Old Collegians Rugby Union Club



Mick & Barbara Finn

Mick Finn - Obituary

For when the One Great Scorer comes
To write against your name
He marks - not that you won or lost
But how you played the game.
... Rice 1941

Well, Roy Frank Finn, affectionately known as Mick, (1931-2008) did indeed play the game to his utmost - the game of rugby on and off the pitch.
Mick migrated from London to Adelaide in 1960 and joined OC that year. Barb migrated in 1961 and they were immediately married with the wedding being virtually an OC affair.

Mick and Barb are both well-deserved Life Members of OC, reflecting the enormous contribution that each of them have made to the success of OC over many years.

Mick learnt his rugby as a forward at Lensbury Shell, Teddington. One of his memorable achievements on the pitch with OC was playing in a Division 4 Premiership side at the age of 50 years! Another was scoring a try at Ballymore for The Old Blacks during a Golden Oldies Festival.

Mick's knowledge of rugby worldwide was encyclopaedic, leading to many interesting 'discussions' around the bar. He also had a photographic memory and was a font of information on OC's past and present players and glories.

OC was fortunate to have such a committed and tireless worker for the Club - his contribution included team manager, selector, coach, gear steward, grounds manager (wobbly white lines were not in his vocabulary), bar manager, fire-wood supplier, organiser and supporter of social functions, and definitely a supporter of the bar. For many years, the Finn Family voluntarily cleaned the Clubhouse. Mick was usually one of the first members to warmly greet new people to the Club and to introduce them to others. An example was when Roger McDaniel arrived from interstate - Mick was the first to buy him a drink. Roger stayed with the Club, conned into playing again after having already hung up his boots and then became President.

Mick's rather brusque manner was legendary and, though he may have ruffled feathers at times, he always had OC's interests first and foremost. Some time ago, the Manager of Brighton's Division 1 team will never forget Mick's public admonishment when he dared use OC's bucket of sand for their kicker. An unknown woman will never forget Mick's public chastisement when she dared to salvage an empty drink can from a bin at Tregenza Oval for her own financial gain - in Mick's view she was stealing from the Club.

When the Golden Oldies Festival was held in Adelaide in 1999, Mick's entrepreneurial streak came to the fore when he sold OC's Committee the idea of selling Club merchandise at a great profit. Good idea, but he purchased and picked up six times the agreed amount of merchandise (well, he was after a great profit!) - it took many years to realise the investment!

The minute's silence by OC's seniors and juniors and players and members of other teams on Saturday 2nd August 2008 was testament to the esteem with which he was held by the rugby community.

Mick will be fondly remembered for his loyalty to the Club, his integrity, his love of rugby and his idiosyncrasies - an unique member who was an important part of OC's fabric.

His legacy to the Club includes his grandson, Harrison, who plays in the Juniors. The Club celebrates the life of Mick Finn and looks forward to a continuing association with Barb and their family.

... Peter Allen, August 2008

Mick Finn ... Eulogy

Roy Frank (Mickey) Finn

... an Address at Mickey's Wake
Sunday 24th August 2008 at the Old Collegians' Rugby Club Adelaide South Australia

"Barbara, thank you very much for asking me to speak at Mickey's Wake. It is an honour. You have asked me to make "a few remarks, a short speech".

I have tried to keep my remarks short, but I can't. Mickey deserves more.

There has been no funeral; Mickey and his family didn't want one. Stuff and Nonsense, that sort of thing. So typical of the man. But Mickey wanted a Wake and he wanted it at the Club he loved.

So here we are on request. A time to reflect, a time to be sad and a time to be proud; proud of Mick and proud to have known him.

And for those who feel the need for Closure, now is the time to close the Book.

I remember in 1961 a vivacious 20 year old young woman named Barbara, dancing the night away on the very day of her arrival in Australia. We were at the home of Dot and Bert Rogers and we were all in awe of Mickey who had convinced this young delight to come to Australia to marry him. That marriage produced Bethany, Andrea, Daniel and Megan, four loving and loyal children, two of them far flung and yet so near. Mickey treasured his family; one of the last things he was able to do was to flicker a smile at the photo of his brand new great granddaughter, Portia.

So much of Mickey's life was centred around the Club. Apart from a few years in Poochera, Alice Springs and Port Moresby, representing the Shell Company, Mickey was here as a single man, a married man and the full house with Barbara and the children for all of his Australian life.

Playing rugby with Mickey was a bruising experience, a big man with about three knees and five elbows. I often thought I would be safer if he was playing for the opposition. We won a premiership together in 1966, you will find his photograph on the walls, looking powerful and determined.

Mickey's passion for the game was there for all of us to see and for over half a century he put so much time, effort, knowledge and skill into the South Australian game and into Old Collegians.

Two days after Mickey died I was chairing a meeting of the members of the South Australian Union, all the Clubs and the Refs. When the meeting was told of Mickey's death there was a real sense of loss and the meeting asked that I record the following in the minutes:

"The members express their sadness on the passing of Mickey Finn and their sense of loss. The lifelong passionate and dedicated contribution Mickey has made to his much loved Club and to the Union as a whole is acknowledged."

It was very clear at the meeting, Barbara, that Mickey was held in high regard in the rugby community. His contribution to the playing of the game over many years, to his various roles as an officer of the Union and to his ceaseless volunteering beyond the call of duty is very much appreciated and will be remembered.

A big man was Mick, with a rich strong voice. Who remembers the AGM where he was appointed a life member of the Club? He had been doing his usual shouting of 'shut up" because he wanted silence for the speaker, (he liked things to be done properly), and yet when he was unanimously appointed a Life Member he was speechless in response. An emotional man, never about self.

Rugby and this Club were wonderful conduits to friendships, long friendships and strong ones. Everyone here today is a friend of Mickey and some have been so for around 50 years. It is a measure of the man that he has friends who kept him company through the last days of his life.

Why was it that Mickey attracted strong and lifelong friendships? It was because he had an unselfish interest in other people, an appetite to know them and enjoy their company and he was always happy to talk more of them than of himself. And he liked to have a good time!

So we are reflecting on a life rich in family, friends and experiences.

Mickey's Book of Life has closed. No longer will we hear his deep hearty laugh.

But our Books remain open; the Mickey Finn pages are turned but they are still there and will be so until our Books close. We can reread those pages of times with Mickey whenever we choose, with pleasure and pride.

We are here today with a common bond, the bond of Mickey's friendship.

A time to be sad, thankful and proud.

A time to join Barbara and her family in sharing memories over a drink or two, some hugs, handshakes and tears, and as Mickey would wish, some laughter.

Please join me in a toast.


Geoffrey Holdich

Tribute to Mick Finn

On-pitch tribute to Mickey Finn - 2nd August 2008

Mick Finn, one of our Life Members, died on Monday 28th of July after battling cancer. We should celebrate Mick's life for all that he did both on and off the pitch for OCs. He was indeed a loyal and tireless worker for the Club in many roles over many years and he will be fondly remembered. His family has recognised Mick's request not to have a funeral and he has been privately cremated. Mick became a great-grandfather two days before he died and managed to smile when he saw a photo of his new great-granddaughter. Our best wishes go to Barb and their family.

Mickey's Wake - held at the clubhouse on Sunday 24th August 2008 - Pictures

The club's oldest member or the oldest member of the club? That's hard to say but there would be few ready to challenge either title.

Mr R.F. (Mickey) Finn arrived in Adelaide in July 1960 from England and after 9 days persuaded someone at Old Collegian's to let him in. And he's had uninterrupted membership since then. As a player he can lay claim to the years from 1960 to 1963, 1966 to 1969 and 1976 to 1985. The non-playing breaks were to satisfy that need we all have to work away on occasion and with Mickey it was in the Northern Territory and in Papua New Guinea.

His last 1st grade game was in 1967, last 2nd grade game in 1980 and his last Grand Final was played on his 49th birthday . Since 1985 Mickey has been playing Golden Oldies Rugby.

He was a state triallist in 1960, coach and captain in 1968 and 1969. Then there was his involvement with the Committee from 1976 to 1982 and a stint as a Selector from 1979 to 1981 and again from 1992 to 1994.

Starting in the 1960's and continuing on to the 1990's there has been sub-committee work, as well as being the barman, groundsman and general odd-job work that sub-committee's often represent. In recognition of all this, he was made a life member in 1982. In belated recognition that Mickey wasn't entirely to blame for all that, his wife Barbara was made a life member in 1992.

Barbara Finn was Secretary for a total of 9 years (in two spells) and has at various times been cook, cleaner, organiser and fundraiser for the club.

Interestingly, in 1961 when Mickey and Barbara got married, all the guests except four were Old Collegians.

(... PH 1998)

August 2003:
Mick Finn said that he was proud that at the age of 72 he'd played, in purple shorts, at Ballymore No. 1 Oval.

Farewell to the Finns
From the Old Collegians Rugby News, 19th March 1962

"Micky Finn abd Barbara are leaving Adelaide at the end of this week to live on the West Coast. We will be sorry to lose Micky's services on the field where he has performed strongly for the Club ever since his arrival here from England during the season before last. However Micky hopes to get over to Adelaide occasionally for a game with the Club, so we shall still see him from time to time.

To say farewell to Club members, Micky & Barbara have invited all members, both old and new, to their home at 20 Lombard Street, North Adelaide, next Saturday night, 24th March. The party willstart at 8 o'c;ock. Brt Rogers has arranged for a keg to be on tap, so there will be a slight contribution *from the males only) toward its cost. Bring your own drinking utensil,

Let's send them off in style and have a big attendance of the members."

29th March 1962

"A large number of members, both old and new, appeared at Micky and Barbara Finn's last Saturday night to give them a grand send off from the Club. The evening was noticeable for the ever increasing exciteability displayed by many present and the near incoherence of one in particular. Bert Rogers farewelled the couple on behalf of the members, but allowed himself to be side-tracked into an appeal for contributions from members to this newspaper. Micky emptied a large jug to the accompaniment of a "traditional" song which was sung by the members present."