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Joan Blackmore Obituary

Joan Blackmore Obituary

By Jack McCann
16 September
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The Club is saddened to note the passing in recent times of some former Maids of the Mountain members, friends to many in TRRHC.

The Club is saddened to note the passing in recent times of some former Maids of the Mountain members, friends to many in TRRHC. Our deepest sympathies go to the families of Joan Blackmore (Obituary below), Joy Mawhinney, Anne Anderson and Hazel Armstrong.

Many thanks to Orla McKeown who compiled this obituary as a touching tribute to a member of the Rovers family and hockey community as whole.

Joan Blackmore (née Matthews)
13th July 1936 - 17th August 2019

The hockey community in Ireland changed for many when we heard the sad news of the recent death of former and long-standing Maids of the Mountain HC member, Joan Blackmore following a short illness.

Cork born, Joan Matthews brought a uniquely feisty and imaginative Cork attitude to life. Always an outstanding athlete, she represented Ireland in the sport of fencing. Trained as a PE teacher, she taught in Sligo before she and Ken returned to Dublin and was able to unite her love of sport with that deep sense of caring for younger people which continued throughout her life as a teacher, an inspirational hockey coach and Matriarch of all the student and teaching body in Wesley College Ballinteer during husband, Ken Blackmore's tenure as Headmaster, and indeed beyond into their mutual retirement.

A formidably talented athlete, she not only represented both Munster and later Connaught in Interprovincial competition, but also represented Ireland at hockey as well as in the sport of fencing. In addition, she was one of the three farsighted individuals who introduced indoor hockey to Leinster circles in the late 1970s. She also took an active role in the organising ( being organiser of Support Services and also Head of Security during the event) of the 8th Womens Hockey World Cup in 1994 which was held in UCD, the first time such a large hockey event had come to Ireland.

It was as a start of season hockey coach that most of the younger Maids, now Pavilion members of TRR, will remember her, ever encouraging, ever supportive, ever ready to pass on an unusual skill which gave an edge in a match.

When the history of the Maids of the Mountain HC was being researched, prior to the 1999 merger with TRR, the authors were thrilled to discover Joan's history of activism with the aim of gaining female changing and showering facilities in the then shared grounds at Templeogue. There were no female facilities and when normal lobbying methods yielded no results, Joan took direct action. After one match, she grabbed her soap and towel and marched into the male facilities to claim a much needed shower. Female facilities were provided as a matter of priority very soon after, becoming the norm now expected and provided as a matter of course.

As a longstanding Maids HC member, Joan was always available to give of herself both in a coaching and advisory capacity and on a personal level to the younger Maids, ever the caring mentor. She also served officially as Club Captain in the 1962/1963 season and as Club President from 1987 to 1989. When in the post Templeogue years, the club needed a home ground and a mini kitchen, Joan very kindly arranged for the Wesley school facilities to be made available for home matches. She was strategically involved in the planning and researches to try and find a permanent home ground for the Club. She was also a huge financial support to Maids HC and when funds were required to enable the club to buy into the Grange Road facility as Licensees after the sale of the Templeogue grounds for housing in the early 1980's, Joan, along with the late Jill Cox, provided an interest - free loan to the Club to enable the Club to invest in the facility and leading directly to the security of tenure enjoyed since the 1999 merger of Maids HC with TRR.

After many years in Wesley, Joan and Ken retired and made their home in rural Wicklow free to enjoy the company of their five sons, five daughters in law and eight grandchildren and of course their dogs. In more recent years they moved closer to Wicklow town in order to be closer to the services of an urban area during their later years.

Joan's contribution to female involvement in her much loved sport of hockey is ongoing every day that Three Rock Ladies step onto their home grounds in Grange Road, something she directly enabled. Her contribution should never be lost in the mists of time. She will never be forgotten by those of us who were lucky enough to have known her and enjoyed her inspirational friendship.


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