Rebel G.A.A. Band
Cork's No.1 Supporters Group For Several Decades
On Monday 23rd September 2013 All Ireland Hall Of Fame - Champion Volunteers category - hosted a double celebration to honour a very special group of Cork G.A.A. fans who can be seen on Croke Park’s Hill 16 or at grounds all over Ireland when Cork are in town for league or championship matches. Such is the groups dedication that they come along to Cork challenge games and many training sessions and it has often been said that the members of The Rebel Band see more matches than the vast majority of Cork selectors down through the last four decades.
The famous fans are Pa ‘The Piper’ Hurley; Tim ‘Jonty’ O’Leary; Cyril ‘The Bird’ Kavanagh and Tom ‘De Bomber’ Roche. They are the heart and soul of Cork fans. No corporate boxes, no free travel to games, no cosy hotels or no free meals, they pay their own expenses all the way and as a group they have spent countless thousands following Cork teams, all grades, hurling and football. The ladies footballers and camogie teams are often supported by the Rebel Band many times during the year.
Cork Lord Mayor, Cllr. Catherine Clancy, gave a céad míle fáilte to the boys at her City Hall Chambers and she turned up again later that evening at the tribute event at Quinlan’s of Blackpool, to honour these outstanding Cork fans. A huge assembly of rebel fans turned out in their hundreds to pay their own tributes to The Rebel Band and a night of immense revelry had patrons singing to the rafters in a great show of comradership.
Former Cork hurlers turned up also but once again the administrators of Cork G.A.A. failed to show up or send an official letter of congratulations to The Rebel Band. These matters never alter with the governors of Cork G.A.A. despite all the nasty history between fans, players and Cork administrators. Cork is still a very divided G.A.A. county from the hangovers of disputes stretching all the ways back to the 1970's jersey debacle. The board seem unable to move out of the 'hatch' era as a user friendly association for Cork fans.
Thankfully Cork fans are more than capable of standing up to a man and woman and making their own merriment from the sport they love and appreciate. The Rebel Band had some rousing stories from their days on the road following Cork teams and despite the passing decades, the lads are still extremely passionate about Cork teams.
Apart from their standing as Cork’s No. 1 G.A.A. fans, all four lads are talented entertainers and musicians. The sound of the pipes and the roar of the drums on match days, before and after games, raises the pulse of rebel fans and no other county can claim such wonderful and colourful ambassadors. They are thoroughly appreciated by their rebel colleagues and several more diehard fans join with the boys for match days.
Fans march to pitches at Croke Park, Fitzgerald Stadium and Semple Stadium in convoy behind the band and the atmosphere generated makes matches a great social day out also.
The Rebel Band are now enrolled into the ScoreBoard Memories [Irl] Hall Of Fame, - Champion Volunteers category - for their lengthy service as Cork GAA fans but the credits do not cease here.
Many Cork clubs have engaged The Rebel Band to parade their young players behind the famed group and the lads are so well recognised from their appearances on TV screens at matches, it means an awful amount to upcoming schoolboys to march behind this famous band. The lads have also engaged in many Cork charitable projects over many years and they are always willing to consider their next charity gig.
One of the Rebel Band, Tom De Bomber Roche, recorded a new Cork G.A.A. anthem on Friday 20 th September 2013 at The Walk In Studio Pod, Cork.
The song ‘Rebels Evermore’ was written by a Dublin man in exile in Cork for many years, Paul Creighton. Proceeds from the sale of the CD’s will be donated to the local hospice in Cork. And the good work of Cork’s most famous musical quartet goes on and on for many more years.
Derry JF Doody