Old Crescent RFC mourn the loss of former president Jim Roche

Lisnagry man played with distinction for Munster, including in famous game against South Africa

Old Crescent RFC mourn the loss of former president Jim Roche

Tim Duggan, Louis Nester, Jim Roche, Eoin Reddan and Pat Monaghan in September

LIMERICK rugby club Old Crescent has praised its former president Jim Roche, who sadly passed away this week, as providing invaluable “advice, guidance and support” to the club over many years.

Mr Roche, of Ballynacourty House, Lisnagry and late of JH Roche and Sons, passed away on Wednesday after a short illness. He was a distinguished former rugby player who lined out for Munster as well as his club.

He is survived by his wife Betty, sons Bobby, Peter and Richard, daughters Liz, Kate and Helen.

A member of Old Crescent RFC from its inception in 1947 to the present day, he was a former captain, president, trustee and honorary life member of the club.

He was pictured with Eoin Reddan in September when the rugby star was made an honorary life member of Old Crescent, a “happy occasion” for all involved, President Pat Monaghan said.

“Jim was a life long member of Old Crescent RFC from its inception in 1947 to the present day. His advice, guidance and support, was invaluable to Old Crescent RFC over many decades,” said Mr Monaghan.

“On behalf of all members of Old Crescent RFC, we extend our deepest sympathies to his wife Betty, his brother Niall, and the entire Roche family.”

Jim has been described by Limerick rugby journalist Charlie Mulqueen as "one of the best known personalities in Munster rugby for many years".

He initially came to prominence as a key figure and out-half in the first Crescent College team to win the Munster Schools Senior Cup in 1947, a team captained by Paddy Berkery, later to play full-back for Ireland on a number of occasions.

On leaving school, he joined the family business, J H Roche, and played his early rugby at junior level with Old Crescent before joining Garryowen and earning his place at out-half on the Munster team that was deemed unlucky not to beat South Africa in a famous match at Thomond Park in 1951.

Paddy Berkery was also a member of that side and other internationals included Roche’s half-back partner John O’Meara, Gordon Wood, Tom Clifford, Tom Reid, Jim McCarthy and Gerald Reidy.

"A classy and polished footballer, Roche would surely have played for Ireland had his career not clashed with that of the legendary Jack Kyle," Mulqueen explained.

He also played club rugby with Dolphin before teaming up again with Old Crescent on their elevation to senior status in 1954/’55 and he served them faithfully as player and captain; President, Trustee and Life member. He was out-half on the side that lost in the Munster Cup final to UCC at the Mardyke in 1955.

On retirement, Jim maintained a close affiliation with the game and served as a Munster selector and also on the Irish “Big Five” for three years, 1966/’67; ‘67/’68 and ‘68/’69. He was noted for his fairness in the role and ability to recognise true talent in a player.

Mr Roche will be reposing at home on Friday from 4pm until 8pm. Funeral Mass will take place in St Joseph’s Church, Castleconnell at 11.30am on Saturday, followed by burial in St Joseph’s Cemetery.