Hurling legend Jimmy Brohan on what it meant to end the famine in Blackrock

Hurling legend Jimmy Brohan on what it meant to end the famine in Blackrock

Blackrock great Jimmy Brohan after the Co-Op Superstores Cork Premier Senior Hurling final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Dan Linehan

FOR the older generation in Blackrock, last Sunday’s county final victory over Glen Rovers was as sweet as it gets.

Eighteen long and impatient years had passed without a visit from the Seán Óg Murphy Cup, too long in the history of this great hurling institution.

However, over the 80 minutes at headquarters last Sunday that all changed, the cream rose to the top again and the Rockies were back on top of the pile.

Down through the corridors of time, so many of Cork’s greatest servants learned their trade at Church Road, it is an endless list of great clubmen.

A man whose name is synonymous with everything good and great about the Rockies is Jimmy Brohan, one their greatest ever players from a bygone era, one who has served club and county with such distinction.

When the final whistle sounded down the Marina last Sunday his joy knew no bounds and there was not a prouder or happier man who looked on as the old trophy was presented.

He had seen all these young players come up through the ranks in Church Road, all were home bred and proud to wear the old, famed jersey.

It was a hugely emotional day as he told The Echo this week.

“What can I say, I was absolutely thrilled and it was a great honour and privilege for me to be present at the game.

“The team was great, the lads who came on, the management, everybody put in a huge effort to bring back the trophy.

“I had some of those players with men in Church Road on Saturday mornings when they were starting out and a few of them, in particular, stood out for me.

“They were Alan Connolly, Robbie Cotter, and Daniel Meaney, they were head and shoulders above the rest and you could see that they were going to go on and play at senior level for Blackrock even though they were only 11 or 12 at the time."

Blackrock celebrate with the trophy after beating Glen Rovers last week. Picture:  INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Blackrock celebrate with the trophy after beating Glen Rovers last week. Picture:  INPHO/Ryan Byrne

For Jimmy, there was a very strong family link in the team, something that he says.

"My sister Anne who was married to Mick Cashman had four grandchildren on the team, Niall and John Cashman and the two Connollys, Gary and Alan.

I suppose we were fortunate too that we had a strong panel of players, players we could call on at the right time and that is what happened.

“You had lads like Tadhg Deasy, Robbie Cotter, John Cashman, and Alan O’Callaghan coming in and doing a great job.

“Between them they got some great scores and that was something I felt beforehand, that maybe we had a stronger bench than the Glen." 

Brohan, twice a county medal hero in Church Road, too believed that the input of former stars had a big influence on the squad.

“It had, you had Fergal Ryan and John Browne there, two great men to motivate, men who commanded great respect from the players.

“That was important and it was a case of everybody playing their part’’.

It was a long wait in the club but the former Rockies great had endured a longer one in the past.

“We won the county in 1956 and it was 25 years before that, so we had to wait before too.

“I experienced great days with Blackrock but there were times when that was the opposite and you wondered about the future.

“As you get older that happens but this group have been at it now for a while, coming up the ranks, winning at minor and under-21 level and we won an intermediate last year.

“That was important but, of course, it’s not always the case that good minors graduate to become senior players.

“I suppose what made this final so special was that it was a great game of hurling too, the Glen fought all the way but we just had that bit extra in the end.

“To be honest with you, I was ecstatic at the end, it was brilliant to see us win another county.

“Somebody said to me afterwards that we have 33 now, one for every county in the country plus one."

And it will shorten the Winter in Church Road.

“It will indeed, we have great young lads in that team, they did the club proud, you had young Alan [Connolly] there showing nerves of steel with some of those frees.

“We will try and push on now, win another one or two but for now everybody in Blackrock is delighted.

“It was a long wait but I suppose it was worth it in the end."

Words well spoken by a true Blackrock legend.

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