Jimmy Brohan: Gentle giant of Cork hurling remains a Blackrock hero

Jimmy Brohan: Gentle giant of Cork hurling remains a Blackrock hero
Jimmy Brohan giving advice to under age players at the official opening of the Jimmy Brohan Hurling Alley at Blackrock three years ago. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

WITH the GAA clubs across the country currently under lockdown, club personnel are trying to keep the show on the road with novel initiatives through the medium of social media.

Blackrock is one of the country’s most decorated clubs with an almost endless list of contributors to their cause, some of them the greatest hurlers of all time.

Now, two club members, Conor Hurley and Mark Russell have initiated the idea of interviewing former greats of the club, players who played and won at the highest level of the game.

According to Hurley, it’s an initiative, he told the Echo, to educate the younger members of the club on the achievements of those players and what the famed Church Road club means to them.

“We have a lot of the younger generation who would never have seen some of those players in action and we want to give them an insight of what they did for the Rockies and what the club means to them.

“Myself and Mark Russell are co-ordinating the interviews and we are putting them up on the club’s Facebook page.

“It’s just an idea that we came up with and Mark has been superb in conducting the interviews.

“He titled the idea, Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, an appropriate name for the younger members who are trying to follow in the footsteps of those great players.

“We started with Jimmy Brohan, one of our greatest ever servants, somebody who has devoted his life to the club and is still doing so.

“The older generation would remember him as one of the game’s great corner-backs with club and with Cork.

“Back then he might not have won a lot with Cork because the county was not successful in that era.

“But that should not diminish what he achieved and the fantastic work he did with Cork.

“He’s just one of the many interviews that were conducted and others include Ray Cummins, Pat Moylan, John Browne, Alan Browne, Donie Collins, Wayne Sherlock, Tom and Jim Cashman and Der McCurtain.

Jimmy Brohan. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Jimmy Brohan. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The Blackrock club gave the Echo permission to carry the interview with the great Jimmy Brohan, a prince of corner-backs during an illustrious playing career in the ‘50s and ‘60s and a clubman of the highest standing.

Q. What are your first memories of hurling for Blackrock?

"My first memories include underage games in the city. I think the youngest grade was under 16. Before that age, we had the parish leagues between Ballintemple, Ballinlough, Ballinure and I think we had a team representing the village."

Q. Besides your immediate family, who had the biggest influence on your hurling career and how?

“People running the underage scene in Blackrock and the Christian Brothers in Sullivan’s Quay. One Christian Brother in particular, a Br. Bridges who was a great motivator and a promoter of ground hurling which meant no scrums that you see in the present game.”

Q. What is the best advice you have been given in your hurling career?

“At school we were told to get the ball away from your own goalmouth as far and as quickly as possible which means the opposition are limited in the chances of scoring.”

Q. What was your favourite position to play and why?

“I did not have any preference for any position but ended up playing right corner-back most of the time. I always like playing at centre-back where I played at U16 and minor level. Playing at centre-back, you have a lot more control of a game.”

Action from the 1957 Munster Hurling final between Cork and Waterford at Thurles. Included are Cork's Jimmy Brohan and Mick Cashman.
Action from the 1957 Munster Hurling final between Cork and Waterford at Thurles. Included are Cork's Jimmy Brohan and Mick Cashman.

Q. How do you think your teammates would have described you as a teammate?

“Hopefully as a good team player who always gave his best in victory or defeat.”

Q. Who was the best teammate you ever had and what made him so special?

“There have been so many great teammates I would not be able to single anyone out in particular.”

Q. Which characteristics do you most value in a teammate?

“A good team player who would always play to his ability and always give his best”

Q. What do you think made the teams you were part of so successful?

“The club was down for so long, I suppose the motivation to get back to winning county championships again drove us on to bring the county back to Blackrock.”

Q. What three words would you associate with Blackrock National Hurling Club?

“Honesty, Skill, Dedication."

The great Jimmy Brohan presents Simon Murphy, captain of Ardfallen Gaels, with the Blackrock Parish league trophy. Picture: Kevin Cummins
The great Jimmy Brohan presents Simon Murphy, captain of Ardfallen Gaels, with the Blackrock Parish league trophy. Picture: Kevin Cummins

Q. What are the characteristics you would always want to see in a Blackrock team?

“I like to see players playing to their strengths and their capabilities but they must first show absolute commitment.”

Q. How would you like to be remembered in Blackrock National Hurling Club?

“As one who tried to be a good clubman who always gave his best in any position I held in my career.”

Q. What does Blackrock National Hurling Club mean to you?

“An honour to be associated with a successful club with a long tradition of winning and a club that caters for so many people in the parish of Blackrock and beyond.”

Cork hurlers Martin Thompson, Jimmy Brohan and Mick Cashman at Wembley stadium in 1955. 
Cork hurlers Martin Thompson, Jimmy Brohan and Mick Cashman at Wembley stadium in 1955. 

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