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Queen's can pass test: O'Rourke

By John Campbell

Queen's University GAA officer Aidan O'Rourke is hoping the Belfast seat of learning can write a new chapter in its history when it hosts four inter-varsity championships in February and March.

The Sigerson, Fitzgibbon, Ashbourne and O'Connor Cups will all be competed for at The Dub and O'Rourke believes that this provides the perfect opportunity for Queen's to enhance its reputation as a sporting stronghold.

O'Rourke, who played on the Armagh side that won the All-Ireland title in 2002 and is currently the manager of Louth, acknowledges that Queen's has a lot to live up to.

"We are only able to take on a challenge like the GAA Festival because we have a strong record as a good host and we have the resources to do so successfully," said O'Rourke.

Just this week Queen's honoured one of its most famous players when Down legend Sean O'Neill received the Paddy O'Hara Medal of Honour for his contribution to the club as a player, official and long-time member.

O'Neill is regarded as one of the greatest footballers in the history of the GAA. He won two Sigerson Cup medals in 1958 and 1964 and was manager of the successful Queen's side of 1982.

He also won three All-Ireland titles and eight Ulster medals with Down, a record eight Railway Cups with Ulster and was named on the GAA Team of the Millennium.

He was Footballer of the Year in 1968 and was also named as the Ulster Footballer of the Millennium in 2000.

O'Rourke is among those who highlights the contribution O'Neill has made to GAA at Queen's.

"People like Paddy O'Hara and Sean O'Neill will always be regarded as iconic figures in a GAA context within the university. They are people that each group of students look up to," said O'Rourke.

Belfast Telegraph

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