted. He is much too modest but he could easily copy what the Greek[sic] poet Horace wrote about himself: Exegi monumentum aere perennius (I have built up a monument more lasting than bronze).
  10. ^ McGinn, Padraig: Carrick-on-Shannon (4 August 2019). "Letters to the Editor: Meath legend Colm waxes lyrical". Sunday Independent. I remember Colm O'Rourke as a magnificent Meath county footballer... Did you see last week where he referred to 'the Greek poet Horace', assisting those of us who are too old by translating the Latin quotation into English? ... Horace a Roman citizen, wrote in Latin. Homer was the Greek poet. Good luck to Meath at the weekend.
  11. ^ McGrath, Graham (24 April 2020). "Principals want more detailed information about management of Leaving Cert".
  12. ^ O'Rourke, Colm (12 April 2020). "This half-baked plan for Leaving Cert raises more questions than it answers". Sunday Independent.
  13. ^ "'I'm a school principal - but even I can't converse in Irish': A Russian lecturer appointed to promote the Irish language in Kerry faces an uphill task, writes Colm O'Rourke". Sunday Independent. 3 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Teachers' bad behaviour just lets Quinn off the hook". Sunday Independent. 26 April 2019.
  15. ^ "Tables pressure on schools to steer students to third level". Sunday Independent. 26 April 2019.
  16. ^ "For the sake of our students, a way should be found to carry out this year's Leaving Cert". Sunday Independent. 5 April 2020.
  17. ^ O'Brien, Shane (24 April 2020). "GAA stars to join Liam Neeson's son in new 1916 film "The Rising". Irish Central.
  18. ^ McGonagale, Suzanne (27 April 2020). "Some of Ireland's most successful GAA players set to star in movie about Easter Rising". Irish News.
  19. ^ Barry, Steven (3 February 2020). "Colm O'Rourke criticised for using 'homophobic language' on RTé". Irish Examiner.
  20. ^ "Glaring contradiction of draconian spectator ban needs to be questioned". Sunday Independent. 6 September 2020. Retrieved 6 September 2020. For the last while we have lived in a Communist-type system with queues outside shops and banks, people wearing masks and giving each other a wide berth. That is not a nice way to exist.
  21. ^ "Great opportunity missed this year to alter provincial championship for the better". Sunday Independent. 30 August 2020. Retrieved 30 August 2020. [An]n almighty storm is created around an EU commissioner and he is hounded out of office... We need good people in big jobs. It is not a popularity contest... Arrogance is not a mortal sin. We would be better off with Hogan on the pitch fighting the European case, and by extension the Irish cause... the constant rage was a bit over the top. Original title in print edition was "Time is right to flip season on its head".

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Meath Senior Football Captain
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Texaco Footballer of the Year
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 23 September 2021, at 20:03
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