Every year, the premiership-winning Orange CYMS under-18s outfit from 1962 has caught up for a drink.
For 56 years straight.
And now, with the iconic Kelly’s Rugby Hotel set to close after being associated with CYMS for over 70 years, the boys from the 1962 side will catch up for one last drink at Kelly’s.
For one last time they will see the walls adorned with memorabilia; they will smell the place, soak it in, and say goodbye.
The side’s coach Carl Fahy started the tradition, saying after the flag was won there’d be a reunion every year – and he was true to his word.
Even after Fahy died, the group stuck together and continued his legacy, with players rotating the responsibility of organising the reunions.
Paul McCormick was the side’s full back in a former life, and he said while a large number of the group had died, those who had moved away “always” came back for the meet.
They don’t often meet at Kelly’s – once partners and then children came along, McCormick said the group would often meet out at the lake, or down by Gosling Creek for a barbecue for more of a family-friendly event.
The group celebrated their 25th and 50th reunions in Sydney, and spent one anniversary on a cruise in Sydney Harbour.
You have kids and they carry on tradition you know, and then you have grandkids.Paul McCormick
The group have given back to CYMS through their bloodlines since then as well, with McCormick saying a fair number of sons donned the CYMS green in the decades since, and grandchildren are still running around with football in hand.
“You have kids and they carry on tradition you know, and then you have grandkids,” he said.
The bigger the occasion in a grand final, the bigger the celebration and the bigger the stories from the game.
Anyone who knows someone who has tasted glory on the final day of the year will tell you the stories only grow as time passes.
This game was a triumph – down 3-0 at half time in the grand final of what was then known as the Donovan Cup, the CYMS boys ran away with the game to win 18-3.
And so, McCormick gets a glint in his eye when asked about the stories, and admits they get trotted out, but these reunions are about so much more than football now. They’re a part of their lives.
McCormick still admires Fahy’s determination to get the group back together, and this Sunday he and his former teammates will raise a glass – one last glass – in the football shrine that is Kelly’s for the very last time; for a very last sip within its walls.
“It’ll be sad, being there for the last time,” he said, slowly. “For the last time.”
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