Brohan….. a hurling life.
morning May 3rd 2003
weather was really miserable in Cork city on that Saturday morning.
9.45 am rain and a grey swirling mist enveloped the pavilion, car park and
pitches at Church Road. After
some discussion among the coaches, it was decided that the Saturday morning
hurling coaching sessions, an institution at the Blackrock National Hurling Club,
would have to be
cancelled for the first time in 18 months due to the terrible weather.
9.50 am a car pulled into the car park.
Is it going ahead or what ?”, the
it was confirmed that the hurling coaching could not go ahead, he exclaimed
I was sick in bed with the auld flu all week but I came over just in case, see
ye all next week, I’m going back to my bed” and with that Jimmy
Brohan drove away into the gloomy morning rain.
Jimmy Brohan had come to Church Road to coach the 1996-hurling group, a group of about 40 young lads all born in 1996. He comes each Saturday morning.
years before these young hurlers were born, Jimmy was a central participant in
what is arguably the most famous hurling final of all time.
Over eighty three thousand people witnessed the contest on Sunday
September 23rd 1956 at Croke Park.
images, the vivid descriptions, the verbal accounts, the old photographs, the
vast crowds of men in dark or grey suits, the few minutes of flickering black
and white RTE film clips can scarcely do justice to this extraordinary contest
which captured the imagination of the entire country and which resonates in the
telling through the years.
as a “titanic struggle” by Raymond Smith, “full of tension, grandeur and
drama” by Seamus King, a game “frenzied with excitement” by Norman
Freeman, “one of the most absorbing matches in decades” by Michael O’Hehir,
a “magnificent struggle” by Tim Horgan, the 1956 All-Ireland Final has
assumed iconic status in hurling folklore.
Ring going for his record ninth All Ireland medal…Wexford powered by the giant
Rackard brothers of Killanne in the famous hurling parish of Rathnure… the Art
Foley save from Christy Ring…Ring continuing into Foley, catching his hand
“you’ve cost us the All-Ireland”…Ring being carried shoulder-high from
the field by Wexford’s Nick O’Donnell and Bobby Rackard.
stories of this All-Ireland
final have captured the imaginations of thousands of young hurlers and cemented
in a unique way the mutual respect between the hurlers and people of Wexford and
Cork. To day Jimmy Brohan remains rather philosophical at the happenings of
1956, where he marked Tom Dixon from Enniscorthy closely throughout the game and
supplied the trademark long clearance to Paddy Barry which resulted in a goal to
bring the sides level in the final quarter. He still expresses disappointment at
We could have won it, but it just didn’t go our way on the day and good luck
to Wexford, they wanted it more”.
on June 18th 1935, the Brohans lived in the third house from the end
of Wheelers Lane, (now Beaumont Avenue) alongside Longboats public house in the
pleasant village of Ballintemple. Just
across the road a United Irishman John Griffith was executed in 1798. The family
moved to 16 Mahon Terrace in 1939, so young Jimmy grew up a few hundred meters
to the east of Blackrock Village itself.
Brohan senior was born in Fethard, Co. Tipperary .
He moved to Cork city where he was employed in the Metropole Hotel. There
he met and married a fellow employee Mary Murphy from Ballintemple.
in the middle of seven children, (Paddy, Billy, Anne, Jimmy, Bobby, Mary, and
John), Jimmy attended the Sullivan’s Quay school during the war years of the
early forties. He remembers playing
hurling and football from an early age with the school and he played in the
famous Dr. Harty Cup competition for five consecutive years, in goal for the
first two years and later as a back.
Left to Right; John, Mary, Bobby, Jimmy, Ann, Billy, Paddy
Harty Cup shock
1951 Sullivan’s Quay school caused a major upset in the Dr. Harty Cup
competition when it defeated the kingpins at the time, the North Monastery.
Jimmy played full forward that day and scored the winning point in a low scoring
match from about 30 yards out just before the final whistle. The final score was
1 --- 3 to 1 --- 2. Among those
playing for the North Monastery that day was Johnny Clifford, who later scored
Cork’s winning goal in the 1954 All-Ireland Final.
was a complete shock at the time, the Mon team included 9 of the Cork minor
panel which won the 1951 All-Ireland,” recalled Johnny.
Quay was eventually defeated in the final by Thurles CBS, which included Tony
Wall of Tipperary and Paddy Croke (Dublin).
Jerry Coffey captained the Sullivan’s Quay team and also captained Cork
to the minor All-Ireland success that year.
Sullivan's Quay Hurling Team 1946
Jimmy is second from left, front row. Timmy Cronin (extreme right) and John Russell (second right, front row) played Senior Hurling for St. Finbarrs.
took part in the Blackrock parish leagues run by the Blackrock National Hurling
Club during those years. He recalls
that there was very few competitive matches under 16 played at that time unlike
the present situation to day. He
remembers that he played in goal for the Blackrock minor hurling team in 1949.
That year Blackrock beat Glen Rovers in a tough match played at Douglas, however
following a series of objections, both sides were disqualified and there was no
city representative in the county competition.
being Blackrock there were always hurleys and sliotars everywhere and impromptu
matches going on all over the place in the evenings. Jimmy practiced down in the
village itself on the road near the Marina. The Brohan family had settled into Mahon Terrace at that
stage so it was fairly natural for Jimmy and other young fellows to hurl around
the village in the evenings or around the road at Mahon Terrace. Among the
Brohan s neighbours were the famous Coughlan brothers, Eudie and John (Ballyhea),
who had played in the 1931 All-Ireland final with Kilkenny, which went to three
games. ‘Down Down’ Dorney who had played for the Rockies in the early years
of the century also lived on the street.
time I was caught by the Gardai and fined half a crown (15 cent), a large sum of
money in those days, for hurling on the road,”
Jimmy rather ruefully.
being fined for hurling in Blackrock!”
Jimmy’s reputation in Corks hurling circles was growing however and in 1952 and 1953 he was chosen on both the Cork Minor hurling teams and the Munster Colleges teams which played in the interprovincial colleges competition each year. While Cork minors were defeated by Tipperary in the early rounds each year, Jimmy earned two All-Ireland colleges medals, which are amongst his most treasured possessions. Incidentally among his opponents in the minors was Irish soccer international Niall Quinn’s father, Billy Quinn, who was an accomplished hurler with Tipperary minors at the time.
Sullivan's Quay School Shield Football Team 1947
Jimmy is second from left, front row.
Sullivan’s Quay in 1953, eighteen-year-old Brohan began work at the Irish
Dunlop Tyre factory at Centre Park Road, where he was to remain for 30 years
until its eventual closure in 1983. Jimmy worked eight-hour shifts, Monday to
Friday throughout his career.
recalls that before the Munster Championship in 1958, he was on nights (12
midnight to 8am).
I tried to get a shift change but couldn’t and you would not be feeIing the
best trying to hurl after that”
contained among its workforce many Blackrock hurlers and hurlers from all over
the city. Johnny Clifford also
worked there and remembers that
was a huge rivalry between Blackrock, the Barrs and the Glen at the time, but we
all got to know each other in Dunlop’s and later on the Cork panel and we
became great friends”
All-Ireland Medal Winners - at Dunlop's in 1970
Left to right; Tom Donoghue, John Clifford, Jimmy Brohan, Billy Campbell, Micka Brennan, Billy Murphy, Derry Hayes and Joe Twomey.
There is an interesting photograph on the Gaelic Weekly newspaper of September 22nd 1956 of some of the All-Ireland medal winners, who worked there and Billy Murphy, Derry Hayes, Joe Twomey, Billy Campbell, Johnny Clifford, Micka Brennan as well as Jimmy himself are included in that photograph.
21st June 2003
under seven hurling coaches were gathering slowly in the middle of the field,
some delaying to watch the Blackrock super leagues on the main pitch.
I wonder if I could put it over”. Jimmy
contemplated the goalposts some 60 meters away.
Jimmy tried a shot, just wide!
must be failing”
later his next shot split the posts!
“The old eye is still in”
road…. early days.
recalls walking over regularly to Church Road, where the Blackrock senior
hurlers trained in the pitch known as Joe Keeffe’s field at the rear of where
the Willow Bank housing estate is now located.
There were four soccer fields located in a row on the way into the
Blackrock field, which contained an old railway carriage, used as a dressing
room and for storage purposes. Blackrock moved across the Church Road in the mid
50s to the present fields, which were owned by T. John Horgan, a local cattle
dealer. These fields had been used to keep cattle prior to their subsequent
export from the Cork Docks.
the young Brohan, some of these Blackrock hurlers were gods, Johnny Quirke, the
Riordans, Derry Hayes, Fox Aherne, and he wanted to be with them.
In 1953 as an 18 year old, he played his first senior hurling game for
the Rockies. Later that year Jimmy lined out at left corner in the County Senior
semi-final versus Glen Rovers. Facing him initially was Christy Ring.
Tipperary goalkeeper John O’Grady who also played in goal for Blackrock while
teaching in Sullivan’s Quay takes up the story,
It was quite plain that the Glen attack meant to bring pressure to bear on what
should be the weakest link in the Blackrock defence.
As each ball came towards his position, the youngster broke quickly from
Ring’s side, got to it first and cleared surely and swiftly. Ring moved off to
Glen won the match 1 ---13 to 8 points and later went on to capture their 14th
County title by defeating Sarsfields in the final.
same year the busy Brohan also played an active role in the Blackrock Minor
Team, which won the City Divisional Championship for the first time. That team
was eventually beaten in the county final by Riverstown, which had an Imokilly
selection at its disposal.
Rockies are back!
young Rockies had sent out a clear message to everyone, the club was on its way
back to the top. The failure to annex the County Championship since 1931 had
become an obsession among all associated with the club and the area.
Blackrock prior to 1931 had been virtually synonymous with Cork hurling
and had won 21 County Championships.
the intervening period, the Blackrock Club had to stand by while Glen Rovers
captured an amazing 15 County titles between 1934 and 1954, including victories
over the Rockies themselves in 1939, 1948 and 1954. By 1953 Jimmy had
established himself on the Blackrock Senior team and played in the 1954 County
Final, when a young Blackrock selection lost by just 5 points to a strong Glen
seminal Glen Rovers hurling publication, “The Spirit of the Glen”
acknowledged the contribution of Blackrock to this final.
Glen lined out with eight of Cork’s all conquering 1952-54 teams and were firm
favourites to retain the County title. Blackrock
fielded a young team hoping once again to take the title to the fishing village
and what a rare fight they put up. The
game was a tremendous struggle and it took every ounce of craft, experience and
spirit in the Glen squad to achieve victory”.
1954 young Brohan was also called up for the Cork Senior hurling panel. Those
days a player would receive a postal notification that one had been chosen for a
particular game and one should call to the County Board offices at Cook Street.
The Cork players gathered there and were usually taken to games in a number of
hired cars. Jimmy recalls that there was little or no regular organised training
at the time and serious training for the Championship commenced maybe a month to
six weeks prior to the game.
played in a number of the league games in the 1953/1954 seasons and was ready
for the 1954 Championship. Cork
defeated Tipperary in the Munster Championship and were then going for a
three-in-a-row of All-Ireland titles. In the semi-final against Galway, Jimmy
played at the left corner back position as Tony O’ Shaughnessy was injured and
performed very well in a fairly one-sided game.
for the All-Ireland final against Wexford, the selectors went for the
experienced O’Shaughnessy, who had recovered from his injury. This match was witnessed by a record 84,800 spectators and
resulted in a three-point victory for Cork in what Billy Rackard has described
as a “grim, hard-fought, finely-balanced contest.” O’Shaughnessy received an injury during the game, however
he was bandaged and played on.
were great celebrations when Cork arrived back with the Liam McCarthy for the
third time in a row, we paraded through the city on the back of a lorry, there
were lots of speeches and we had a great time, it was a great experience”
“a bit of a disaster”
was somewhat of a disaster for Jimmy. He had always played football from his
days with Sullivan's Quay and later with St. Michaels, which was established in
1951. Picked on the Seandun Divisional football team, he did not turn up, he’s
still not sure why he did not go. However the result was that he was suspended
from all G.A.A. activity and could not take part in the 1955 Munster Hurling
beat Cork in the opening round of the 1955 Championship and the three-in-a
–row team was no more. It still hurts!
Sheedy of Clare got a rake of points the same day.” was Jimmy’s final
disappointment of 1956.
1956 Jimmy was back on the Cork Senior team again, and when Ring rattled in
three goals in a few minutes against Limerick in the Munster Final, the scene
was again set for a repeat against Wexford in a match that has gone into
great friend and future brother-in-law Mick Cashman was now in goal for Cork.
Mick was later to marry Jimmy’s sister Anne also in 1956 and their sons Tom
and Jim were both to win County Medals with Blackrock and All-Ireland medals
with Cork, Tom captaining the winning Cork team in 1986. Mick had been picked
for Cork in 1952, however he had suffered a dose of tonsillitis in the week of
the Championship and couldn’t play, so Dave Creedon who had retired took his
place in goal and went on to win three All-Ireland medals.
1956 final was a tough uncompromising game, at one stage in the second half, two
Blackrock players played at centre-field, Seamus Hearne for Wexford and Paddy
Philpott for Cork.
were two points ahead. Three minutes from fulltime Ring went for glory from a
ball cleared by Philpott, Art Foley stopped Ring’s effort, Foley’s long
clearance eventually breaking to Nicky Rackard, whose low skimming shot, struck
the Cork net. Dixon added a point. Match
over! Wexford by 6 points!
John Barrett, writing in the Kerryman on Saturday 29th September 1956
“Tall Jimmy Brohan was another who starred in the Cork
defence. His display at right-full marked him down as one of the best men in
that position in the country today. His speed and stylish hurling were a treat
the final whistle, Jimmy watched as Ring was carried off the field shoulder high
by some of the Wexford players, little did he realise that although he would
play some fantastic hurling at Croke Park for Munster, neither he nor Ring would
grace the famous old stadium again as hurlers in the red of Cork.
Mick Cashman and Jimmy Brohan - 1988
the disappointment of losing the All-Ireland final, Jimmy and Blackrock had
unfinished business in Cork…. to finally capture that County title that had
eluded a whole generation of Blackrock hurlers. Blackrock made an all-out effort
that year and trained in the Cork Constitution grounds at Templehill for some of
the period leading up to the game.
Cashman was the captain on that unforgettable day in October 1956,and gave a
commanding performance at centre-back. Jimmy
played at full-back against the mighty Glen Rovers. The Glen were favourites
after beating the Barrs, while Blackrock had problems overcoming Carbery.
28,000 people crammed into the Cork Athletic Grounds by the River Lee. A tight
hard fought first half left the Glen two points ahead.
The frustration of a generation of Blackrock hurlers was about to be
erased however, when Blackrock held the Glen to a point from Johnny Clifford in
the second half.
tried everything, he had got a goal in the first half, and then made four strong
solo-runs into the heart of the Blackrock defence.
C.F.Kenealy in his newspaper article stated,
Brohan and Patsy Lyons, however never left him get in a decent shot once he came
into their area and so ended Rovers chances of pulling the game out of the
believes that Ring was genuinely delighted to see the Rockies achieve victory,
but he would not let them don the mantle of success until they had proved worthy
Murphy scored a goal and three points, while Sean Horgan picked up a goal and a
point. Seamus Hearne who had
earlier played for Wexford in the All-Ireland final put over two points, Mick
Cashman, Flor O’Mahony, Tom Furlong and John Bennett contributed a point each
to Blackrock’s most famous victory.
was huge at the time, we paraded down the Marina to the village and eventually
wound up in the Leaping Salmon.
The Leaping Salmon owned by Billy O’Keeffe, who had also been
treasurer of the club was the unofficial meeting place of the Rockies at
the time. The older followers of the club were absolutely thrilled and
celebrations went on for ages”
Jimmy in his usual understated manner about that famous days proceedings.
the end of the year Jimmy was to win a county junior football medal with St.
Michaels. In 1957 he was the Cork Junior football captain in the Cork team that
captured the Munster title but were eventually beaten by Mayo in the All-Ireland
series. He played one game for the Cork senior footballers.
26th 2003 Church Road
you hold the hurley like this and swing it so…see.”
Naoise Crowley tries to copy the beautiful measured even hurling swing of
turn around and do it this way, you must pull on the sliothar from both sides”
it, great improvement, keep at it… now… you've got it”
warm smiles on both coach and youngster signal another hurling skill mastered,
will be a great hurler yet, just keep practicing every day”
Watching the seamless passing on of a hurling skill
from a master stickman to another eager young Rocky is the very lifeblood of the
Jimmy at Church Road, Blackrock, Superleagues 2003
rise of Waterford and Tipperary hurling in the late 50s and early 60s led to a
very lean decade for Cork hurling. Defeated in 1957 and 1959 by Waterford by 5
points and 3 points, in 1958 and 60 by Tipperary by a margin of two points,
before the margin of defeats in the early 60s grew larger.
Jimmy played in them all, it was a low period for Cork hurling before the
explosion in 1966.
the period, Jimmy’s reputation as a classy stylish hurler and as a fine
sportsman grew. He was chosen on
the All-Ireland Hurling team selections of 1957,1959,1960, 1961 and 1962. His displays with Munster in the halcyon days of the Railway
Cup are regarded as amongst the very best performed by a right corner back in
the code. He won six Railway Cup
medals with Munster, 1957.1958,1959,1960, 1961 and 1963.
Clifford who saw his first All-Ireland final in 1946 is in absolutely no doubt
as to Jimmy’s ability.
was the best corner back I have seen in all that time, he would more than hold
his own in any era, he never left Blackrock or Cork down.
I played on him many times, there was never a foul stroke from him and he
often drove the ball 80 yards down the field, sometimes at my expense.”
Jordan the Clare corner forward from Whitegate who was just 19, when he played
against Jimmy in the 1958 Championship described Jimmy without hesitation “as
a stylish, classy and sporting hurler”.
He mentioned with a laugh that on one occasion in the game he was soloing
through, ball on stick, Jimmy tapped the ball sideways and had it cleared down
the field before he realised it had gone from his hurley.
hurling team ever
results of a Gael Linn sponsored popular poll to find the best hurling team ever
were published in the Irish Independent on Saturday June 17th 1961 by
the well- known journalist John D. Hickey.
was chosen at right full back on that team, he received 3548 votes over 2000
more than his nearest challenger for the position.
(Only Christy Ring, Nick Rackard, Mick Mackey and Lory Meagher received
more popular votes for their respective positions on that team than Jimmy).
received a plaque in the post for this achievement; it still occupies a favoured
place in his home.
same respected G.A.A. journalist in describing Jimmy’s performance in the 1958
defeat by Tipperary went on as follows,
Brohan convinced me that he is the best corner-back I have ever seen”.
had actually broken a bone in his hand during the Railway Cup semi-final earlier
in the year and yet performed as described.
Downey, writing in the Sunday Review on 4th January 1959, in choosing his
hurling team for 1958
right full back must go to Cork’s Jimmy Brohan.
This angular, frail-looking man improves with each season. He is now at
the peak of his power.”
two hard games on consecutive days was no problem to Jimmy.
Saturday 17th March 1962, he played with Munster in the Railway Cup
Final, the only one he lost! The
media report state that he “cleared wonderfully”. On Sunday 18th
March he was the corner back on the Rest Of Ireland selection, which defeated
Tipperary, the All-Ireland Champions at Thurles.
Cork Examiner report of Monday March 19th 1962 states,
the hero of the game, one will easily look once again to a giant-hearted corner
back in the person of Jimmy Brohan. He
was the cornerstone of the defence and the man who shattered the snappy
Tipperary approach work.”
played his last game for Cork in the 1962 Championship.
In 1963, he was called into the Cork panel, he trained with the team
until the Wednesday prior to the game, and however as he was not picked for the
team, he went off on a pre-booked holiday and was not picked after that.
He was only 28 years old at the time.
Today he is still disappointed at that decision.
have only two regrets over my entire hurling career and one of them is that I
should have stayed at home from that holiday, but I was stubborn at the time”
injured knee was causing him some problems at the time and this also influenced
his decision to call it a day on the inter-county scene.
Jimmy Brohan and Mick Maher (Tipperary) playing for Munster 1959.
Christy O'Brien (Laois and Leinster) looks on.
second disappointment relates to the fact that Blackrock could not put County
titles back to back.
played in 5 County finals, 1954,1956,1959,1961 and 1963.
The Rockies won two, in 1956 and in 1961 when they defeated Avondhu.
Jimmy was captain in 1959 when Glen Rovers defeated the Rockies 3 --- 11
to 3 --- 5. University College Cork
that included some Blackrock players emerged victorious in the1963 final.
continued to hurl for Blackrock at the senior level until 1969/70 and then went
on to play at the junior level. He played in goal until early 1973 at the age of
38. In 1969 Jimmy demonstrated his versatility when he won a County Intermediate
football medal with St. Michaels.
O’ Donoghue, present Blackrock Minor and Juvenile Chairman and All-Ireland
medal winner, then just out of the minor grade played with Jimmy in the 1970
Junior Hurling Team which won the City Championship, the McCurtain Cup and the
City League, states
was truly an inspirational figure to us young fellows, he had done it
here he was playing with us and being really supportive and encouraging to us,
he left a big impression on me and on all the lads that played in that team”.
Left to right; Frank Murphy, Ned Cotter and Jimmy Brohan at a
Blackrock Hurling Club Dinner during the 1960's
himself enjoyed this period in his career and with a little twinkle in his eyes
tells the story how he was a mentor at an intermediate league game between
Ballinhassig and the Rockies in 1976.
“We were a bit short, so I decided to tog off to make up the numbers. I managed to slip a few scores past Martin Coleman in the Ballinhassig goal”
the time Martin was the Cork Senior goalkeeper and was about to make an enormous
contribution to the three-in -a row team (his outstanding save in the final
minutes of the All-Ireland Final against Wexford in 1977 will never be
forgotten!) and Jimmy was a Cork selector. There must have been an interesting
recounts another tale, this time against himself. He would often accompany teams
and if they were short a player he’d play himself, usually in goal. One night
in the mid-seventies, the Blackrock juniors needed a goalkeeper as they were
playing a game in Douglas. Jimmy volunteered and borrowed a pair of boots from
Tadhg Falvey. Unfortunately the match did not go too well for Jimmy. He was
handing back the boots to Tadhg when the famous Eudie Coughlan approached. Jimmy
explained that he had borrowed the boots for the game.
“It’s a pity you didn’t borrow his glasses too,” retorted Eudie.
alone did Jimmy excel on the pitch for the Rockies, but off the pitch he has
served the Blackrock Club as secretary, treasurer and vice chairman, while he
has been a selector and mentor to teams on numerous occasions.
Ryan long serving Blackrock Secretary, who joined the Rockies in 1960 and won a
County medal in 1961 feels privileged to have played with Jimmy.
“I remember Jimmy Brohan as an outstanding right full-back, who coped with some of the best forwards in the game, and never once resorted to unfair tactics when competing with his opponent. His hurling skills and length of his deliveries were legendary.”
Tom O’Sullivan, Chairman of the Blackrock club, describes Jimmy as “a brilliant back, a real hurler”
at Church Road - 1975
his accomplishments in which he takes great personal satisfaction, is his role
as a Cork Senior selector in 1976,1977 and 1978 and also in 1986. In each year
Cork won the Munster Championship and All-Ireland.
Among his fellow selectors for the three-in-a row period was Christy Ring
who had been nominated for the position initially by the Blackrock Club.
The studied concentration of Ring and Brohan during a championship game
has been captured in a photograph taken by the Examiner and included in Val
Doran’s book on Christy Ring.
“The Cork 76, 77 and 78 team was a great team, fantastic lads, they have not received half the credit they deserved “
was thrilled in 1986 when his nephew Tom Cashman, accepted the Liam McCarthy Cup
following Cork’s defeat of Galway in the All-Ireland final. His friend Johnny
Clifford was the coach that year and among the selectors was Donal O' Grady.
We all really worked hard together, Jimmy did all the dealings with the County
Board and left me to concentrate completely on preparing the team.”
married Betty Collins, a neighbour who lived at 6 Mahon Terrace in 1959. They
have two sons, David and Frank. Granddaughter Aoife is a rising star while
sister Eimear is a great prospect at the vibrant Blackrock Camogie Club. Following
the closure of Dunlops in 1983, Jimmy joined the Customs Service, from which he
eventually retired in 2000.
days he can be found manning turnstiles at various hurling grounds for matches.
He continues to coach and offer advice to young hurlers and even completed his
Foundation Coaching Level certificate this year. Jimmy and Betty recently moved
to live just off Castle Road in Blackrock, just a puck of a sliothar from the
famous Blackrock Castle.
Bennett, a member of the 1966 Cork All -Ireland team and a teammate of Jimmy
since the Minor days of 1949/50 describes his friend as follows,
“ He was a stylish hurling corner-back, a grand hurler, a great man to read a game. He is one of the nicest fellows in a days walk, never took a drink, but a great man for a blast of a song and a fine singer”
Anyone lucky enough to be present for Jimmy’s recent rendition of “the Red Rose Café” at the coaches’ night-out would have to agree.
Betty and Jimmy
Jimmy and Frank
Jimmy and David
Aoife and Eimear
David, Frank, Jimmy, Aoife, Eimear and Betty
remembers Ring with genuine affection and fondness.
“He was basically a very shy man, but a great friend to have, he was very knowledgeable about all sports, but he lived for his family and for hurling.
He always analysed each game and would describe in detail why and how a particular match had been won or lost.”
and Ring often “palled around” together as they were picked on the Munster
and Rest of Ireland teams regularly and also went on the Wembley trips with
Cork. He recalls how the two of
them went off to see Arsenal play at Highbury during one of their trips to
London. In the dressing room before
a game, Ring would be pacing around, encouraging younger guys, belting the
sliothar against the wall, getting himself ready.
“Ring was a very shrewd judge of a man and a hurler”.
Ring was a frequent visitor to Church Road, as his son Christy Junior played in
the Blackrock Parish leagues. (The Ring family lived at Avondale Park in
often saw him standing there, just watching his young son play hurling like any
other Dad in the background, he never became involved in the proceedings”.
Sunday 10th August 2003.
sat in the Hogan Stand at Croke Park as Cork and Wexford battled it out in the
“It was a great match, but Wexford were lucky to get a draw, Cork should have consolidated their position.”
was impressed with the colour, and the wonderful atmosphere and especially the
beauty of the stadium. Despite the legendary status of the 1956 match, Jimmy has
met very few of the Wexford players since then, he met none of them at this
match. He remembers being on a
radio programme with Billy Rackard some time ago, while Ned Wheeler and himself
have bumped into one another also. He met Padge Keogh at Pairc Ui Rinn one day.
A get together for all these players is long overdue!
Jimmy describes hurling to-day as completely different to his day. He is concerned that too much emphasis is being placed on fitness and too little on the hurling skills. Completely opposed to professionalism, “it will have a very detrimental effect on the G.A.A.”, he is adamant that players should not be paid to play, but should be compensated if out of pocket. He believes that the introduction of 30 strong county panels is crazy, “there is no need for 30 players on each panel”.
Jimmy at Tragumna (circa 1993)
Brohan has made a vast contribution to the G.A.A. and to the game of hurling.
That active contribution has continued for over 50 years and can still be seen
in the hurling fields of Church Road. He played during some of the lean years
for Cork against some of the greatest forwards in the game, Sean McLoughlin, and
Liam Connolly (Tipperary), Frankie Walsh and John Barron (Waterford),
Liam Moloney (Limerick), Sean Clohosey (Kilkenny), Tim Flood (Wexford).
was a star of the Railway Cup competition, when it was at its pinnacle. He was
chosen on the Rest Of Ireland teams on 5 occasions. Of most significance, he was
the public’s choice at right-corner back in 1961 in the best team ever. His
role as a selector with some of the successful Cork hurling teams of the
seventies and eighties was vital to the maintenance of Cork as a hurling power.
contribution to the Blackrock club, as hurler, mentor, coach and administrator
is incalculable. Just as important, many members in the club speak of the warm
and friendly welcome they received from Jimmy when they first arrived at Church
Road either to play or help out. That simple greeting from Jimmy was in turn
often reciprocated by years of service to Blackrock Hurling Club by many of
those people. Perhaps this may be Jimmy’s greatest legacy to hurling?
medals ('57, '58, '59, '60, '61 and '63)
5 Rest Of
Ireland selections (equivalent of All-Stars)
Championship Medals ('54 and '56)
Championship medals ('56 and '61)
Colleges Medals ('52 and '53)
1 Junior County
Championship Football medal ('56)
County Championship Medal ('69)
1 Munster Junior Football medal ('57)
Several McSweeney and McCurtain Cup medals as well as league medals for junior hurling.
Brohan sporting family.
represented Ireland at amateur and school-boy soccer, where he was a noted
goal-keeper. He was a star with
Ringmahon Rangers, before joining Evergreen United, which played in the League
also played with Ringmahon Rangers and went on to play with Cork Hibernians
where he won league and cup honours.
next door neighbour at Wheelers Lane in Ballintemple was the famous Florrie
Born in 1921, Florrie was a noted under-age hurler with Blackrock and
went on to win an international soccer cap for Ireland in 1951. He also won six
league medals with Cork United and Cork Athletic, as well as two Cup medals .He
was regarded as one of Irelands greatest soccer players. A famous international
and Irish champion cyclist Sean Mehigan
was also born in Wheelers Lane.
and further reading
The Rockies, A
History of Blackrock Hurling Club,
compiled by Paddy Madden, edited by Declan Hassett and published by the
Blackrock National Hurling Club 1984.
By Tim Horgan. Anvil Books 1977.
The Spirit of
a Glen Rovers presentation 1973
by Norman Freeman. Gill & Macmillan Ltd 1993.
Legends of the
By Brendan Fullam. Wolfhound Press Ltd 1997.
excellent book contains an article on Jimmy Brohan.
Decades of Glory
by Raymond Smith. Little & McClean Ltd. 1966
The Clash of the
by Raymond Smith. Creative Press Ltd 1972
The Clash of the
by Raymond Smith. Aherlow Publishers Ltd. 1981.
by Val Dorgan. Ward River Press, 1980.
No Hurling at
the Dairy Door.
Billy Rackard. Blackwater Press 1996.
Hehir, My Life and Times,
Blackwater Press 1996.
newspapers and publications referred to in the article.
Blackrock National Hurling Club 2003
to Betty and Jimmy and their friends for assistance in compiling this article
and for sharing their wonderful memories. Most of the older photographs are
unaccredited as we do not know who owns the copyright, however if anyone wishes
to be credited please contact the website and matters will be rectified
immediately. Should anyone wish to add his or her thoughts or comments on the
hurling career of Jimmy Brohan please use the guest book? If you wish to extract
some material from the article, an acknowledgement of the Blackrock website
source would be appreciated. All errors are mine.