RIP Michael O'Gorman

5 months ago

RIP Michael O'Gorman

Randwick Rugby extends sincere condolences to the family and friends of Michael O'Gorman recently deceased.

A funeral for Michael will be held at the Catholic Cathedral in Armidale at 2.00 pm on Thursday 21st February.

Michael Stynes has kindly offered to pass on apologies for those not making the trip to Armidale, if you could kindly let him know.

Denis Cleary AM writes.....

Michael O’Gorman who played for Randwick in the record winning 1965/66/67 1st Grade Grand Finals, passed away on Wednesday 13th February. He was 77. Michael went to Waverley College where he played in the 1st XV in 1958. He then attended Hawksberry Agricultural College where he also played in their 1st XV. He came to Randwick in 1962, and first played for NSW as a right side flanker in 1964. He also played for NSW against the junior All Blacks in 1966. Michael was a devoted Randwick man. He will be sadly missed.

From John Brewer: ...Mick is remembered as a very good Number 8 forward, playing 126 Club Games from 1962 - 1968. He scored 20 tries (60 pts) and was in three 1st Grade premiership winning teams 65-66-67. He represented NSW in 1964 against Queensland.

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Of the great club premiership-winning teams down through the years it’s hard to suggest there have been any better than those produced by Randwick in that club’s heyday.

They won back-to-back premierships in 1965, 1966 and 1967 and those three winning teams are coming together for a reunion (August 2015).

Looking through the names of those who played in those teams bears a resemblance to the Waratahs and Wallaby teams of that era. Randwick were simply that good at producing players of the highest quality.

Some of them, sadly, are no longer with us. Three who have passed away are Wallabies Phil Hawthorne and Phil Smith, and prop Bill Outterside.

But the remainder are hail and hearty and reading the list of attendees at the reunion brings so many memories flooding back, for this writer not only watched them regularly at Coogee Oval but was privileged to go on tour with Randwick’s Wallabies on numerous occasions and so become friendly with them.

None of those Randwick players stood out on the world scene more than their legendary scrumhalf Ken Catchpole who, amongst other achievements, led the Wallabies on their short tour of South Africa in 1961.

I accompanied the Wallabies on the 1966-67 tour of the British Isles and France for The Sydney Morning Herald and when I arrived was besieged with questions from the British media, officials and the public saying how much they wanted to see Catchpole play, to confirm if he was anywhere near as good as everyone said he was.

Well, Catchy turned it on for them in the 23-11 victory over England at Twickenham like none other probably has done before or since, and I was privileged to be a guest at the official dinner that evening when the president of the Rugby Football Union, Duggie Harrison, generously praised the Wallabies for their exciting, open play then followed with his historic remark that “I have also had the pleasure of watching the greatest halfback of all time.”

His name was not mentioned but, as one, all present immediately stood and cheered our modest, quiet little scrumhalf, collectively acknowledging his greatness.

Catchy remains the best rugby player I have seen in the hundreds of Test matches I have been privileged to attend around the world.

But those three Randwick premiership teams churned out many more outstanding Wallaby players, like George Ruebner, Alan Morton, Jeff Sayle, Tony Moore, Peter Johnson, John Francis, John Brass, John Cole, Hawthorne, Smith and Denis O’Callaghan. And that was just those who wore the green and gold.

Johnson also skippered the Wallabies to Ireland & Scotland in 1968 and, all in all, made eight overseas tours wearing the green and gold and was hooker in 92 matches for his country from 1959-71.

Other names from those team lineups that come to mind as having left a huge imprint on Randwick’s rugby history include Denis Cleary, Michael O’Gorman, Mick Murtagh, Tom Towers, Jim Briggs, John Weber, the late Bill Outterside, Michael Stynes, Michael Rosenberg and Mick Young,

Not only did I write about all these players and their roles in those premiership victories, but in my earlier years I had opposed many of them in my early playing days with Drummoyne’s Dirty Reds and I can vouch for that fact that the last team you ever wanted to face was the Galloping Greens when they were in full cry at Coogee Oval.

It will be a marvelous reunion this weekend. Many memories will be exchanged of great feats on the rugby pitch by three of the game’s finest club teams.

Rugby News Jim Webster August 2015

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