When Maynooth College opened its door to student priests in 1795, Maurice Roche and John Allen were the first Cork students to enrol in the Maynooth, Co. Kildare, college. They were ordained priests of Cork diocese in 1800.
Maurice Roche’s first appointment was as curate in Watergrasshill Parish on the north-east corner of the diocese. A while later he transferred to one of the Bandon churches where he served as curate until 1817 when he was appointed Parish Priest of the nearby parish of Desertserges.
During his time in Ahiohill, the present Church of the Assumption of Our Lady was erected and it was dedicated for worship in 1832 – just a few years after Catholic Emancipation.
Fr Roche served in the parish until his death on April 11th, 1839. He was buried just beside the southern wall of the church whose building he had supervised.
His burial place was marked with a raised limestone slab which was engraved witht he following inscription:-
Beneath This Stone Are Deposited The Remains Of The Rev Maurice Roche
22 Years PP of Desertserges, He Died April 11 Ad1839
Requiescat in Pacem
As the writing was almost illegible by 2016 and the grave was in disrepair, a new limestone slab with the same engraving was commissioned from Pat O’Sullivan and Sons of Clonakilty. It will ensure that Fr Roche’s memory ir preserved for another few generations to come.