In 1989 Rossa caused a major upset when they beat hot favourites Cargin in the Antrim Senior Football Championship at Casement Park. Cargin had beaten league champions St Paul’s and reigning county champions St John’s on the way to the final but were made wait as the other half of the draw was held up because Rossa had five players on the Antrim squad that reached that season’s All Ireland Hurling final. To make matters worse Rossa’s semi-final opponents McDermott’s put a spanner in the works when they drew with Rossa in the semi-final, and the subsequent replay set things back again. If that wasn’t bad enough for the Cargin men, who by this stage were waiting on the sidelines for almost two months, they were then nomintated to go forward as Antrim’s representatives in the Ulster Club Football Championship. Kingscourt of Cavan were their opponents and they lost to the Breffni men, which didn’t help their state of mind by the time thefinal came around.
Former All Star Andy McCallin was their manager at the time and in an inverview after the game he certainly felt the delay between their semi-final and final, plus playing in the Ulster Club Championship, had a major bearing on their performance on the day. Nobody who saw the Rossa men struggle in their semi-final with McDermott’s would have been rushing to the bookies to lay money on them winning another football title, but Rossa are a club with a great football pedigree and they produced the goods on the day to bridge a 16 year gap and take their first title since 1973, and their 12th football title overall.