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O'Donovan Rossa go by the book for ton-up celebration

By John Campbell

The O'Donovan Rossa club in west Belfast will mark a significant milestone in its history tonight when a gala centenary banquet will be held in the Europa Hotel, Belfast.

The club, which embraces all playing codes under the GAA banner, has enjoyed considerable success down through the decades and this will be reflected at tonight's function.

Rossa reached the All-Ireland hurling final in 1989 - the same year in which Antrim were in the All-Ireland county championship final - only to fall to Buffer's Alley, Wexford but it's in the sphere of camogie that the club has consistently hit the headlines.

From 2000 until 2013 Rossa won 10 Antrim senior championship titles, six Ulster crowns and peaked in 2008 when the All-Ireland crown was won.

Tonight the club will also launch its impressive 160-page centenary book, which chronicles its formation in 1916 on through to today.

"Obviously the club has made big strides over the years but there have been more significant developments within the GAA in recent times than there have been in the past," says Rossa treasurer Adrian Murray.

"The formation of the Club Players Association shows us how far the Association has come but at the same time we must treasure our past.

"Our club has been at the hub of sporting life in west Belfast for a long time and it has produced a lot of great players in the different codes so we can take justifiable pride in our achievements."

Legendary footballer Kevin Armstrong, outstanding hurler Ciaran Barr and iconic camogie player Jane Adams are just some of the personalities who have made huge contributions to Rossa's success story and now the hope is that the club will continue to go from strength to strength.

"There is strong evidence that we can achieve this," he observes.

"We will have 500 guests at the banquet with many travelling from all arts and parts to be with us on this very auspicious occasion."

Meanwhile, the Ulster Council's Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup competition will be formally launched at the Fitzwilliam Hotel, Belfast on Wednesday.

Holders Tyrone will begin the defence of their trophy in early January by which time they may well have retained the O'Fiaich Cup in which they are due to meet Louth in the second semi-final on Sunday, December 11.

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte is, of course, currently on duty with the All-Stars in the Middle East.

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